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Thanatos

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Released: 1986

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Durell Software

Developer: Mike Richardson. Julian Breeze. Jane Richardson.

Taking control of a fire breathing, witch eating, maiden rescuing, village destroying and knight slaying dragon, may not be up everyone’s street but it certainly was mine. Flying along incinerating all that is in your path, buildings, horses, giant spiders, snakes and people alike. Did I mention that you could actually pick up rocks, knights and even sea snakes simply by flying over them and letting your talons do their work. Once gripped in the dragons claws, objects animate or inanimate could be carried up to the heavens and released to rain down more carnage on all that was unlucky enough to lie beneath you. Thanatos does need a rest now again flying at full throttle takes it out of the beast. A large heart on the screen will beat faster and faster until you simply need to stop and rest, however you are prone to ground attacks when doing so. Your flame also runs out and can be recharged by either resting or eating one of the witches left conveniently tied to two posts at various points of the game. Oh and the main main mission you have is to rescue Eros(a fair maiden)and her spell book, then drop her off at the cauldron to cast a spell I think that’s all correct.
What strikes the player at first is the size of Thanatos the creature takes a good chunk of the screen. I know I had never seen this before and actually controlling a dragon that was bigger than anything else on screen added a sense of your domination over the game. You will bump into other dragons and various other creatures which are of equal size but nothing any bigger than Thanatos. Being able to turn fully and fly in either direction, allowing you to retrace your flight path, was a neat trick as well. Although if when turning Eros was on your back she would often simply fall off, then you would have to retrieve her quickly before whatever was on the ground got to her. This is one I kept coming back to for more.