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Game Review #9: Draconian (Atari 2600) UPDATED!

[b]Game:[/b] Draconian
[b]System[/b]: Atari 2600/VCS/Sears Video Arcade
[b]Developer:[/b] SpiceWare
[b]Publisher: [/b]Atari Age
[b]Programmed by:[/b] Darrell Spice, Jr.
[b]Graphics and Level Design by: [/b]Nathan Strum
[b]Sound Effects, Music, Digitized Voices by:[/b] Mike Haas
[b]CDF Driver co-written by:[/b] Darrell Spice, Jr., Chris Walton, Fred Quimby
[b]Cartridge Size:[/b] 32K CDF
[b]Copyright:[/b] 2017 
 
[b]Genre: [/b]Shoot 'em Up; Multi-directional scrolling
Homebrew Port (Bosconian)
[b]Controller:[/b] Joystick (Sega Game Pad Compatible)
[b]Players:[/b]  1
 
[b]Rarity Rating:[/b] H (Homebrew)
 
 
[b]FROM THE ATARI AGE STORE PAGE:[/b]
[i]Enemy forces have had the audacity to invade our galaxy and set up occupation forces, operating from space stations that have been strategically placed throughout the five quadrants of our galaxy. (We’re aware that there should only be four quadrants, but interplanetary gerrymandering resulted in there being a fifth one.) Your mission is to choose one of the quadrants, then clear out the enemy forces, one sector at a time.[/i]
 
This is an excellent port of the arcade classic Bosconian. It fact it's two ports in one, as it replicates the levels found in the Namco original, and those found in the North American release by Midway. Actually, it contains even more Bosconian goodness. The game includes 5 Quadrants, with 4 Difficulty Modes for each. Kids, Easy, Normal, Hard.  The 5 Quadrants are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon.[list]
[*]A = 17 Midway sectors, last 6 repeat (after sector 256 it goes back to sector 1). There are a few repeated sectors within it, 13-15 are a repeat of sectors 9, 5, then 10.
[*]B = 22 Namco sectors, last 6 repeat.  Likewise there are repeated sectors within it, including some from the A quadrant.
[*]Γ = 9 Tribute sectors, all 9 repeat.  Stations are arranged to render the initials of key contributors within the radar. 
[*]Δ = 16 Contest sectors, all 16 repeat.
[*]E = randomly generated sectors.  These are not repeats of any of the other 4 quadrants, 8 stations are randomly positioned at the start of each sector.
[/list]
Additional Info has been added to the above breakdown of the 5 Quadrants, and was provided to me by SpiceWare.
 
Each Space Station has 6 Weapons Pods, except for the DELTA Quadrant, where there are some sectors with Mega Space Stations (my name for them, as they aren't mentioned in the manual). These larger stations contain a secret hidden inside, which I won't spoil for you here.*
 
Delta Quadrant sector levels designed by Anders Carlsson, Alessandro Ciceri, Steve Damon, Chris Derrig, German Gonzlaez-Morris, James Earl O'Brien.
 
[b]SCORING:[/b]
All of this lined up properly when I typed all of this in. How it posts is a different story entirely.
 
Asteroids ..................................................10 Points
Cosmo Space Mine...................................20 Points
I-Type missile............................................50 Points
P-Type missile...........................................60 Points
E-Type missile...........................................70 Points
I-Type formation Leader...........................100 Points
P-Type formation leader...........................120 Points
E-Type formation leader...........................140 Points
Spy Ship.....................................200/400/800 Points
Destroy Station Weapons Pod.................200 Points
Destroy Station.......................................1500 Points
Destroy all ships in I-Type formation........500 Points
Destroy all ships in P-Type formation.....1000 Points
Destroy all ships in E-Type formation.....1500 Points
 
You begin each game with four ships. You earn extra ships at 20,000 and 70,000 points. Thereafter you earn an additional ship every 70,000 points. So at 140,000, 210,000, 280,000, etc.
 
In an earlier Blog entry I asked what would happen if the player should reach 1 million points, as the font used to display your score during game play appears too large for the additional digit.+ Well, today I found out while playing in the ALPHA Quadrant in the Kids difficulty. In fact I hit 1,332,030 points. The game continued displaying my score just fine. Something that I found interesting was when I earned a 10th Extra Ship. Up until then the game displayed a single digit, as you'd expect, however when I earned the 10th one the game displayed something else. I paused the game long enough to get my wife from the living room. I gave her my Smart Phone and asked her to take a photo of the screen. She took several, but all were too blurry to go by. I thought that it looked like a Capitol H, but my wife said no, it was the Roman Numeral 10 (looks like a Capitol X)**. Since I'm dyslexic I'll go with her assessment, especially as it makes more sense than an H.
 
This is an exceptionally good game. The Melody Board's CDF mode is put to good use, allowing for Digitized Voices without the need of an AtariVox. Features also include TV-Type Detection. Cartridge is compatible with the NTSC, PAL, and SECAM Standards. It should auto-detect which standard you are using, however if for some reason that fails to work you can manually select which Standard to use via the menu. The game also includes a pause feature. If played on a 2600/VCS toggle between Color and B/W to pause. On the 7800 ProSystem simply hit the pause button. Hitting the fire button will un-pause the game.
 
[b]SOUND[/b]
This homebrew port of Bosconian includes the following voice clips:
 
Blast Off!
Alert! Alert!
Battle Stations!
Spy Ship Sighted!
Condition Red!!
 
[b]PACKAGING:[/b] Excellent
For $35 you get the cartridge, 8 page color manual, and 10" x 14" poster by Nathan Strum. The Box Upgrade is only $15 (while supplies last), bringing the total to $50 (not including Shipping, or Atari Age Annual Subscriber's discount).
 
Of the games for the 2600 that I've reviewed so far, this is easily the best. 
 
[b]RANKING: [/b]1 (out of 9)[list=1]
[*][b]Draconian[/b] (Homebrew port of Bosconian)
[*][b]Worm War I[/b]
[*][b]Demolition Herby[/b]
[*][b]Allia Quest[/b] (Homebrew)
[*][b]Naughty List[/b] (Homebrew)
[*][b]Tapeworm[/b] (with the sound turned down low)
[*][b]Bell Hopper[/b] (Homebrew)
[*][b]Alligator People[/b] (Prototype)
[*][b]Fire Fly[/b]
[/list]
[b]ATARI AGE DRACONIAN PROMOTIONAL VIDEO[/b]
 
[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqS0SMSTFHg"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqS0SMSTFHg[/url]
 
[b]YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEW OF DRACONIAN[/b]  AtariLeaf
 
[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESPR4N1nccY"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESPR4N1nccY[/url]
 
[b]REVIEWED GAMES IN THE DATABASE AT HIGH SCORE[/b]
[url="http://highscore.com/"][b]http://highscore.com/[/b][/url]
 
[b]Allia Quest[/b]
[b]Bell Hopper[/b]
[b]Demolition Herby[/b]
[b]Draconian[/b]
[b]Fire Fly[/b]
[b]Naughty List[/b]
[b]Tapeworm[/b]
[b]Worm War I[/b]
 
So only [b]Alligator People[/b] is missing from the HS database, although I have requested it.
 
[b]ATARI AGE DRACONIAN STORE PAGE[/b]
 
[url="https://atariage.com/store/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1107"]https://atariage.com/store/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1107[/url]
 
[b]OTHER GAMES BY DARRELL SPICE, JR. INCLUDE[/b]
 
Medieval Mayhem
Stay Frosty
Stay Frosty 2
Space Rocks
 
*"[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3]A number of the levels entered in the [/size][/font][/color][url="http://atariage.com/forums/topic/270056-draconian-%CE%B4-quadrant-sector-design-contest/"]Draconian Δ Quadrant Sector Design Contest[/url][color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3] have names.  Level with the [/size][/font][/color][i]Mega Space Stations[/i][color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3] is named [/size][/font][/color][i]The hunt for the 4 mukors[/i][color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3] as the stacked stations appear similar to [/size][/font][/color][url="http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~bevhome/bisfor1.htm"]the boss in the arcade game Blasteroids[/url][color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3]." -SpiceWare[/size][/font][/color]
 
**"[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3]It's an X and stands for eXceeds 9 lives, shown if you have 10 or more lives remaining." - SpiceWare[/size][/font][/color]
 
[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3]+The Maximum Score displayable on the Title Screen is 99,999,999. However while playing only 7 digits will fit on-screen.[/size][/font][/color]
 
[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=verdana][size=3]Additional information added to this review came [/size][/font][/color]courtesy of SpiceWare.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



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Thanks! A few comments:

You can copy/paste the characters for gamma Γ  and delta Δ, such as from this post.

 

A number of the levels entered in the Draconian Δ Quadrant Sector Design Contest have names.  Level with the Mega Space Stations is named The hunt for the 4 mukors as the stacked stations appear similar to the boss in the arcade game Blasteroids.

mucoranim2.gif

 

It's an X and stands for eXceeds 9 lives, shown if you have 10 or more lives remaining.

 

 

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Thanks! A few comments:

You can copy/paste the characters for gamma Γ  and delta Δ, such as from this post.

 

A number of the levels entered in the Draconian Δ Quadrant Sector Design Contest have names.  Level with the Mega Space Stations is named The hunt for the 4 mukors as the stacked stations appear similar to the boss in the arcade game Blasteroids.

mucoranim2.gif

 

It's an X and stands for eXceeds 9 lives, shown if you have 10 or more lives remaining.

 

 

I hope you like the updated version of my review. I credited the additional information to SpiceWare.  I look forward to your next game. :)

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