Commodore User


Dominator

Author: Mark Patterson
Publisher: System 3
Machine: Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #70

Dominator

You saw it first on the cover tape of our February issue. You liked the demo, but what about the finished product?

Earth is under a new threat, a giant space organism is hurtling through the solar system toward the third planet, an organism so large it could swallow a planet, and that's precisely what it's going to do.

Earth is almost defenceless. Who could they send up to stop this creature? Soon the answer is on everyone's lips - the last surviving pilot from the old wars, the only man capable of destroying the monstrosity and saving Earth yet again. Another good reason to work round the point of having just one man to save the human race.

Dominator

Despite a slightly grandiose sounding plot, Dominator is nothing more than your standard scrolly shoot-'em-up, and a bit of a surprise when you look at System 3's form book, with its classics like International Karate and the Last Ninja games.

Dominator takes place in a series of vertical and horizontally scrolling levels set inside the heart of the alien craft. All bar the first level that is, which is a vertical scroller representing the journey there.

Most of the attack waves scroll on to the screen from the opposite side, and are usually quite easy to kill, though whoever designed some of the attack waves obviously meant them to be as hard as possible, owing to the absence of time they spend in any one place.

Dominator

On the bottom and top of the screen are little gun emplacements which have to be shot periodically otherwise they prove too much hassle after you've flown in front of them. Occasionally when a wave has been destroyed, they leave behind them such booty as lasers and autofire pods, which make a more than significant contribution to the game.

Then comes the sub-guardians, a smallish craft that might take a volley of your best shots to finish it off, or an alien appendage which fires stream after stream of attack ships after you. As usual, there are the familiar end-of-level nasties which have to be dispatched in the common way, a multitude of shots to the "special" location.

The graphics in Dominator, throughout, are quite pretty. The effect of gaping pores in the aliens flesh is achieved quite well. I still found myself being more than vaguely reminded of any number of other shoot-'em-ups, though.

Dominator is quite a tidy game though, it plays well enough, looks nice, and the music and effects work well, but it still comes across as dated. Perhaps if it had turned up sixteen months ago when the Nemesis season arrived, it would have been a whole lot letter. To impress, something like this has to be very, very good these days.

Mark Patterson

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