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cessnaace's Blog - Game Review #9: Draconian (Atari 2600)

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Game: Draconian
System: Atari 2600/VCS/Sears Video Arcade
Developer: SpiceWare
Publisher: Atari Age
Programmed by: Darrell Spice, Jr.
Graphics and Level Design by: Nathan Strum
Sound Effects, Music, Digitized Voices by: Mike Haas
CDF Driver co-written by: Darrell Spice, Jr., Chris Walton, Fred Quimby
Cartridge Size: 32K CDF
Copyright: 2017


Genre: Shoot 'em Up; Multi-directional scrolling
Homebrew Port (Bosconian)
Controller: Joystick (Sega Game Pad Compatible)
Players: 1

Rarity Rating: H (Homebrew)


FROM THE ATARI AGE STORE PAGE:
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.

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.

A ALPHA {Midway arcade levels}
B BETA {Namco arcade levels}
r GAMMA {Draconian contributors}
^ DELTA {Submitted by Atari Age members}
E EPSILON {randomly generated}

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.

SCORING:
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. 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.

SOUND
This homebrew port of Bosconian includes the following voice clips:

Blast Off!
Alert! Alert!
Battle Stations!
Spy Ship Sighted!
Condition Red!!

PACKAGING: 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 review so far, this is easily the best.

 

RANKING: 1 (out of 9)

  • Draconian
  • Worm War I
  • Demolition Herby
  • Allia Quest (Homebrew)
  • Naughty List (Homebrew)
  • Tapeworm (with the sound turned down low)
  • Bell Hopper (Homebrew)
  • Alligator People (Prototype)
  • Fire Fly
ATARI AGE DRACONIAN PROMOTIONAL VIDEO



YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEW OF DRACONIAN AtariLeaf



REVIEWED GAMES IN THE DATABASE AT HIGH SCORE
http://highscore.com/

ATARI AGE DRACONIAN STORE PAGE

https://atariage.com/store/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1107

OTHER GAMES BY DARRELL SPICE, JR. INCLUDE

Medieval Mayhem
Stay Frosty
Stay Frosty 2
Space Rocks

Please feel free to comment. :)




http://atariage.com/forums/blog/760/entry-15863-game-review-9-draconian-atari-2600/

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