Sinclair User5th January 1989
Published in Sinclair User #85
There should be a law against this sort of thing. To state, as Artronic do, that DNA Warrior has "excellent graphics" is simply a lie. It's got hopeless graphics. Fortunately, the rest of it isn't as bad. Well, not quite as bad.
The plot, similar to a few games at the moment, centres around the mad antics of a brilliant scientist, who, so intent on learning more and more in his advancing years, goes to unnatural lengths to enhance the process. Obviously, had God wanted us to have two brains, he would have given them to us, and to the scientist's dabblings go horribly wrong and endanger the boffin's life. Your mission is to enter the man's body in microscopic form, zoom around the blood stream and deconstruct all the growth from the implant, thus saving the scientist's brain from being overrun.
DNA Warrior is, at first glance, is a rather pale imitation of R-Type. It's not quite as simple as that though. True, the screen scrolls and a variety of aliens appear to shoot and there are extra weapons to collect, but there are differences too large to ignore.
Once you've travelled a certain distance in one direction, you'll find an exit to the next level. You'll need a key to get through these. The further into the body you get, the more difficult it is to find the correct key for the door.
The graphics are poor and while the scrolling (bi-directional) is perfectly fine, your ship moves in a continual series of jerks. Your fire rate is dreadful and even the Rapid Fire icon had little effect. The weapons options work a la Slap Fight - you collect tokens, each of which allows a more sophisticated add-on. Hitting FIRE will activate the option.
Aliens come at you in uninteresting swirly patterns that have all been seen before. Since your rate of fire is so hopeless it's almost impossible to kill the aliens quickly enough in order to earn another token.
So why don't I hate DNA Warrior completely? Well, there are some nice touches. Once you've headed in one direction and decide to turn around, the ship glides back and turns around in a most satisfactory manner. On the way back through a level - in search of the elusive key or exit - asteroids (well, corpuscles) fly past, smashing into you and draining your energy.
These bits are nice touches, although the overall feeling I have is that DNA Warrior is pretty disappointing. There just isn't any point in trying to reproduce the feel and play of R-Type unless you can beat it. DNA Warrior falls a long way short.
Nice touches embedded in lots of mediocrity.