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Menace logo

Amiga
Psygnosis
Price: £24.95

O Menace 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.
Mike Pattenden

CU Amiga, July 1988, p.p.50-51
(Note: “Menace” is reviewed here as “Draconia”, an early work-in-progress name)

DRACONIA DIGITAL POINTS DISPLAY
 
VIDEO
AUDIO
TOUGHNESS
ENDURANCE
VFM
Scale 1 - 10
8 out of 10
6 out of 10
7 out of 10
7 out of 10
6 out of 10
CU Rating: 7


Thing

Menace logo

Psyclapse, £19.95 disk
Menace 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

Maff Evans The various screenshots of Menace that are currently knocking around fair made my trousers yearn for the lavatory, but when I first saw the actual game I was a bit bored by it. Something about it must have stuck in my mind because I found myself coming back for another game time and again. It's a definite grower! The programmers have sensibly put the better graphics towards the end of the game, giving you something to aim for. Not to say that the graphics of the earlier levels aren't good, they're very good indeed, it's just that they get better towards the end! The music and sound effects are of a very high standard and complement the action very well, especially the speech telling you what you've picked up. Menace will appeal to all shoot 'em up fans and I daresay the odd casual blaster will enjoy it too. I've played it so much that I've decided to use it as my chosen game in the Inter-magazine challenge! High praise indeed…

Gordon Houghton Yeah, so Maff wanted this in the Challenge, and then he goes and finishes second! Huh! I wanted him to choose StarRay myself, 'cos I'm dead good at that – but this is all beside the point. The main fault of Menace is that there isn't enough of it – at £24.95 there should be more than just half a dozen levels, however beautifully they're designed (and believe me, some of the end-of-level aliens are superb). For a tenner or even fifteen quid, this would have been brilliant – as it is, try before you buy, because your money might not last that long.

Paul Glancy Shoot 'em ups don't come looking much better than this – right from the superb opening graphics and bass guitar chords, you know you're in for a bit of classy blasting. Menace's graphics and sounds are indeed superb, but it has to be said that after several runs through the first few levels, the laser-show gameplay doesn't quite live up to the polish. Almost, but not quite. The problem is that, even on Expert level, when you're not allowed to touch the scenery, the fleet of fire-button-finger can make mincemeat out of wave after wave of aliens with not a lot of practice. From then on it's easy to keep the ship stocked up with lasers, cannon shells and even shields. The fact that there are only six and the availability of a restart option mean that you'll soon see pretty much all of the game, and then you'll only be coming back to the game to beat previous high scores. That's fine by me, but if you're after vast tracts of space to explore, you may be disappointed.

naked snowman!
PRESENTATION 83%
Excellent presentation graphics, two skill levels, a continue game feature and a good add-on selection system.
GRAPHICS 90%
Variety of gorgeous visuals and terrific end of level beasts.
SOUND 93%
Terrific ('triffic) rock soundtracks play throughout.
HOOKABILITY 90%
Brilliant graphics and addictive blasting grab you from the moment you pick up the joystick.
LASTABILITY 69%
Only six stages, which aren't too difficult even on the expert level. The game continue option doesn't leave much to the imagination.

OVERALL 79%
Nicely done, but a bit easy.