Hah! Take that, sirrah! Electric Dreams has thrown down the gauntlet (clone), in the run-up to the Christmas battle for the best sword and sorcery plan-view thrasharama.
Dandy is a dungeon-based arcade adventure, using the now popular Gauntlet format. You view the game from above, walking (or if you don't like man-sized spiders, running) around a mazelike dungeon with treasure, keys, snacks and spells for you to collect, and baddies for you to kill. Although you can play it as a one player game. Dandy really comes into its own when using the two player feature. You go in as a team, yourself and a well chosen friend, helping each other to beat a path through the ranks of Spiders, Vampires, and Werewolves, to the treasure, and beyond to the Inner Room containing the Secret Runes. But only one of you can enter this secret realm... so choose your friend very carefully.
There are fifteen different levels, and the map is so huge on each level that you get about 12 individual screens to explore. Unlike the scrolling screen on the real Gauntlet, the screens flip back and forth as you move up the corridors. This does make judging where you're going to end up a little dicey, but doesn't detract from the flow of the game.
You must move around the dungeon performing tasks in a certain order, and be careful what you shoot. For example, if you go in a certain direction, you lose one key opening a door that leads you to a relative dead end, where there are no more keys available to get you out again... You just have to sit around and wait for death. (Pretty depressing, really.) You soon learn the best routes, and find your way through the level, clearing it of all the hairy leggy things. (Brrr).
The spells you find are like smart bombs, clearing the screen of all baddies. Then all you do to prevent them reforming when you're out of the room, is shoot their source of power, the charnel houses. These are little squat constructions full of bones, and shooting neutralises them.
This has to be the closest thing to a proper arcade conversion, although it's actually more similar to the game Gauntlet was based on. The graphics are lovely to watch, the sound is good and the gameplay fairly sizzles along like a bolt of magic. Far from being a pale imitation of its original, like some I could mention, Dandy is a first class game in its own right, and with 192 different screens to face, it'll prove to be not only a value for money challenge, but a tip for the top, too. (Ptui! Too many tees, there.) Have at ye... (Kerchang!)
Well, ain't that just Dandy?
Here's a measure of the treasure you can amass thrashing your way through the Dandy dungeon... Oh yes, look out for the little holes in the ground. Before you hop down here, face yourself in the direction of one of the other holes (preferably the one you'd like to end up in!), and Voila! Up you nip into a previously unenterable chamber... magic!
You remember Flanders and Swann made a record about a spider in the bath? (Brrr). You do? Golly, you're older than you look! Well, if you hate spiders, you're in for a real treat. There are millions of them, and as soon as you splatter a screen full of them, there's a whole scuttle of them just around the corner. (Gulp!)