Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
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The List of Lists


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

Silverback Reviews

7800 Rank: Unranked

Genre: Horizontal SHMUP

Awards: None
The Final Flight of the Dragon of Storms and the Dragon of Embers is Nigh... Pros: Interesting Power Up System Requires Expert Skills
Cons: Interesting Power Up System Requires Expert Skills ;)
And Its So Much Better than the Finale of Game of Thrones
Overview: In my opinion, Dragon's Havoc is the most enjoyable original release of the PRGE 2022 nine from AtariAge. When it comes to games like Popeye, Keystone Koppers, Pac-Man Collectin 40th
and Galaxian you'll be able to decide whether their worth your time based on how much you like other versions of those games. But Dragon's Havoc is one of the original titles, and the final release in the "Dragons" trilogy. The first game was a familiar and fun puzzler, the second game was a middling adventure title, and this one is an terrific side scrolling shooter, or SHMUP as the kiddies call them. It is a game that I think you'll want to spend your money on, especially if your looking for an all new experience on the Prosystem.

Graphics: DH does some things graphically that the 7800 isn't particularly known for, and it does it damn well to boot. It features smooth, horizontal, paralax scrolling backgrounds, and tiled backgrounds that remind me of the original Metroid on the NES for others. DH follows a level structure much like Scrapyard Dog. First levels of a world uses an outdoor background that features an ominous city-like structure in the background that gets closer as you progress. The second level is a tiled interior that ranges from initially unimpressive tiles that feel like random squiggles joined by dragon statues, but eventually give way to really nice crystalline tiles in 4-2 that I haven't ever seen on the console before. The last stage is a single screen boss battle, the least impressive of the three, but the boss sprites take up a lot of room and have character all their own. One particularly impressive boss features a darkening room that honestly looked really cool. A lot of the color choices for the backgrounds are questionable however, especially early in the game. More than a few times you'll see obnoxious and gross color patterns that really clash compared to the brilliant levels that come later in the game.

Sound: The audio is the least memorable part of DH. The intro tune is composed well and sounds pretty good. The level music does much of the same, keeping an upbeat tempo that manages to feel very different from what I've heard from the 7800 before. The sound effects give excellent feedback as to whether your hitting your opponents, gaining your much needed shield or missing a shot to power down your effectiveness. But when I look back on the game, it's graphics and gameplay really stuck with me. The music and sound did not.

Gameplay: This is where the game will either pull you in or loses you completely. There are no powerups for your weapon like in most other SHMUPS. Holding down the fire button and spraying bullets across the screen is a sure way to die early and have a terrible time. You're rewarded for your ability to hit multiple targets continously. With each successful shot your movement speed and fire rate increases. But each missed shot decreases both abilities . This leads to gameplay where you might end up avoiding enemies when you aren't sure you have the accuracy to hit them, or getting in close and putting yourself in dangerous situations to make sure you keep your power up. When your meter is full from enough successful hits in a row, you get a shield that will save you from losing a life if you get hit. However you still lose your entire power bar and shield when you finally do get hit. The key here is to reposition yourself somewhere safe immediately after losing the shield, otherwise you'll lose multiple lives in a span of 10 seconds or so. And it's easy to get flustered and do just that, trust me. So if testing your ability to be accurate and playing defense in a SHMUP sounds like a fair challenge or a good time, then this is your game. If that's something you don't think you'll enjoy, then you'll probably spend most of the game dealing with the painfully slow movement and bullet speed. I personally love the power up system and the feel of the game, but I've heard other people say they don't care for it.

Originality: One thing you can say about Dragon's Havoc, its a pretty original idea. The power up system is something that I haven't encountered too often. Through the game you'll face off with typical flying fantasy creatures, but even these have their charms. The entire Dragon's Trilogy of games feels like it's own contained world with it's own characters. Both Funkmaster V and I love the idea behind this series. Bravo, Revontuli on great execution.

Value: With 8 levels, each featuring 3 stages of their own, there's a lot of game here to get through. You'll fly through the first 2 or 3 levels no problem, start to sweat during the next few levels, and then meet a real challenge with the last couple. Some players may find the last few boards too challenging to be worth playing through. It's that old school kind of hard that will frustrate you, make you want to throw your controller through the TV screen, and then make you feel like a bad mother after you successfully make your way through the current melee. If you think this game could be a fun challenge, then I think you'll get your money's worth. Even if you outright suck, you can keep continuing this game as often you wish- Revontuli mercifully provided us with unlimited continues.

Overall: I have a feeling that Dragon's Havoc may be one of the most decisive games of the recent batch of 7800 homebrews from AtariAge. You'll either love it or hate it. It comes down to whether or not you want to learn to play by it's rules and forget what you know about old school SHMUPS. I personally loved the expirence of playing through Dragon's Havoc, and am currently trying to do a 1 credit run of the entire game. But others aren't going to like what the developer did here. Retaining your speed and shield by avoiding enemies, and getting in close for guaranteed hits sort of breaks all the rules of these types of games. If you have an open mind and can look past some of the game's graphical flaws (especially for the earlier levels), I think you'll find a game that's captivating, challenging, and enjoyable. By the way, the end of the DH is a great way to conclude an interesting trilogy. Worth seeing!

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. You can purchase this game at www.AtariAge.com

This review was graciously provided by Silverback.