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Dragon spirit Serpent demons are nasty pieces of work and the one called Zawell is the worst of the lot. Aside from other generally horrid things, he has kidnapped the Princess Alicia and is holding her hostage.
Enter your good self, magically transformed into a dragon complete with fiery breath, to rescue the poor maiden in this conversion of the Atari coin-op. There are eight stages to this vertically scrolling shoot-em-up and nine end-of-level guardians to fight.

The action is all viewed from directly above as you fly over the lands destroying all the flying, crawling and swimming creatures that Zawell sends against you. Fortunately, you are well stocked up on bombs so destroying the ground targets is not too mucn of a problem. The flying creatures are quite easily taken out too using your fiery breath, especially if you can collect the power ups which appear when you destroy the blue eggs which occasionally crop up on the ground. Collect a power up and your dragon sprouts another head – thus increasing the fire power – and you can have up to three heads at once, making things decidedly easier.

As well as blue eggs there are orange eggs which release power up symbols that tend to increase the strength of your shots. Sometimes there are the flying creatures that glow: shoot these and they also release power ups, including ones that shrink the size of the dragon making it easier to dodge between the enemy fire. Take a hit and the first things to go are the extra weapons, swiftly followed by one of your five lives: and starting again with the single head can be a real pain!

Make your way through the stages – the later ones being particularly mean as some of them only allow you to fly over certain parts of the scenery whilst still chucking wave after wave of nasties at you – then destroy the guardians and it is job done.
Andy Smith

Amiga Format, Issue 5, December 1989, p.p.52-53

The sound effects are on the disappointing side, simple gun noises and the scream of the dragon as it gets blasted out of the air. The graphics are much better, ebing colourful, well drawn and well animated. Overall it looks as close to the coin-op as you could wish for, though the sound is not perfect.

Not just another shoot em up surely? Essentially, yes. It has a nice scenario and a few extra frills, but the speed and excitement of the coin-op do seem to have been lost somewhere in translation. It is still a good game and will most certainly keep blasting fans happy for a respectable amount of time, but it is not one of the best of its type and lacks just a touch of depth.


Dragon spirit logo

Price: £19.95

Dragon spirit D ragon Spirit is one of those little known arcade games which came and went without too much fuss, although it went down well with almost everyone who played it. Dragon Spirit then resurfaced in Japan as a very successful PC Engine game, and now it is over here on the Amiga.

At first glance, the coin-op does not appear as anything more than your standard vertically scrolling shoot em up – kill the bad guys and collect the weapons. It is not until you sit down to some serious gaming that you really find out how good it is, but it has to be said that the Amiga version does lose out in translation. The original’s strength was its fast graphics and quantity of weapons. The armaments are here but the speed has disappeared. Each level contains a variety of mythical dragons, phoenix’s, to name but a few. Once again, there is the standard end-of-level foe to defeat.

You power up by collecting pods. These cause you to weirdly mutate. You can get three heads, breathe fire, gain electric shields. Wow! Unfortunately, some of this does you more harm than good – one thing in particular reduces your dragon to a pigmy sized with homing missiles which wears out leaving you unarmed.
The graphic conversion of Dragon Spirit is near to arcade perfect, but it is not until thing actually start happening that you realise how sluggish the gameplay is. The graphics are neither complicated or overly large, so why does it play so slowly?

Apart from the lack of speed Dragon Spirit is still a good game and a good shoot em up, though there are slack periods when you wonder is something is missing. It also seems like a good opportunity to make a contribution to the Amiga/PC Engine debate: having now played both versions of the game I can conclusively reveal that the PC Engine version is head, shoulders and ankles above the Amiga’s graphics, speed, colour and sound. So there you go – a good game which falters in the conversion.
Mark Patterson

CU Amiga, November 1989, p.31


Dragon spirit logo

Tengen, C64 £9.99 cassette, £12.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

Dragon spirit T he princess Alicia has been kidnapped by the evil serpent demon Zawell (Extremely Original Plots Inc). In a massive coincidence, you just happen to be transformed into a fire-breathing dragon so you can rescue her!

Spewing fireballs from your three heads, you fly through eight vertically scrolling levels. As you fire you simultaneously drop bombs, killing enemies on the ground and breaking open magic eggs which hatch bonus firepower icons (including extras head, shields, and longer range fireballs and bombs). This all seems easy enough but colliding with airborne enemies or bullets soon causes you to lose your head, or at least one of them! Two hits and you'll be quickly falling to earth – you'll also lose all extra weapons and heads.

Each of the multiloaded eight levels is infested with many hostile creatures, some airborne (mainly formation-flying birds) and some on the ground which can't be hit but fire loads of bullets. There are also wombat squirrel thingies with beaks which start off on the ground, then launch themselves into the air. Plus, of course, the inevitable huge end-of-level nasties which include an even bigger fire-breathing dragon, giant spider, and huge, carnivorous pot plant – obviously a remnant from Day Of The Triffids!

Zzap, Issue 57, January 1990, p.70

Phil King Oh no, it's yet another vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up. Okay, so instead of a spaceship, you control a dragon, but essentially the gameplay is much like dozens of other games with very little originality. Worse still, the C64 graphics are some of the tackiest I've ever seen; mostly monochromatic, badly defined, with almost invisible enemy bullets to try and avoid. You can be flying along thinking you're getting somewhere at last when suddenly the picture freezes – this symbolises your death by an invisible bullet, the dragon isn't even shown dying! Although this problem is rectified on the Amiga, the large end-of-level creatures die in a similar way – no satisfying explosions whatsoever. Still, despite being a bit slow, at least the Amiga game is fairly playable and a decent conversion of the mediocre coin-op.

Stuart Wynne The basic idea of a fire-breathing dragon as a shoot-'em-up hero seems novel enough, but on level one at least any other imaginative touches are sadly absent. Levels two and three are more interesting graphically, but playability is still rather repetitive. Yet while fans of the coin-op should be happy with the Amiga game, it's hard to imagine anyone splashing out a tenner on the C64 game. Not only is this version lousy to look at, but it's awful to play. The dragon takes up half of the screen, vertically, while the enemies are numerous, and spit out lots of hard-to-see bullets.


Multiload on side B easy to use, but dying five seconds into a new level is still very irritating.
The bullets are hard to see, backgrounds are poor and the end-of-level monsters are bad (level 2 sees the return of UDGs).
Poor intro tune and very basic FX.
Being massacred by lots of semi-visible bullets is very discouraging.
Very high – for masochists who have an aversion to any variety in their pain.

Oh dear!


Standard Tengen packaging, banal loading screen and intro tune.
Very close to the arcade original with some good end-of-level monsters.
Some nice spot FX.
Very tough and rather sluggish, but still quite playable.
Eight levels of improving graphic appeal provide a good long term challenge.

A good conversion of an uninspired coin-op.