HOME

Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
Articles
Funkmaster V Challenges
Cheat to Win
The List of Lists






SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Unranked

Genre: Dungeon Crawler/ Adventure

Awards: None
My Wife Wanted to Decorate The Room in Evil, Red Triceratops... Whaddyagonnado? Pros: Mixes Arcade and Adventure Vibes Into One Game
Cons: Dragon Only Shoots In Two Directions
BIG MONEY! BIG PRIZES! I LOVE IT!!!
Overview: There's a game that I can't stop playing this week, and its name is Dragon's Descent. This title is second in Revontuli's Atari 7800 Dragon Trilogy. Instead of horsing around with falling crystal gems and puzzle game musical jams like we do in Dragon's Cache,
those who pick up the sticks here are charged with searching for and scoring massive bank in a unique but simple dungeon crawler. It's hard to put a finger on why Dragon's Descent is so addictive, but I think the game's mad scientist, Revontuil, dialed in the perfect amount of arcade simplicity, added a squirt of RPG adventure and combined it in an easy to swallow pill.

Graphics: At the risk of sounding like a custodial supervisor, I like how clean everything looks in this game. The sprites are large, and the backgrounds are very colorful and not tacky (for once). The programmer did an excellent job with adding slight variations to the decor in some the maze's rooms. There appears to be statues and frescos of monsters and dragons carved or painted into occasional stone partitions throughout the levels. The enemies look unique and behave differently from one another. There appears to be what looks like a spinning loaf of bread that seems to be one of the worst hooligans that you can run across early on. The dragon must be allergic to gluten. It's good to be able to differentiate the bad guys easily, because some are extremely difficult to deal with. Each new level presents a different color scheme, and this keeps the gameplay feeling fresh and allows the player to feel some sort of progression.

Sound: Even though it's disguised as an adventure game, this is really a shooter deep down inside. The dragon's bursts of fire and it's explosions have appropriate sound effects. The crazy-ass, spastic background music adds to the experience. At a higher volume the music would grate the nerves, but its such a low level that it's easily dismissible and is preferable to silence.

Gameplay: I'm not sure if it was dumb luck or expertise, but Revontuli did an excellent job of combining an arcade feel with a sense of adventure in Dragon's Descent. This game is fast, simple, but there always seems to be a new trick around the corner (like your mom and where she worked). You control a dragon that shoots left or right, but not up and down nor diagonally. This is an odd choice for what appears to be a multi directional shooter type game, but the nuance adds the title's unique flavor. You explore each level's maze, typically trying to find both a key and its lock which will lead you to the next level. Occasionally at the end of a level will be a formidable opponent. In at least one room on each level, you will run across a power up which will give you a choice between snatching a large gem for massive points, increasing your maximum health and recovering all lost hit points, or giving your weapon, the fire burst, an upgrade. The type of game you are playing will probably determine how you will want to power up your Dragon. Bad guys appear as mists before they materialize, so it's possible to run out of the room before you have to fight them. In this game, you can play cagey or try to destroy all of the enemies depending on what you are trying to achieve- I like when games cater to different play styles like Dragon's Descent does. You can easily keep track of your dragon's AND enemies hit points. HOW? It's color-coded! I wrote a poem to help you remember the colors and how they relate to your imminent demise!!!



Yon Dragon's D Hit Point Poem
(For Lutes and 12 string Basses)

Red! I'm almost Dead (1 Hit Point)

Yellow, I'm a very sick fellow (2 HP)

Green: Watch out momma, I'm super mean (3-4 HP)

Light Blue: Ooooh! Watcha gonna do? (5 HP)

Dark Blue: Didn't you hear me trick, I said what you gonna do? (6 HP)



I didn't get further than that, I was running out of ryhmes and I'm no Walt Whitman, so that's the best you're going to get today from a man of Funk before I start using the swear words to force ryhmes. OH NO! Lights going out? Are you stuck in complete darkness? CANT SEE? Smoke Dragons killing you like a fool? That's the programmer's way of imposing a soft time limit on your azz to limit points camping. Get out and get out now!!!

Originality: DD doesn't reinvent the wheel, but there is something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that makes it special. It's more exciting than Dark Chambers, it's less confusing than the VCS's Adventure, it can be beaten a whole lot quicker than the original Legend of Zelda because its devoid of all that damned wandering around and socializing with simple minded NPCs, and you'll endure 100% less sing-songy weirdness from Grandpa Munster in Midnight mutants. And yet, it has a pick up and play approachability that feels akin to Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga and that ilk. This could have been a successful arcade machine that would have devoured quarters back in the day. This game has a high score screen and it feels appropriate... unlike some games like Fatal Run that doesn't need a high score screen but has one anyway.

Value: With the number of variations that are provided on a very easily to understand menu screen, you can horse around with this game for hours and never really do the same thing twice. You can: play until you die for massive points (Infinite Mazes)/ play the beatable game (Default- where you can kill the last boss and be crowned "QUEEN PRETTY" at the end of level seven), play (Random Mazes) to spice up the regular default mode, or play any of these modes on "Hard". By the way, this version of DD is a 7800 port of a 2600 homebrew title of the same name. In THAT title, touching the walls with your dragon will cause instant death. I hate that. I'm clumsy in real life and also with a controller... so I wouldn't get too far in the ole VCS version. My dad used to scream at us anytime we touched the wall in my house, because he's neurotic af and must have thought off-white paint was $7000 a bucket, so I may have too much PTSD to play "Don't touch the wall- Hard Mode", but it's there for YOU, if you have parents with normal temperaments and no PTSD. Turning off "wall death" (aka Hard Mode) was not an option before, and a few gamers complained about it with the 2600 version. Like a smart business man, Revontuli included an option to turn that off here. You can also experiment by putting in different codes into the maze generator to see which kind of maze layouts you can discover. With a game that is pick up and play approachable, it's nice to have variations to horse around with that expands the game's lifespan nicely.

Overall: The Prosystem does not have a bevy of adventure games, and it only has one other dungeon crawler... So this is a valuable addition to the library, and a solid one at that. I just recently got the Ultimate Atari Dual Fight Stick w/ Trac Ball (from Micro Center), and downloaded a bunch of roms from every thinkable Atari medium and beyond. I keep playing Tempest, Popeye, and the robot football game Cyberball on the arcade like a mofo. I've enjoyed Dreadnaught Factor on the 5200, and Rampart on the Lynx. From the Prosystem, I've been playing Sick Pickles, T:me Salvo, and this game: Dragon's Descent. Guess what? I'm playing this Dragon's Descent the more than the others COMBINED. It's fast, it's clean, and it's addictive. Sounds a lot like your mom before she met Iceberg Slim. I can't wait for the cartridge of DD to be released, and I can't wait for you to play it.





Additional Info:
I would like to take this time to thank Trebor's Stuff Youtube Channel and Atari Age for the use of their screenshots in this review. When the game is released, it will be available in the store at www.AtariAge.com