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Merlin: A Servant of Two Masters

For: DS

Not even magic can help

Product: Merlin: A Servant of Two Masters | Developer: Avanquest Software Publishing | Publisher: Avanquest Software Publishing | Format: DS | Genre: Action, Party/ mini- games, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Merlin: A Servant of Two Masters DS, thumbnail 1
It's a known fact that practically every film tie-in is awful, and the same generally goes for TV tie-ins.

But it's rare that a TV series turns just a single episode into a game. Worryingly, this is exactly what Ucari has done with Merlin: A Servant of Two Masters.

Black Magic

Following an episode from the fourth series of BBC's Merlin, entitled 'A Servant of Two Masters', Merlin is placed under the spell of evil witch Morgana and sent to kill King Arthur.

Naturally, Arthur is oblivious to this. I'm sure this setup made for compelling viewing on television, but it hasn't translated well to console. This is an eyeball-scratchingly bad game.

Lasting about just as long as the TV episode itself, the game revolves around you scouting out useless items on photographed backdrops. It's painfully easy to see the items, as they're layered over a static image. You could do better in Photoshop.

Occasionally, a puzzle or mini-game emerges to break up the monotony, but these are equally abhorrent to play - even if they are more contextually relevant than the core gameplay.

One mission had me baffled as to why I needed to clear a wardrobe and why said wardrobe had a cooked chicken in it.

Another tasked me with finding a specific bottle on a shelf full of bottles, but provided me with no information about what the bottle looked like.

But most perplexing of all was a 'puzzle' that required me to find Merlin's face in a forest full of floating mugshots.


Usually, when a game is so terrible to play it's because time and effort were spent on things like visuals, which makes sense for a game aimed at a young and impressionable audience.

But here's the thing: Merlin: A Servant of Two Masters looks downright awful. Almost everything is a poorly photoshopped BBC stock image stuck over another stock photo.

This means that all the dialogue is painful to watch, as these butchered photos slide in and out from the edge of the screen.

The 14 mini-games on offer aren't fun, or original, but in their defence they aren't completely broken either.

They're just repetitive and idiotic, including a wordsearch, a card-matching game, and even a peculiar rhythm-action sequence that involves tapping knights' faces along to the Merlin theme tune to fight them off.

Once you've unlocked them all you can play these games at your leisure. But it's unlikely that you'll want to.

Even if you're a big-time Merlin fan, this probably doesn't do enough to keep you interested.
Merlin: A Servant of Two Masters
Reviewer photo
Vaughn Highfield | 22 November 2012
A shameless tie-in to a popular TV series that'll only last marginally longer than an episode. Its shoddy visuals, terrible audio, awful presentation, and image searches to the point of nausea only make things worse. Not even a devout Merlin fan could enjoy this
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