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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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John Molloy
Chris Bourne

Not content with rescuing Princess Daphne and returning her to her father, not happy with restoring the entire Kingdom to peace and happiness, not satisfied with having infinite riches poured upon him (not to mention all kinds of exotic bath oil) Dirk the Daring wants to return to the Dragon's Lair. Worra dirk! Okay, so there's this pot of gold coins that'll give him wealth beyond dreams, but that still makes this guy a loony. Mind you, if he hadn't decided to go back, we wouldn't have such a good game.

In Dragon's Lair, the prequel to this game, Software Projects proved that you really can squeeze a hi-tech laser disk game onto the Speccy, and it looks like it's done it again. Those of you who've spent a lot of time frequenting the cafés and arcades of the city playing the original Dragon's Lair arcade machine may well have noticed that a few screens didn't make it into the first Speccy version. So, repackaged and revamped, here comes Dragon's Lair Part II, though where the escape comes from in the subtitle is beyond me - getting into the castle is the initial problem,

Dirk decides to take the watery route in. This means negotiating The Rapids and Whirlpools which make up the first screen. Not an easy task, and it was with some pride that I informed the YS team I'd managed to get through (it's a cinch when you know how!)

Once you've completed this it's on to the Boulder Alley, where, as well as coping with holes in the moving floor, someone with a weird sense of humour decides it'll be fun to roll big balls at you. Then there's the Throne Room and The Dungeons of the Lizard King, where you get to duff up the reptilian one himself and grab the loot. Now it's escape time, which tends towards the hairy with a Magical Flying Horse, Doom Dungeon, Mystic Mosaic and finally the Mud Monsters to avoid. At last! A game with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Now this game certainly ain't easy, and the large crib sheet that comes with it is essential to explain in great detail what you can do with your joystick on each screen. The game loads a screen at a time, as lots of clever things have been jammed into it. This method of loading could be a real pain but Software Projects seems to have got round this by always having the first screen present. All you have to do is load the subsequent screens, and you've probably put so much work into getting to them that the loading time comes as a welcome relaxation period.

The graphics are beautify designed and make the game a joy to play as you flip from screen to screen, even if it does tax every brain and joystick waggling muscle you possess. It's addictive too, and if you enjoyed Dragon's Lair, you now have the chance to delve further into this realm.


Screenshot Text

The first task you encounter on your way into Singe's Castle is a bit of white-water rapid shooting. (Bang! Peoooww!) Not that kind of shooting, silly! The kind where you paddle along until you hit a rock and drown. The trick here is to wait until the indicator flashes over the way through the rocks, and press in that direction and the key down until you're through...

The third task, after getting by the whirlpools, is the Treadmill... Oo-er! You'd better run fast, Dirk! You've got to run to escape the crushing ball behind you, dodge the balls as they roll side to side in front of you, and hop over the gaps as they speed towards you... A triple threat!