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Domark Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Garth Sumpter
Chris Bourne

Have you ever given thought to the trials and tribulations of a dragon? It's not particularly easy. Finding a parking space in the morning, never being able to get a seat on the train and having to fight the constant battle with the most rip-roaring case of bad breath and finally, of course, being run down to the local police station every time even the most vaguely virginal princess goes missing.

Of course, it does have its advantages. Take Dragon Spirit, the latest game from Domark, in it you're transformed into a mighty dragon and sent forth on a mission to rescue the kidnapped Princess Alicia from the clutches of the evil demon serpent Zawell.

So, you've been miraculously transformed into a dragon, been briefed and have decided to put mummy dragion's packed lunch in foil because the cling film just kept on melting, and you're ready to go. Bit waffly.

There are eight levels of action that you have to negotiate as you wing towards your goal. The going isn't easy, however, as Zawell is not a good snake and had sent his minions to stop you in your quest. They attack by land, sea and air shooting little balls of pure evil, well half evil as you can take up to two hits before losing a life.

In the air a carefully aimed fireball can be devastating, but the ground targets can only be hit with bombs thoughtfully provided at no extra cost. Littered on the ground are the occasional egg which, when bombed, release various goodies to aid your cause. Increase firepower, homing shots, extra lives, shields and a quick shrink in size, useful for those tricky bits, can all be collected but beware of the skulls head - this cancels all of the benefits of any goodies that you may have picked up.

At the end of each level you'll find a beastie which has to be disposed of before you can gain access to the next level.

What about the gameplay, I hear you cry. Well it's pretty good with the dragon moving slowly, but oh so gracefully across the vertically scrolling landscape in all directions. The scenery changes on each successive level to include sea, swamp, desert and coastal headland with each territory havin a an appropriate guardian to the next level. Watch out for the bone dragon, you must shoot him in the heart to destroy him, and the weird looking plant which can only be bested by bombing its egglike babies.

Take care in the desert section as bombs are coughed from the very bowels of the earth and bombing them offers no respite.

It's a good game and one of the better conversions from a coin-op, which is something that we will be watching Domark for in the future especially as they have a three year contract with Atari's arcade company Tengen to convert suitable games.

Dragon Spirit is a good product with lasting appeal and good graphics and is worthy of a little shelf space in your games cupboard.

Label: Domark
Author: In house
Price: Cass £9.99, Disc £14.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Keyboard
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

Easy at the start but a corker once the going gets tough!