O h dear, I have landed myself and others in it once already this year for saying this, but there is no avoiding the fact that Draconia is a quite brazen rip-off of R-Type oh, and probably a couple of dozen other coin-op classics. It almost holds up its hands and screams ‘sue me, sue me!’
Draconia has six worlds and these form six levels of shoot ‘em up mayhem for 16 bit owners everywhere. You fly your ship, once it has been spat out of a huge flying louse, through a series of tunnels, with superstructures of various kinds above and below. Here is where the fun begins, each level has the name of a coin-op company contained in it (Irem Battlestation, Konamian Graveyard, Jungles of Capcom) and showcases graphics in the form of backgrounds and aliens which remind you of a number of arcade games. Level Three for example, is a Darius underwater encounter. Maybe they ran out of classic coin-op blasts because there is one of their own in there at the end.
After all that someone better hope the arcade manufacturers have a sense of humour, something I have not seen much evidence of in the past.
Forgetting the cheek of Draconia for a moment (it is not easy) and judging it on its own merits, this is a good blast but not a great one. Graphically it is neat, with witty, colourful backgrounds, some great aliens (check the Xevious-like mirrors) yet perhaps because of its conventionality something is missing. You are flying well-charted territory here.
Sound too is disappointing, a couple of words of sampled speech and a messy Xenon-style soundtrack is simply not enough.
The over-riding factor is gameplay. Draconia is a little slow for my liking, and the method of collecting extra weapons (by continually shooting bonuses when you have destroyed an attack wave) is fiddly. That said, Draconia is still one of the better shoot ’em ups to have appeared on the Amiga. Not saying much I know, particularly when the current numero uno is a cheapo (Sidewinder).
Still, you would better buy it, if only for its outrageous insolence.
CU Amiga, July 1988, p.p.50-51
Psyclapse, £19.95 disk
Destroy the planet Draconia? Me, li'l ol' PG? How'm I supposed to do that? Oh, yeah… Yeah, I see… The only way it can be done is if some, ah, brave – did you say 'brave'? – right, brave person gets into a tiny, quite staggeringly small one man fighter and blasts seven shades of sunlight out of anything that moves. And I'm supposed to this with a 30kW pea-shooter laser, am I? Yep, I see.
Look, how many times do you want to check I was listening at the briefing? OK, OK – I'll go through the history lecture one more time. Draconia's an artificial planet built by the combined forces of six exiled dictators who populated it with all the most belligerent and slimy creatures in the galaxy. The planet is now being used as a base of operations for piracy and… er… all sorts of other illegal stuff. How's that?
Yeah, right, now can we talk about bumping up my armament to some, ooh, I dunno, a quad-kill particle howitzer? How about some thermium cluster bombs? Firelance homing missiles? No? So how am I supposed to get out alive? Matter convertors – what are they? Oh, I get it. I just destroy a formation of aliens, then blast away at the debris and it turns into extra equipment. So what can I pick up? Oh, thanks – a list. Lemme see – rapid-fire cannons, lasers, outriders, extra thrust, temporary force field and shield recharge…
Well, OK, that doesn't sound too bad, I suppose. How do I get to Draconia, then? In a WHAT? In the mouth of an Aldabran Space Slug?! Oh, just great! JUST GREAT!! And I suppose you'll beside me all the way as usual, watching the scenery scroll sideways across your little monitors…
Zzap! Christmas Special, Issue 44, December 1988, p.185