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

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Tim Kemp
Chris Bourne

Dragon Slayer is the first adventure by Martin Freemantle. He's taken a traditional fantasy theme, added the odd graphical special effect here and there and has come up with a pretty smart game for a first effort.

So what's all this dragon slaying lark about? Well, the aim of the game is basically to kill the dreaded and much-feared Silver Dragon who has formed a dangerous alliance with some nasty Red Goblins. There's also this warlock, Rexel, who has created a pendant from various elements which the humans (who are battling the goblins) can use for protection against just about anything! Wouldn't it be just blummin' well typical (as we say here in Norfolk) if the pendant was stolen! Well, it does get stolen... and so it's up to you, brave adventurer, to kill the dragon, defeat the evil goblins and also battle wolves and serpents along the way. Bet you are getting excited, eh? So you should be as the game starts off very well with every item needed to make a good start being found in the first ten or so locations.

The dusty road that you find yourself travelling along runs east, and there's a ledge above you which is initially too high to reach. Follow the track, explore the grassy outcrops that appear here and there and then type START. Why? Well, that command brings up a map of the first few locations so you know where you are. It's a nice little touch - just a shame it doesn't cover more of the game area. Nice little touch number two comes when you find and enter a cave, your reward being a suitably atmospheric piccy!

But it's not all nice surprises and carefree wandering in the early part of the game. You'll need to have a hefty brain storming session when you come across some leaves. Remember that EXAMINE and SEARCH are two words that in most games perform two distinctly separate actions. Even so you'll still have to think of a few other ways to manipulate the leaves before you can move on, up and out into other areas of the game world. Finally, nice touch number three is in the form of a simple bit of animation which takes place if you manage to climb up onto the ledge. Phew! And all crammed into the first ten minutes.

Right the way through the game the fantasy atmosphere is kept up quite well, mainly because a lot of the problems are typically fantastic. As you progress from the early section to the middle of the game, you'll even come across a greedy troll guarding a ricketty bridge. The objects you find or obtain are also traditional in shape, size and, more often than not, in their use. That doesn't mean you'll know what to do with everything you find though. Only in the latter stages will things get harder - the main challenge being that the vocabulary is a bit limited. Cue head scratching and flipping through dictionaries for appropriate synonyms!

In the final analysis I'd say the beginning was the best bit - with all the nice little touches being found there, the middle segment doesn't really build from the beginning and the end comes on a bit too quickly and is a tad too hard. However, having said that, there is still enough in it to pose the average adventurer a few problems. At any rate it holds one's interest from start to finish. I'll certainly keep an eye out for future Dream World Adventures!