Draconus


by Spike, Michael Owens
Zeppelin Games Ltd
1988
Crash Issue 58, November 1988   (1988-10-20)   page(s) 91

MONSTER SCHZOID FIGHTS TYRANT BEAST.

On an alien world millions of light years from Earth, the hideous Tyrant Beast has imposed his ruthless reign on a planet of gothic horror. For reasons which are not explained, a bizarre monster has set out to overthrow the Tyrant. Under normal circumstance the creature takes the form of Frognum. This is a land creature that can walk around, jump obstacles, duck and either punch monsters or fry them with a limited quantity of dragon breath. To switch to Draconewt, an aquatic creature armed with powerful water jets, Frognum must find and pick up a Morph Helix. Progress is never easy, however, as Frognum's dragon breath is a rather sluggish weapon, monsters can quickly drain ienergy, and falls are often lethal. But, as tends to be the way of such things, the alien world contains various glowing items which can be of use to our schizoid hero. Record Slabs, for example, will restore a hero who's just one of this three lives at the place where they were collected, rather than back at the start of the game.

Flasks of Flame Fluid boost Frognum's firey breath and Energy Packets restore energy. Magical objects, such as the Morph Helix, Shield (prevents death from falling), Magic Staff (casts spells) and the Dragon's Eye (removes illusory objects) are shown on the right-hand part of the screen when collected. These are not lost after death, nor are killed monsters restored, but then neither are used Energy Packets.

For a budget game Draconus has some surprisingly detailed and colourful background graphics. Alien attackers are well-portrayed, while Frognum's animation is good and his death sequence genuinely gruesome. Sound isn't quite up to this standard; basic footfall clicks being about the sum total on both 48K and 128K machines. In its original, C64 form Draconus won a ZZAP!64 Silver Medal, on the Spectrum the game looks better and plays equally well.

STUART ... 91%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: superbly-defined sprites on elegantly-drawn backgrounds, with no colour clash
Sound: adequate spot effects
Options: definable keys


'Oh dear, an evil tyrant is making life hell for the inhabitants of an alien world. Who can save the day, a tall Frognum and his Draconewt alter-ego no less. At first glance Draconus is a fairly run-of-the-mill collect-'em-up game, but neat graphics and addictive gameplay drag it out of the crowd. Sound is a disappointment, no more than a few simple effects, but the large and nicely animated graphics more than make up for this. A budget game for once worth a lot more than its measly £2.99 price tag.'
MARK ... 91%

'For a budget game this is brilliant. The way Draconus moves is very awkward at first, what with his tiptoe style of walking and massive bounds when he jumps, it can be tricky to get past the nasties. Some of the screens could have done with a splash of colour, rather than being mainly green, and a 128K tune would have been appreciated. On the whole Draconus is an excellent game.'
NICK ... 85%

Presentation: 86%
Graphics: 88%
Playability: 85%
Addictive Qualities: 82%
Overall: 90%

Summary: General Rating: Monster size fun at budget price.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 36, December 1988   page(s) 55

This is the first Zeppelin game we've ever seen and at first glance its pretty good! It's got loads of well-animated graphics whizzing glitchlessly about on interesting backgrounds and there are even a few sound FX to help the action along.

The gameplay is on a par with the presentation too. Each new screen is a little more challenging than the last which makes it real compulsive playing.

Draconus would have been great except for one hiccup in the gameplay's implementation - there are two characters, one of which can only be brought into play once you've a particular object in your pocket and the main character is standing on a special slab. It doesn't work! Shame really as it could have been quite good if you could complete it!


Overall: 3/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 80, November 1988   page(s) 69

There was a NEW GAME in the office. The screenshots looked GREAT. I smelt the work of ZEPPELIN GAMES. "GREAT!" I screamed horrifically. I SLAMMED the cassette into the tape recorder.

The game was for the SPECTRUM - 48K! GOOD! It wasn't long before the game loaded. "YOIKS!" I roared. "I'm IMPRESSED!" Slobbering, I played the game. It was DRACONUS. It was set on an alien planet. "SO WHAT!" I shrieked. But this was different. I was a half-man, half-frog. It's a good laugh. I made my way through the chambers. They looked FAB. The backgrounds were full of detail. The characters were well animated. And they were BIG, VERY BIG. Wrenching the joystick, I controlled Frognum. He's the tall one. He can walk, run, jump, duck, breathe fire, and, best of all, PUNCH! And he has to! There are LOADS of things to punch: GIANT RATS! BATS! SEA SERPENTS! TERRORTOADS! CATAPELONES! "This is GREAT!" I bawled. Everyone came to have a look. They went MAD! Everyone wanted to get to the final chamber, and kill the Tyrant Beast. But they had to wait.

There was a lot to do. I had find the Demon Shield, the Necromancer's Staff, the Dragon's Eye and the Morph Heliz. "HAH!" I went, triumphantly. When I found the Morph Helix, I could change into Draconewt. I just had to find the Morph Slab. Then I could swim and spit water. It was as simple as brutally twisting the joystick. If I hit too many monsters or spikes, I lost a life. MINE! But I had THREE. And I returned to the last RECORD SLAB I'd passed, not right to the start. So that was alright.

There was something else that was alright too. There were flasks of FLAME FLUID to restore my bad breath, and ENERGY PACKETS for my strength. So it was GOOD. It was more than good. It was CHEAP. There were lots of colours. They were in the backgrounds, but there was no attribute clash. There were sounds. They weren't up to much. There was NO MUSIC! GOOD! You don't need it for a GREAT game like this!

I was HOOKED! It was the DESIGN! It was the ORIGINALITY! It was the DIFFICULTY!. It was the NOVELTY! It was lots of other things I couldn't spell! I went back to my desk, ready to PUNCH anyone who disagreed with me. But no-one did! OFFICIAL!

Label: Zeppelin
Author: Spike
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins


Graphics: 95%
Sound: 42%
Playability: 95%
Lastability: 95%
Overall: 94%

Summary: Not a good arcade adventure. A GREAT one! OFFICIAL!

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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