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Dragontorc of Avalon

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Released: 1985

Genre: RPG

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Hewson

Developer: Steve Turner

Submitted by: jonathan winter

Dragontorc manages to shoehorn a very impressive story based RPG into a 48K Spectrum. Maroc returns from his previous adventure (Avalon) for a new quest to find five crowns that will enable him to stop the powerful Dragontorc and King Arthur’s Kingdom from falling into the wrong hands.

Wisely, Maroc spends the entire game sitting in a peaceful forest while sending his astral projection out through forests, dungeons and stone circles. All of his abilities, including movement, are triggered by using spells (which means Maroc cannot run while using objects and fighting at the same time making the game that much harder). New spells and abilities are obtained throughout the course of game making him more powerful.

Maroc first comes into contact with forest elves who can be befriended to fight alongside him but who can turn on him if provoked. More hostile encounters come in the shape of spiders, skeletons, wraiths and goblins all out to stop him. Once in the possession of the Leyrod, Maroc can open up leylines that connect the stone circles of England and enable him to travel to new locations.

While the game doesn’t have the smoothest scrolling, the graphics are atmospheric and set the scene well. Considering the amount of memory the game was written in, it does have some great touches including enemies that chase Maroc from room to room (opening doors to get to him), Elves that join you in battle and some opponents that are invisible until you use the “reveal” spell on them.

Dragontorc’s main problem is that it can be brutally tough. Wrestling with the controls as you try and line up the spell you need while being attacked can be really frustrating (and the game insists you listen to its’ theme tune before you can start again). However, the sense of achievement when finally hunt down that elusive object or reach a new area is immense. The game is filled with most of the components of the modern RPG: head scratching puzzles, objects, keys, magical spells and combat. A fantastic package.