Thanatos (Durell) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

By Durell
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #16


It's not often that the dragon gets to play the hero. It's usually being lanced by a good knight for offences against the innocent. The dragon in this game even gets the girl, who rides quite happily on its neck.

Not only does the game have originality, but it's got great graphics too. Your task is to conduct a maiden through the hazardous stages of a horizontally scrolling cross-country flight, dropping her off occasionally so that she can complete a task.

The dragon is a large character, superbly animated by many nice touches. He flaps his wings to fly, swishes his pointed tail around, lands and picks things up with his claws, moves his head and jowls as they blast fire everywhere. In fact it's a fantastic-looking dragon that can do all sorts of things including turning round in mid-flight.


Taking the role of the dragon, you fly against a background where bands scroll at different speeds to give an excellent impression of movement. The backdrop changes as you fly along: rocky outcrops, caves, water with boats, cities with many different buildings. All this background detail doesn't play any part in the game, but it looks good.

You have to fly off in search of a woman, who will climb up onto your neck. You then have to fly on to collect a book of spells, finally arriving at a cauldron. The woman, book and cauldron are all to be found within the walls of a castle. You have to walk up to it and burn down the gates to get in.

You can vary speed and height as you fly across the land, or even walk along the ground. Your physical exertions affect your heartbeat; if it gets too rapid you explode in a big cloud, ending the game. The heartbeat can also be sped up by the many dangers encountered.


The hazards come in waves and they all try to inflict physical damage. Little human figures run across the bottom of the screen and throw rocks and spears at you. Birds swoop in and dive-bomb. The more sinister spiders try to knock the maiden off your back, then descend to the ground and crawl after you. There are also the dreaded killer bees: which swarm around you.

Most dangers can be dispelled by your fiery breath, but this also increases heart rate. Another method is to pick up creatures and drop them to their deaths, or to drop rocks on them.

The three things you have to stop at are all contained within the walls of a castle. Burning down the doors to get inside uses much of your fire supply. To replenish it you have to retrace your flight to where a witch is tied between two stakes. A knight will come to defend her, but having bumped him off you can eat the witch to replenish your fire.


The graphics really are something else: lots of large animated characters against a lovely scrolling background. The gameplay can get boring on the early levels, but there are higher ones to challenge you survival is a continual battle.

It's a wonderfully original concept that will delight you for hours.

Second Opinion

Thanatos, the Greek word meaning death, is certainly full of it. You take the form of a wonderfully animated dragon whose main object in life is to burn humans, rescue virgins, cat witches and avoid doves (?). If you think that's a strange combination, wait till you see the on-screen action - it's full of non-stop nail-biting fire-breathing madness. Buy it, you'll love it.

First Day Target Score


1,000 points.

Green Screen View

How did they manage five perfectly clear colours in Mode 1?

Good News

P. Large, well-animated creatures.
P. Good scrolling backgrounds.
P. Lots of different creatures and dangers.
P. Bursting at the seams with originality.
P. Gets very tough on higher levels.

Bad News

N. Gameplay can get boring on lower levels.

Bob Wade

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