Draconus

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Draconus
Draconus Cover.jpg
Developer(s) Zeppelin Games
Publisher(s) Zeppelin Games
Designer(s) Kevin Franklin, Ian Copeland, Brian Jobling, Michael Owens, Adam Gilmore
Platform(s) Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Release 1988
Genre(s) Platform game, Metroidvania[1]
Mode(s) Single-player

Draconus is a platform action-adventure game developed and published by Zeppelin Games under the "Cognito" label in 1988. It is similar to Metroid.[1]

Overview[edit]

Frognum breathes fire

The player assumes the role of the hero, Frognum, whose task it is to reclaim his kingdom from the Tyrant beast. The game style is principally a platformer which finds the player running and jumping through various screens (numbering around a hundred and extending in all four directions). During this the player will encounter bats, balls or giant rats which general follow fixed paths but may also swarm and chase the player. There are two primary weapons at your disposal to eliminate these enemies; you may punch and claw them, or you may incinerate them with your fire breath. Fire breathing is limited but may be replenished once in a while by collecting items. Also in the C64 version it is imperative to clear the each screen completely of enemies or they will tend to respawn upon leaving and re-entering the screen. Your main task is to find four special abilities and then face the final battle.

Enemy contact reduces Frognums life energy which may also be refilled by collectible symbols. On loss of all life energy Frognum loses one life and restarts from the last Record slab. These slabs occur throughout the game world and serve as checkpoints. Falling great distances or impacting upon water whilst in humanoid form generally results in immediate death, as does falling or walking on spikes.

The game was twice placed #1 in the Readers Top Ten of the German Atari Magazin.[2]

Special abilities[edit]

Four special objects can be found in the game, each of which confers a new ability on Frognum. The abilities are retained if a life is lost.

Mystical Morph Helix[edit]

The Morph Helix allows Frognum to pass through any of several "morph slabs" which are located next to bodies of water, and thus change to or from his "Draconewt" form. This form can swim indefinitely, giving access to more areas of the game, including some dry-land areas that can only be reached through water. Draconewt retains the ability to breathe fire, which is (paradoxically) the only weapon available underwater, and which is unlimited while underwater.

Eye of Serekos[edit]

The Eye allows the player to see through, and pass, illusory walls, which are otherwise as solid as real walls, though the artwork is slightly different. The Eye thus gives access to more areas of the game.

Demon Shield of Grom[edit]

The Shield reduces the amount of energy lost when attacked by an enemy. It also allows Frognum to survive falls of any distance, though it does not protect against water or spikes.

Staff of Findol[edit]

The Staff allows Frognum to pick up 'floating' spells, which can be found in various game locations. Once a spell is acquired, it acts as a ranged weapon that can be fired an unlimited number of times, reaching to the edge of the screen and draining the energy of any enemy it passes through. Spells vary in strength, with the strongest being found close to the room containing the Tyrant beast.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Atari 8-Bit: De Top 25". Retro Gamer. Heise Medien GmbH & Co. KG (4/2016): 165. Das Speil folgt dabei grob der Metroid-Formel... 
  2. ^ Atari Magazin issue 05/89, S. 98; 07/89, S. 74. ISSN 0933-887X.