WE NOW salute Colonel Daniel MacGregor Dare, Manchester's most famous fictitious son. Graduate of Cambridge and summa cum laude from Harvard and The Roger Moore Eyebrow College. Date was to have been born in 1967. Does that mean that Dan Dare, epitome of all things English, is the child of a Flower Child? I think we should be told.
Dan Dare has been shot down by the dastardly Mekon (not to be confused with the very nice man who owns us) again. This isn't anything to do with being shot down over the Mekong Delta, which was in vogue some 20 years ago with USAF pilots. Too true.
For all the Mekon's hyper-
Dan has escaped (surprisingly) and has found himself a spaceship to escape on. Hooray, say you, I've just spent nearly 20 sovs on the world's shortest game. It's a bit more complex than that - the ship requires 50 pounds of high pounds of high grade rocket fuel.
So off flies the man Dan, after donning a spacesuit which looks suspiciously like a purple and turquoise shell
You have to fly around the Mekon's ship collecting bits and pieces to trade for fuel. The actual bargaining is done by hacking the Mekon's computer, which runs Mekos 1.2. A few mutant Treens buzz about trying to stop you just by sheer blood-
You need a key to get to the next level, and only the Mekon has it. You can get the key by gently but firmly knocking lumps out of the Big Green M with your blaster. The Mekon doesn't appreciate this, and retires hurt to the regeneration chambers, dropping the key en route.
Travelling between levels gives a bad attack of déjà vu. Sometimes déjà vu can be nice - Proust enjoyed the memory of dunking Madeleine in his tea, though quite what she had to say about it we'll never know.
This particular flavour of déjà vu isn't quite as tasty. Anyone remember Dark Star on the Spectrum? Flying between planets on that game required the player to run the gauntlet down a twisty rectangular wormhole in space. Dan Dare III features the same subgame - the graphics don't flicker, but it's still a convenient way to haven all your energy sapped before the next level.
And so it goes on. The early promise of the neat intro sequence with minimally animated frames backed by a samey but reasonable David Whittaker tune goes largely unfulfilled. And no, Mr. Whittaker, Professor Peabody would never have said what she says in your tune.
The gameplay could be a novelty for those who don't remember the spate of arcade adventures that there was in mid-1984. For anyone who does remember them, the gameplay and graphics are a perfect example of the genre. If you switch the tune off, the sound becomes quite authentic for mid 1984 too.
It is a pity that Dan Dare Ltd hasn't exercised a veto on this game, since it does nothing positive for the image of the good Colonel Dare. I guess the only Dare around this game is Virgin Mastertronic's own, since they dared to release it.