• Monster schizoid fights Tyrant Beast
On an alien world millions of light years from Earth, the hideous Tyrant Beast has imposed his ruthless reign on a planet of gothic horror. For reasons which are not explained, a bizarre monster has set out to overthrow the Tyrant. Under normal circumstance the creature takes the form of Frognum. This is a land creature that can walk around, jump obstacles, duck and either punch monsters or fry them with a limited quantity of dragon breath. To switch to Draconewt, an aquatic creature armed with powerful water jets, Frognum must find and pick up a Morph Helix. Progress is never easy, however, as Frognum’s dragon breath is a rather sluggish weapon, monsters can quickly drain ienergy, and falls are often lethal. But, as tends to be the way of such things, the alien world contains various glowing items which can be of use to our schizoid hero. Record Slabs, for example, will restore a hero who’s just one of this three lives at the place where they were collected, rather than back at the start of the game.
Flasks of Flame Fluid boost Frognum’s firey breath and Energy Packets restore energy. Magical objects, such as the Morph Helix, Shield (prevents death from falling), Magic Staff (casts spells) and the Dragon’s Eye (removes illusory objects) are shown on the right-hand part of the screen when collected. These are not lost after death, nor are killed monsters restored, but then neither are used Energy Packets.
For a budget game Draconus has some surprisingly detailed and colourful background graphics. Alien attackers are well-portrayed, while Frognum’s animation is good and his death sequence genuinely gruesome. Sound isn’t quite up to this standard; basic footfall clicks being about the sum total on both 48K and 128K machines. In its original, C64 form Draconus won a ZZAP!64 Silver Medal, on the Spectrum the game looks better and plays equally well.
STUART ... 91%
Oh dear, an evil tyrant is making life hell for the inhabitants of an alien world. Who can save the day, a tall Frognum and his Draconewt alter-ego no less. At first glance Draconus is a fairly run-of-the-mill collect-’em-up game, but neat graphics and addictive gameplay drag it out of the crowd. Sound is a disappointment, no more than a few simple effects, but the large and nicely animated graphics more than make up for this. A budget game for once worth a lot more than its measly £2.99 price tag.
MARK ... 91%
For a budget game this is brilliant. The way Draconus moves is very awkward at first, what with his tiptoe style of walking and massive bounds when he jumps, it can be tricky to get past the nasties. Some of the screens could have done with a splash of colour, rather than being mainly green, and a 128K tune would have been appreciated. On the whole Draconus is an excellent game.
NICK ... 85%
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: superbly-defined sprites on elegantly-drawn backgrounds, with no colour clash
Sound: adequate spot effects
Options: definable keys
General rating: monster size fun at a budget price