The king of all nerds, Ernie Eaglebeak, is back for his third and final outing. His first two years on campus had been more than exciting, so it's time for a well-deserved vacation - Spring Break! Together with the other members of his nerd fraternity, he's headed for Fort Naughtytail to enjoy the sun, the beach... and ogling girls in bikinis, of course.
Arriving there, the obvious conflict with the jocks of St. Weinersburg Academy of Magic immediately erupts and it is decided to settle the 'rights' to Fort Naughtytail in a series of challenges. The jocks having the obvious advantages in the physical department, it's once again up to Ernie's wits to win the day.
So, more stereotyped nerds / jocks jokes, once again making me anything but the ideal reviewer for this game. Me still giving it a very good rating should set off your hit alarm - this is an excellent game! To make myself even more of a weirdo in the public, and to show how much there is to discover and like: I actually prefer 'nice' over 'naughty' mode in this series - it's actually even funnier. Maybe I'm not playing these games the way they're seen by most or not even as they were intended, yet it's still tremendous fun - a testament to their timeless quality.
In many ways, the Spellcasting series represents the general development of the whole genre: From the classic treasure hunts of the first part (basically living from clever interconnected puzzles) to task-based environments, more or less linear, but trying to hide that fact quite successfully. That, in spite of the somewhat anachronistic text interface, makes Spellcasting 301 quite a modern game.
Having said that, there are still many of the classic qualities (or limitations, depending on the point of view) of the genre's roots: Doodling around for too long will be draconically punished by the ticking clock, many puzzles are based on wordplay and diverting things from their intended use instead of straightforward solutions and there's always a clever reply by the parser, no matter what stupid actions you're trying to commit.
There is one particular anachronism in the game which might seem like a tiny detail, yet somehow shows the apparent detachment of the makers of the game and the time: All the people in the game (especially the women) look like they come straight out of the mid-80s. Not that I have anything against that (the 80s were by far the cooler decade than the 90s obviously), it might not be the best sign commercially: the style of the previous decade is always considered uncool. Of course, we've now left the 90s behind, so it's the perfect time to appreciate this game again!