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US Gold Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

China,184 AD: an unhappy time. A blood feud between the Han Clan and the Kai Clan has escalated into all-out war. The Hans are the good guys, but there are only four of their warriors left - and you're one of them! Choose which of the four you play, each with equally silly names: Shang Fei, Lui Bei, Kuan Yu and Shao Yun. Now mount your trusty steed and lay into the Kai hordes with your R-Type inspired weapon (ie the longer the button is held the stronger the blow). Six horizontally scrolling levels of enemy troops armed with lances, swords and bows await you, all punctuated by end-of-level Kai Generals to defeat.

Dynasty Wars kicks off with a promising start: a good intro tune and static portraits of the heroes. But from there on boredom is just around the corner. The thing that strikes you first is the lack of colour - all graphics are monochromatic. The result is that the animated sprites are disastrously lost in the backdrops. Maybe Tiertex should be recommended to the army, they'd do a great lob camouflaging vehicles! The scrolling judders along and just adds to the 'why bother' feeling that emerges after thirty seconds play.

MARK … 39%


'Dynasty Wars is one of those games that suffers from excellent presentation but has little playability. There are some really well drawn screens of the heroes you control, and greet graphics in between the levels. The actual game sprites and backgrounds are another matter though: they're small, undetailed and all in cyan monochrome - yukk! You have to strain your eyes to see what is going on, but you might as well not bother because it looks more like a circus act than a war! The horse you ride moves the same speed backwards as it does forwards, and when you try to shoot at someone the arrows or bullets go straight through them! A dire implementation of a coin-op shoot-'em-up variant.' NICK ... 50%