Dragon Spirit (Domark) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User

Dragon Spirit
By Domark
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #60

A big blue dragon sprints through the wilderness spraying searing spittle.

Dragon Spirit

Beyond the frozen wastes, beyond the end of time, beyond your wildest imagination, is Dragon Spirit, the fly-anddie spectacular that takes the CPC not only beyond current programming ability, but beyond life, death and the universe as we know it.

You might think, from this description, that I liked this game. It is true, I did. Dragon Spirit is Domark's conversion of the coin-op of the same name, and involves a big blue dragon sprinting through the wilderness, spraying all and sundry with searing spittle. No, he does not quite manage to breathe fire, it is more like bits of blob.

There is a reason why you, as the dragon, need to go racing along, cutting your swathe of destruction, but it is always the same reason, and you could probably make up something more appropriate yourself: Gorby the dragon cutting through Soviet inefficiency, torching corruption and party dogma, is just as likely. Not only do you spit, you also drop bombs onto the ground. Quite what these bombs are or where the dragon gets them from I will leave to your furtive imaginations. If you are playing with a joystick this presents something of a problem because you need to press the control key on the keyboard in order to bomb, and bomb you must. Not easy to manoeuvre, shoot and bomb with the keyboard all at the same time.

Dragon Spirit

Dragons do it vertically, or so I have been told: scroll that is. With a sizeable strip on the right being occupied by the control panel, most of which is taken up by a completely superfluous picture. There is not much room in the playing area for manoeuvre. The scrolling is not quick, and for that I am thankful because you would never have time to bomb things otherwise. The biggest plus about the game is the graphics: they are great.

Everything is multi-colour, and parts of the landscape are animated. Lava flows from volcanoes, spiders wriggle in webs, little bogey men pop up out of holes - and pop back again - and a phoenix flutters out of volcanoes. With many of the opposition running along the ground, bombing is essential, especially as half the bonuses and power-ups are down there. Just bomb that egg and see double or triple-headed icons: faster fire: auto fire: wing shields; extra lives; bigger spittle and other goodies float briefly around. You will need those heads and all that extra firepower, and speed, to counter the incoming flak, and then when you meet the end-of-level monsters, which are particularly large and unpleasant.

The triffid had us confused for a while, until we realised that you had to bomb its roots. Then we were away. After the similar but completely awful 1942, it is reassuring to discover that software houses can produce excellent scrolling shoot-'em-ups. Dragon Spirit is just that. It is a pity that you have to bomb sea lions on level six though.

Mark Luckham

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