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Review: Blue Dragon
There aren't enough good side-scrolling shoot-em-ups on TDC. At least, not that I've noticed. This could loosely be called one, though it's more of an arcade survival game.
The titles and help screen are presented well and clearly, detailing what you have to do in the game, the controls, as you would expect, and so on and so forth. I did notice, however, that in the LCD font within the font of the title, the name of the company is spelled "Newclear Studios" rather than "NewKlear Studios". It's of no consequence whatsoever, I just found it a little odd.
The dual mouse and keyboard controls work well enough, although the Up/Down arrows, Enter and Space aren't the best combination of keys to work with. Fortunately you never have to have them ready all at the same time.
The graphics in the game are superb - each sprite is minutely detailed and animated, and the explosions are impressive (they're not even taken from libraries). The graphical style is similar to that of Zeb. However, sometimes the screen can look a bit blank, nothing much goes on in the background, since all clouds really look the same.
Anyway, the gameplay involves guiding your plane back home safely across No Man's Land. I couldn't help thinking that it bore more than a passing resemblance to the Yellow Submarine out of the Beatles film of the same name, but maybe that's just me. You're armed with your plane's gun and bombs, and just have to avoid crashing. That's pretty much it.
You can amuse yourself along the way by gunning down tanks, soldiers and other planes, until you get to the carrier at the end. It took me absolutely ages to work out how to land, but that was just me being stupid and trying to land before it said "Land Here" with a big arrow. That was helpful. A soft option is provided - ejecting from the plane, so less dextrous keyboard users are also catered for.
And the whole thing starts again. An increasing difficulty level is introduced (your minimum speed increases) but it's not enough, really - repeating a level over and over again makes the game seem a bit unfinished. In that one level, not enough is really thrown at you to make the game all that worthwhile anyway... but that's the only major problem with the game. If it had more, harder levels, this could be very good indeed.
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David Newton (DavidN)