Dragon User

Lucifer's Kingdom

Author: Philip Stott
Publisher: Orange
Machine: Dragon 32

Published in Dragon User #066

Oranges And Cream In Lucifer's Land

It's been a couple of months since I've got round to writing a review but at least now that the ink is flowing again I've got something to rave about.

Orange Software are the company providing the 'raveable' item. It's only a few months since they appeared on the market but now they have a comprehensive list of titles, old and new, largely made up of text adventures. Lucifer's Kingdom is an arcade adventure so it's perhaps unfair to compare it with the majority of their titles but I would say it's undoubtedly the cream of their produce.

Lucifer's Kingdom is set deep in space, not in the bowels of the earth as may be expected but the obvious idea of exterminating the old devil is still there. The way to do this is to fight your way to him by shooting down hoards of enemy vessels which speed down the screen at you. The foe comes in various guises , some that you can dodge and forget, some that track you, some that move vertically down the screen and others that zig-zag. Whichever they are you never know what's going to come next and how many of them.

So far it sounds like a simple shoot-everything-in-sight type game. There is however a lot more to come than that. Firstly, you have to collect crystals. This is not simply a matter of flying over them but shooting at flashing C characters and gradually revealing them. This is not just to gather bonus points as in most games but a necessary part of the proceedings, because if you don't collect them you have to go back once the region is completed.

Lucifer's Kingdom

A region in this game is a set of set of six planets, a planet being a phase as, say, in Scrambler. For instance Region 1 is Epsilion with six planets visited in the order Giotto, Maxima, Minima, Prolox and Lexiia. That's Region 1. There are four other regions Delta. Gamma, Beta and Alpha making a total of 30 planets to navigate and with only five lives.

Particularly devious and infuriating obstacles for the gamep layer are static triangular land based objects which only allow your bullets past if pointing upwards, if they point down to get them up you have to fire at them. However after the next shot they reverse again. If you can follow that effectively 50% of your bullets get past, but I can assure you that you struggle when your ammunitions fully flowing and to only have half can be disaster.

This game reminds me of Vanguard, an old arcade favourite of mine, which shows how highly I rate this game. One factor that Vanguard had that this has, is addictiveness. At first it's a bit frustrating as you try and comprehend what's happening and how to play your role in it, but after a few plays you become more and more determined to reach that next planet; that next region with the next life of the next game.

There seem to be quite a few good new games aboot at the moment and this is certainly one of them. If you've got a joystick in need of exercise it's cheque in the post time, because to conclude with a totally abysmal pun this orange is a juicy one.

Philip Stott

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