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Magic:

Magic attacks are also a key part of combat in silver. Without magic attacks many areas of the game would be literally impossible (such as the acid dragon found underwater). Spells should be selected carefully though, as they are very different in use for different purposes.
For combat use, ranged spells should be reserved for situations where it is safe to cast from afar. Since single opponents are so easily killed without wasting mana, and multiple opponents are hard to control, I tend to find it safest to use the 'self cast' of fire or ice spells up to the point where I get Ice 2. Saving mana for self-casting means you can effectively fight with a sword and shield, then when you're surrounded, you'll have enough mana to kill all or most of your agressors without having to worry about the dangers of switching back to sword and shield.

The system for levelling magic in silver is quite simple once you know it - Each 5 spells cast will increase your weakest orb to it's next level. However, the maximum level that spells can be increased to is dependant on your character level.
Once your characters have defeated the fire demon at the fire tree, and the ice warlord in the ice caves, level 2 magic becomes available. You should be in spires when your magic starts to increase.
Level 3 magic becomes available after defeating fuge.
Note that some spells (ice and acid 2) can be used to level magic at an exceedingly fast rate.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the firing rate of spells can be increased very slightly - when a spell is released, immediattely issue a move order, then as soon as your character starts to move, cast again. This cuts off the time normally spent pulling the arms back after casting a spell.
Unlike other combat quirks, however, the advantage from this is so negligible, and the timing to hard to master (since you have to move the mouse away from the target to issue the move order) that so far I've not found any significant uses for it. It can be used with lightning magic to ensure a stun-lock on a target, but most targets get locked in place without using the trick, and since Ice 2 is a much better way of disabling an opponent, there's no stage of the game where this is really necessary.

The 'best' spell
While many spells have their uses (earth 1 in the sewers, for example), most are not not worth talking about outside specific situations. The ones that maintain a useful niche throughout the game (ommitting healing, since the game is so easy with healing it's not worth reading this much into it) are: - lightning 1 - lightning 1 self - poison 2 - ice 2 - ice 2 self - lightning 2 - ice 3 - time 3 self - poison 3 - light self With the above in mind, which spell would be the 'best' spell? The one you normally have selected? The one you can access at any time with the '8' key because you were using it last?
I'd like to say it all depends, and to some extent it does, but there is an easy answer:
The best spell is Ice 2.

Instant protection whether you cast it on yourself or your opponents, the ability to freeze targets, which is insanely useful, a flurry of so many missiles that opponents will only successfully dodge a fraction of them, and the ability to push back crowds of 3 or 4 enemies at once with the shards. Add to that the fact that by using it you will be levelling your magic without even thinking about it due to the ice 2 spray effect.
Not only does Ice 2 have 2 entires in the list above (a position it only shares with lightning 1), one of those entries (ice 2 self) is the best spell in the game. Ice 2 can also be switched instantly to ice 3, another spell in the above list, at the press of a button.

Now, for reference, the spells in order of their effectivity:

Ice 2 self 10
Lightning 1 9
Ice 2 9
Poison 2 9
Time 3 8
Lightning 1 self 8
Poison 3 7
Light self 7
Ice 3 7
Healing 1 7
Ice 1 7
Fire 1 7
Lightning 2 7
Earth 1 7
Ice 3 self 7
Fire 1 self 6
Ice 1 self 6
Poison 1 6
Earth 2 self 5
Poison 1 self 5
Lightning 3 5
Healing 3 5
Healing 2 5
Fire 2 4
Earth 2 4
Fire 2 self 4
Fire 3 self 4
Lightning 2 self 4
Lightning 3 self 4
Earth 3 self 4
Poison 2 self 4
Time 1 self 4
Time 2 self 4
Time 3 self 8
Fire 3 3
Earth 3 3
Time 1 2
Time 2 2
Light 2
Earth 1 self 2
Poison 3 self 1
 


And now the full breakdown:

Fire 1:

Damage: low
Area: -
Mana: 6
Rating: 7
Straightforward damage spell, there are a great many enemies weak to fire, including all ice monsters, spiders, tree monsters, green trolls, and some metalon magicians.

Fire 1 self :

Damage: low
Area: medium
Mana: 18
Rating: 6
Useful to get out of a pinch in the area behind david's house and the return to rain.

Ice 1:

Damage: low
Area: -
Mana: 6
Rating: 7
Straightforward damage spell. Like fire, ice has a lot of vulnerable targets, particularly the mud golems, fire demons, and metalon magicians.

Ice 1 self :

Damage: low
Area: medium
Mana: 18
Rating: 6
Useful to get out of a pinch, this spell is no more damaging than fire 1 self, so which you use is rather unimportant.

Healing 1:

Damage: minor healing
Area: -
Mana: 10
Rating: 7
The best healing spell to use when you're not in combat.

Lightning 1:

Damage: low
Area: -
Mana: 6
Rating: 9
The shock effect from lightning magic means that you can constantly attack an opponent, and they will be rooted pretty much to the spot.
Lightning 1 self :

Damage: low
Area: large
Mana: 18
Rating: 8
Excellent spell to deal with swarming enemies like bats, and a very useful spell to protect yourself from melee opponents while you fire lightning 1 at the ranged targets. Lightning 1 really comes into it's own in glass' palace, where Ice 2 can't be used, but enemies are numerous and mixed with melee and ranged targets.

Earth 1:

Damage: medium
Area: -
Mana: 6
Rating: 4
Very mana-efficient damage spell, useful for clearing the sewers.

Earth 1 self :

Damage: medium
Area: small
Mana: 18
Rating: 2
Very poor equivalent to lightning 1. The earth version requires super-close range and does not stun targets. It would be useful if it kept spinning after you changed back to another weapon, but since it doesn't, it's useless.

Poison 1:

Damage: medium
Area: -
Mana: 6
Rating: 6
Standard damage spell with limited enemies weak to it.

Poison 1 self :

Damage: medium
Area: medium
Mana: 18
Rating: 5
Not a bad area spell, but no more remarkable that the other level 1 area damage spells.

Time 1:

Damage: None
Area: -
Mana: 10
Rating: 2
Barely has an effect - not worth the time spent casting it, even with the low mana cost.

Time 1 self :

Damage: None
Area: self
Mana: 15
Rating: 3
More useful than time 1, since casting it on yourself allows you to use it on enemies that are spell-immune. Still, the time it takes to level time from 1 to 3 is so miniscule that even the 6 monsters you fight before the lady of light are more than enough to max it, and the speed increase from time 1 is pretty much nullified by the time taken to switch to time magic and cast it.

 

 



Fire 2:

Damage: Medium
Area: small
Mana: 30
Rating: 4
Too mana-expensive to use outside boss fights, despite it's area damage.

Fire 2 self :

Damage: medium
Area: medium
Mana: 60
Rating: 4
A good spell to cast a few times when you're surrounded and in trouble, and the only level 2 area spell that isn't already redundant when obtained (it comes before Ice 2)

Ice 2:

Damage: Medium
Area: spray
Mana: 30
Rating: 9
Awesome spell due to it's ability to knock enemies back so far, and get past most enemy dodging. To control crowds at range only bombs and attack potions are more effective, since ice 2 will keep large groups of enemies out of melee range.
Most useful of all, though, each shard counts as a seperate spell cast for the purposes of levelling your magic up. This means using Ice 2 just a few times will increase all your spells to their maximum level. You can literally gain 2-3 levellups on just 1 normal enemy.

Ice 2 self :

Damage: medium
Area: medium
Mana: 60
Rating: 10
Without a shadow of a doubt the best spell in the game. Affects an area around the caster, dealing significant damage, and freezing all targets in that area. The control this gives you is awesome, and the combat advantage from using Ice 2 is massive.
Freezing all nearby enemies for a reasonable mana cost is awfully good by it's own merit, but when combined with invisibility or berserker, it becomes ridiculously powerful.

Healing 2:

Damage: medium healing
Area: -
Mana: 60
Rating: 5
Too expensive to be much use

Lightning 2:

Damage: medium
Area: -
Mana: 30
Rating: 7
Completely undodgeable spell that also stuns a target. If you're playing with 3 characters, you can give one of them lightning 2, and the others ice and acid 2, then just click on an enemy to kill them.
With just 1 character, however, lightning 2 is less useful than lightning 1, and only really gets good when you're up against opponents that teleport before a ranged spell reaches them.

Lightning 2 self :

Damage: low
Area: medium
Mana: 60
Rating: 4
Pretty poor area spell - too expensive.

Earth 2:

Damage: medium
Area: small
Mana: 30
Rating: 4
Not a bad area damage spell, but made redundant by other ranged area attacks, namely bombs.

Earth 2 self :

Damage: high
Area: medium
Mana: 60
Rating: 5
As far as self-cast area damage spells go, none are cast as quickly as earth 2, giving it the fast-kill niche. It does limited damage though.

Poison 2:

Damage: medium
Area: spray
Mana: 30
Rating: 9
Awesome spray spell. Good if one of your other characters is already using Ice 2.

Poison 2 self :

Damage: medium
Area: medium
Mana: 60
Rating: 4
Acid rain - a relatively weak counterpart to the decent ranged attack of Poison 2.

Time 2:

Damage: None
Area: -
Mana: 30
Rating: 2
A useful spell. Time 2 allows you to greatly slow an opponent, giving you an ability to hit them with ranged attacks. Of particular note is the effect casting time 2 has on ranged opponents - their projectiles are considerably slowed down, and if they rely on gravity (like archers) then their shots will have almost no range..

Time 2 self :

Damage: None
Area: self
Mana: 40
Rating: 3
More useful than time 2, since casting it on yourself allows you to use it on enemies that are spell-immune. Still, you should be using time 3 instead.
 

 


Fire 3:

Damage: high
Area: small
Mana: 100
Rating: 3
Too mana-expensive to use outside boss fights.

Fire 3 self :

Damage: high
Area: medium
Mana: 200
Rating: 4
Decent damage, but far worse than some other level 3 area spells.

Ice 3:

Damage: high
Area: -
Mana: 100
Rating: 7
Decent attack for it's freezing ability. Were it not for Ice 2 self, this would be an absolutely indispensable spell. However, since freezing can be gained so much easier, Ice 3 loses a lot of it's appeal.

Ice 3 self :

Damage: Extremely high
Area: large
Mana: 200
Rating: 7
The most damaging spell in the game - 1250 damage per hit seems about average. Ice 3 is good if you've got the mana to waste and want to really hurt those around you in a very short time. It's not that reliable though, since sometimes it will miss completely.

Healing 3:

Damage: medium healing
Area: -
Mana: 200
Rating: 5
Useful in-combat heal

Lightning 3:

Damage: high
Area: -
Mana: 100
Rating: 5
More useful than most level 3 spells due to it's stun and isntant-travel, it still suffers from costing too much mana for not enough damage.

Lightning 3 self :

Damage: high
Area: meduim
Mana: 200
Rating: 4
Ridiculously expensive spell that really doesn't do enough. Summons a sphere that zaps nearby opponents. If the sphere lasted more than a second or so it might be worth the extortionate cost.

Earth 3:

Damage: medium
Area: medium
Mana: 100
Rating: 3
Decent area, but again, too expensive.

Earth 3 self :

Damage: high
Area: medium
Mana: 200
Rating: 4
Another really bad level 3 are spell. This one pops up spikes to hurt nearby opponents, then dops rocks from the sky for extra damage. Overall pretty weak.

Poison 3:

Damage: very high
Area: 3-way
Mana: 100
Rating: 7
Decent spell. this is probably the best level 3 spell for putting out raw damage in a standard combat. Massive damage provided the target doesn't block, but you'll be needing to freeze them or catch them attacking for them not to dodge - they are 3 times more likely to use a dodge because there are 3 bolts flying toward them! Still, the most damagine spell to cast on a single target- each of the 3 shots does the damage of any other level 3 projectile spell.

Poison 3 self :

Damage: high
Area: large
Mana: 200
Rating: 1
This spell, on the other hand, is bad. In fact it's incredibly bad. The worst spell in the game....
250 mana gets you a few green bubbles that pop up. Each bubble will hit nearby enemies, so typically an enemy close to you would get hit 2 or 3 times. Each hit does about 2 damage (yes, about two damage). I've seen a range of 1 to 4, but 2 seems normal.

Time 3:

Damage: None
Area: -
Mana: 140
Rating: 8
An excellent spell. Practically stops opponents. Still, since you have Ice 2 that completely stops them, this is limited in use. Think of it as a long-ranged freezing spell, good on those screens where you need to get that ranged opponent that's at the other end of the battleground - particularly those teleporting wizards in metalon.

Time 3 self :

Damage: None
Area: self
Mana: 200
Rating: 7
Time 3 would be an excellent spell - extraordinarily useful against spell-immune bosses, good for covering ground when mana isn't needed, and wonderfully supplements david's melee abilities.
However, there is a massive drawback that can make casting time 3 a terrible idea - it reduces the time that potion effects work on you. The graphics for the potion effect are, however, *not* adjusted, leaving you in a potentially fatal situation where your absolute protection haze is visible, but enemies can hurt you.
This drawback stops time 3 self from making it into the higher ranks of spells, and leaves it as a tool to use against magic-immune bosses or for getting around the game's empty levels more quickly.
A further drawback is that the animation time of character swings is so fast, that the dual swords only inflict one hit per attack, preventing you from really mashing things up while under it's effects.

Light:

Damage: Very High
Area: -
Mana: 100
Rating: 2
Very powerful ranged spell. Unfortunately the projectile travels so slowly it's all but useless for a real fight. If you want to put out raw damage, poison 3 does the job far better.

Light self :

Damage: Very high
Area: Whole screen
Mana: 250
Rating: 7
This spell certainly isn't bad, and would be awesome if a team of 3 switched the orb to kill everyone on the screen. However, we already have armageddon for that puropse, making light 3 simply a good way of weakening a screen of enemies before you shoot them to bits with a ranged attack like the glaive.