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Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

In Dandy the Gauntlet-style playing area - that threatening mixture of blind alleys and sudden wide open spaces as designed by a architect from ancient Greece - looks as impressive as ever.

There is perhaps marginally less variety than with Druid. The main difference between the look of each level are only colour and the actual design of the maze.

The detail however is greater than for Druid - it's a trade-off of screen detail against screen variety.

The broad idea of the plot is easily summarised. Kill hundreds of monsters (a nasty kind of spider) though don't accidentally destroy goodies like keys zap spells (smart bombs) and food. Through the game are large treasure chests which may reveal treasure.

Part of the game, at least first time round, is simply finding your way through to the next level. This is made that little bit more tricky by the fact that there area series of underground passageways whose sometimes complex linkage takes a while to unravel - simply ordinarily but tough when giant spiders are queuing up to take you on.

Now Dandy is a pretty stupid name for a game don't you think? I mean you wouldn't expect a game called Dandy to be fast and frenzied would you?

Many moons ago there was a game in the arcades called Dandy. It was a sort of swords-and-sorcery played as if it were a manic zap-'em-up. You rushed round a mythical landscape armed with a selection of spells, which behave curiously like photon blasts, and killed mythological enemies by the cart-load. You had to select your spells to kill most effectively and pick up keys and bonus spell power by opening caskets. It wasn't that successful until it was renamed and turned into a multi-player game. It became Gauntlet - and the rest is history.

This then is Dandy not Gauntlet. On the other hand Dandy when played by a maximum of two players is, more or Jess. Gauntlet.

Let's just say that Gauntlet fans will find Dandy as good a conversion of Gauntlet as they could hope for. (The reason that Electric Dreams is putting out Dandy rather than licencing Gauntlet is more complicated and decidedly tacky in places. In the event the Dandy licence was much cheaper than Gauntlet and US Gold (which licenced Gauntlet for a lot of money) was not amused.

The curious - and deadly - way the monsters have of lining up to batter you is retained faithfully in Dandy. Those who enjoy mass destruction should be well pleased. It is, however, more of a two-player game than Druid and if you have a duel port interface both can control their characters from joystick. This should substantially add to the game and help capture much of the excitement of the arcade original. At the time of writing the two players seemed to be Thor and Sheba, personally I wouldn't want to have a name like Sheba (unless I was an Alsatian) and I hope that's changed before the game goes out.

There is really no major problems with recreating the general look of the original on the Spectrum. The background is fairly ordinary - lots of straight lines - and the pathways generally stay the same colour all the time so almost no colour clash at all.

Design is elegant and movement is smooth - given the requirements of the two-player version, ie, that both players have to be in the same area of the screen there is no point in making the screen scroll - it just updates very quickly when you reach the edge of the current section.

In other words it looks great.

Label: Electric Dreams
Author: Ram-Jam
Price: £7.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Astonishingly authentic conversion of what is effectively 'that game'. as a two player game it's an astounding experience.


Screenshot Text

Monsters line up to do battle. Chests are for opening. The exit to the next level is on the right. Things look pretty bleak for your hero.

Level 2. Exit stairs bottom left. Food for energy bottom right. Can our hero's name really be Sheba?