Dan Dare III: The Escape, the third of Virgin's Dan Dare games that marked the 40th Anniversary of the famous comic. A typical platform shoot em up with a myriad of colorful aliens, great music, however with dated graphics and high difficulty factor. Released on Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and the 8bits Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum.
Dan Dare has been shot down by the dastardly Mekon again. Dan has escaped and has found himself a spaceship to escape on. You have to fly around the Mekon's ship using a spacesuit, collecting bits and pieces to trade for fuel. There are several mutant around though trying to stop you. You need a key to get to the next level, and only a few big (really big) Green M have it. Travelling between levels is a hard part, as you will easily lose a lot of energy if you don't follow the correct flying-path. Progress is rather slow and frustrating. The game is tough from the outset, killing you off time after time in quick succession. And the things gets worst, as your weapons run out very quickly actually...
While the game starts with some loading sequence of colorful and well-drawn comic frames (also with a few well sampled pieces of speech along with a great tune), the rest (gameplay) offers mediocre graphics. Sprites are small and rather flat-looking and lack the animation needed to bring a comic strip to life actually! Although its 32-colored screen (Amiga version), the game looked outdated indeed. Sprite animation is fast though but limited only to a few frames per-sprite whilst backgrounds look rather dated, although colorful. Sound offers a few blasty effects along with a great background tune written by David Whittaker (same tune found in the introduction) which is way superior to the ST version.
In-game music sample:
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CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs