Zambadlos, the King of Darkness, is threatening the Agamen Empire with his black magic. It is up to Kayas, King of the Agamen Empire, and Bahamoot, the Dragon of Light, to destroy Zambadlos and send him back to the realm of darkness. This is a horizontally scrolling shoot-’em-up, but the dragon you control has a long, flexible tail which can be manoeuvred and used to kill enemies – although you can still use the traditional methods of shooting missiles and breathing fire at them. It all sounds good, but it turns out to be quite a lousy game. It’s a horrible Spectrum port, complete with colour clash. Because the playing area is very small, and the dragon occupies a lot of the screen, it’s difficult to avoid enemies, and if you crash into any of them, you are sent back a long way. It’s not fun to play at all.
Princess Alicia has been captured by the evil serpent demon Zawell, but it seems that the only being who can rescue her is a magical flying dragon, and that’s what you are in this vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up. Flying over eight levels, you must simply dodge or throw fireballs at the flying enemies, and drop bombs on the beasts on the ground. You can collect power-ups by dropping bombs on eggs. Unfortunately, they are few and far between, and they’re of little use anyway. The graphics are nicely drawn and very colourful, although the sound effects are poor, but it’s basically just another shoot-’em-up, and a very difficult one as well – I can just about complete the first level without cheating.
A wealth of treasure is guarded by a dragon in a castle, and you aim to claim some of this treasure. The castle consists of six rooms which contain different hazards. You have to survive until the doorway to the next room opens; how long you need to survive depends on which of the three difficulty levels you have selected. When you’ve reached the final room, you must collect the treasure while avoiding the dragon and return to the first room. With only six rooms, there’s hardly a game to speak of, and everything about the game is banal. Amazingly, it’s written in machine code, but you wouldn’t believe it after you’ve played it!
(Software Projects, 1987)
King Aethelred’s beautiful daughter, Princess Daphne, has been kidnapped by the evil dragon Singe! Dirk the Daring, the King’s most favoured knight, sets out to rescue Daphne before Singe kills her. The arcade version of this game was revolutionary at the time, and there are eight challenges for Dirk to complete here. Unfortunately, they’re extremely difficult – the first level is tough enough, but the second level is impossible! The graphics are reasonable (although the title screen is very good), and so is the music, but it’s a real shame that you can’t choose which levels you want to play at the start of the game.
See also: Escape from Singe’s Castle.
Another platform game with twenty levels consisting of a single screen, where you must kill all the dragons on each level and collect as many gems as you can while you’re at it. A large white dragon flies across the top of the screen and lays lots of eggs which you can push so that they fall off the platforms and squash any dragons underneath them. There are several types of dragons which have different characteristics. The graphics aren’t too bad, but the sound and music are terrible, and it’s too difficult.
(US Gold, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
This game is the follow-up to Heroes of the Lance. It’s a fantasy game set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. The cast of characters has been increased from eight to ten, but in some ways this game is a downgrade on its predecessor; for example, the resolution of the graphics has been changed, so it’s more colourful but has less detail and doesn’t scroll like the earlier game, opting for flick-screen transitions instead. The presentation has taken a hit compared to the original, and when changing character from the gallery below, the sprite representing your hero remains the same on the screen. The gameplay remains similar – a role-playing game fused with an action game. The sound is also poor. Compared to the original, this feels as if it has been rushed out the door.
See also: Heroes of the Lance.
Reviewed by Robert Small
There was once a well received arcade adventure game called Avalon on the ZX Spectrum. Sadly CPC owners were never to play this game on their machine. However, we did get the sequel, Dragontorc. Avalon’s hero Maroc the Mage stars in an attempt to save Britain from an evil witch queen. Graphically you can clearly see this game has come across from the Spectrum, but whatever you do, don’t let that put you off. Maroc levitates around the various locations (from forests to crypts) selecting spells, using a spirit servant to collect objects, and then using these objects to progress, as well as befriending certain creatures in the game through gifts. It can be tricky to play at first, while the jury is still out on those graphics. What isn’t in doubt is the scale of the game or the plethora of good ideas within.
(Delta Software, 1989)
Reviewed by Robert Small
The name of this game comes from the name given to Viking ships. You take control of a Viking warrior in this arcade adventure. There are a variety of animals to be avoided and Roman soldiers to be killed. You can dispatch enemies with swipes of your weapon or by throwing an axe. You’ve also got access to a shield for protection. The graphics are very Spectrum-like but there are some good aspects, like the statues in the background. The music isn’t great and neither is the sound when you move your character. An unoriginal game but OK for what it is.
(Topo Soft, 1989)
Reviewed by CPC4eva
Another game that uses the name of a well known sportsperson with the hope of making it a success. Unfortunately it has failed rather miserably with Drazen Petrovic Basket. The brown and orange colour scheme is horrendous and the actual basketball game is played from a top-down perspective which resembles a football match and not a basketball game. The actual gameplay is very poor. You seem to be always going in circles chasing your opponent and the player selection is frustratingly annoying, as is trying to grab or pass the ball. The game leaves you rather confused and constantly scratching your head as to what is happening. To enjoy a better basketball game you should play Basket Master instead, which also uses a well known sportsperson (albeit only in the Spanish version) but is actually good.
(US Gold, 1988)
Far in the future, corporations controlled by the Focus Fellowships rule the Earth. They are capable of focusing demons into people’s dreams. Infighting within the group has allowed a group of four scientists, the Asmen, to stop Focus in their tracks, but Ocular, the Dream Demon, has captured three of them. You were the one who wasn’t captured, and you must enter their minds and rescue your colleagues. What sort of a plot is that, I ask you? Anyway, this is a boring shoot-’em-up in which you collect psy-globes to operate the lifts, obtain extra energy (or ‘dream depth’ in this game) from safes, and build up images of your colleagues which will be shown at the bottom of the screen. The graphics and sound effects are poor, and the gameplay consists mostly of standing in a corner, waiting for demi-demons to appear. Definitely a game to avoid!