by Jane Richardson, Julian Breeze, Mike A. Richardson, Tim Hayward
Durell Software Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 57, Dec 1986   page(s) 44

Label: Durell
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

"Long, long ago, when dragons ruled the earth, and men and women were but helpless creatures.."

How many times have you read this sort of storyline at the start of an adventure game? Wouldn't it be nice, given that humans were altogether useless, to take the role of the dragon, and be able to stomp down villages, attack castles, and do all the rest of the reptillian repertoire? Durell's latest lets you do just that. And I can let you know that it is very satisfying indeed.

Featuring what must be the hundredth revolutionary scrolling routine to appear in the last 48 hours, the game has some rather splendid graphics.

Durell seems to have employed virtually every fantasy sub-plot in order to make the game as interesting as possible. Initially, you must wreak a bit of havoc amongst the local people, before moving on to find Eros, an enchantress who will guide you to more wonderful lands. Eventually, you will be taken to a book of spells, and a magic cauldron. See? it's all in there.

Obviously, the villagers don't take too kindly to having their houses burned to the ground, and their peace-loving community wrecked by a lumbering great lizard. As a result, at the first hint of a little pyrotechnics on your part, they're out on the streets armed to the teeth, slinging arrows and spears.

Occasionally, you will be confronted by A Mythical Creature. For the most part, these looked rather closely related to bumble-bees, but they were quite tenacious, and ended my games more frequently than I care to mention.

The graphics of Thanatos are really something. In the lower portion of the screen, your heart-rate and flame-capacity are indicated by a pumping heart and what looks like a glass full of fire, respectively. (Actually, I think it is supposed to be a belly of the dragon, but it's a little hard to tell.)

The graphics really come into their own when you see the dragon flying over the landscape. The wings flap with superbly convincing swooshing sound effects, and the dragon waves his head around too.

The graphics for the background, if a little sparse, are attractive, and the little characters on the ground hurl their weapons upwards in a most satisfying manner. Of course, the most fun can be gleened by scorching the little bodies, or picking them in a claw, elevating them to a great height, before releasing them, and watching their descent. I told you it was fun.

Although the game is really two dimensional, you are given an impression of depth 'into' the screen by the fact that a distant object will move across the screen slower than a nearby one. It works rather well.

It seems impossible to turn around once you have taken off in either direction, be it be air or on foot. It is possible to attain quite frightening speeds, but some realism is lost by the way in which you can slow down rather too easily.

There is one marvellous section in which you must fly through a flooded cave system. As you progress, an increasing number of rocks will fall from the roof of the tunnel, on to the dragon's back. If you are struck too many times, he will eventually disappear in a puff of smoke. There's also a really nice representation of water in the game. Should you land in a lake, or similarly wet area, your creature will sink up to it's stomach, but you can still walk around.

I enjoyed it all hugely.

Overall: 4/5

Summary: Thanatos is entirely original. The you-as-Dragon role reversal offers scope for lots of fun. Torching things and so on. Fine stuff.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 94, Jan 1990   page(s) 50

Label: Encore
Author: Durell
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/+2/A
Joystick: Various

There's one thing I can say about the game - and that is... It's original alright! It's not very often that you get to take a 2.8 litre dragon for a test drive.

Anyway, on with the game. To make Thanatos fly, press the left or right key to gain momentum and then press the up key as you announce the departure of Dragon Airways flight 747. As Thanatos leaves terra firma his little legs fold up into his body and he flaps his economical wings and soars off into the wild, blue yonder.

The game scrolls from left to right and Thanatos flys along and uses his firey breath weapon to frazzle any odd moron stupid enough to try to shoot arrows at him. He can also use his claws to scoop up the odd rock to drop on the men's heads below. He can even pick up a man and drop him to his death which is really nice.

(Oh yea? Nice for whom? - Garth).

After being attacked by rocks and outraged by fortunate arrows, Thanatos lands at a castle where, after burning the doors down, a girl will climb onto his back who will thereafter, do all of Thanatos' fetching and carrying as he works his way to rescue the princess The controls were a little difficult to master but they're okay after a little practice.

Graphics in Thanatos are good. They're nice and big - the only problem being that once Thanatos starts moving quickly the scrolling gets a little Ierky although colour clash is rare. Sound is not very good at all but the game really isn't all that bad.


Graphics: 75%
Playability: 70%
Overall: 65%

Summary: It's good, but not that good.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 94, Jan 1990   page(s) 50

Label: Encore
Author: Durell
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/+2/A
Joystick: Various
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

Thanatos was probably one of the first games on the Spectrum to have a character that was larger than one sprite big. That was a couple of years back now and so it was probably due for re-release as a budget due to the success of Dragon Spirit.

Well Thanatos certainly hasn't dulled with age and is still a very nice piece of software thank you! Durell's old dragon has awoken and taken flight with the great graphics that made it sooo popular first time around. Unfortunately, the gameplay is now a little dated as we've moved on a wee bit from the up, down, and fire scenario onto the more complex type with option menus, shops, weapon choice and so on, but I think Thanatos is still worth a look at to see how good graphics were two years ago.


Graphics: 89%
Playability: 76%
Overall: 73%

Summary: Thanatos the Dragon isn't quite the hot stuff he was.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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