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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Take a look at the screenshots of Super Dragon Slayer Simulator (sorry, it's not a simulator, though I'm sure Codemasters would claim it was the most authentic dragon-slaying game on the market). What's the first thing you notice? Everything surrounded by horrid great squares. It looks like a day out in Legoland, doesn't it? Remember all those reviews you've read over the last couple of years saying "I just don't know where all the attribute problems have gone" Well now you know: someone packaged them all up and sent them to Codemasters.

Never in my life have I ever seen so many blocks of ugly colour. And what, prey tell, is the justification for this assault on the senses? None so far as I can tell. It could have been a perfectly jolly game if they had been happy to do the graphics in arty monochrome, but no, they wanted horrible colours, and they didn't care that all the sprites fly about surrounded by big coloured squares. The scrolling's pretty jerky too, which is a big pity because the gameplay is really rather good.

As a brave-hearted dragon slayer, you set off into the eerie magical kingdom in search of fame, riches and quality television programmes. But, oh crikey! You come under attack from a selection of flying medusas, skulls, eyes, demons, giant Chinese dragons and what look suspiciously like whirling pieces of toast. You can jump up onto platforms, duck under enemies and zap them with your magical powers, but to get anywhere you have to find and pick up spell-books. These give you extra magical skills which are activated by the number keys; one spell is the magical equivalent of a smart bomb, one turns you into a darling little frog, in which form you can hop over crevasses, and the third spell does something I can't quite figure out. There are different spells on later levels, such as mystic shields, mega-flight and chain firing, but you have to experiment to find out what to do with each one as you find it, and you can only use each one once.

At the top of the screen a falling bar shows your energy level, which you can boost by picking up scrolls. If you lose all you lives, on the Standard version of the game you can continue from the last level you reached, but you can't play further than level 3. On the Expert version, you go back to the first level at the start of each game, but you can play the thing all the way through. The last four levels are on the B side of the tape.

Label: Codemasters
Author: John Ferrari
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Playable but horrid-looking fighting fairy fantasy.