The Lord of Dragonspire (C64)

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Not a game for everyone due to it high difficult curve in the early stages. But will reward with a lot of persistence and is a good addition to the RPG/Action Adventure genre.

User Review
2.5 (6 votes)

Icon 64 is one of the most prolific development teams when it comes to current day gaming for the Commodore 64 and what I enjoy the most is their modern day reinterpreations of old school C64 games. So when it came to thinking about what type of game to provide as a perk for the Zzap!64 Annual 2020 Kickstarter campaign, the team decided to pay homage to the classic Mastertronic classic Masters of Magic, with the result being The Lord of Dragonspire.

Providing an action adventure style gameplay with light RPG elements, the back story to The Lord of Dragonspire is that a Demon Lord has taken over Dragonspire introducing evil creatures back into its lands and you play the role of a brave warrior on a mission to defeat the Demon before he spreads his influence to your own homeland.

Upon loading up the game those who have played Masters of Magic will instantly be familiar with the screen layout within The Lords of Dragonspire, albeit rearranged in a different configuration. The bottom left section is the actual play area and to its right is the section that provides the narrative of what is taking place, along with your magic, health and level status. The middle section is where you issue commands to your warrior while the top section shows items and characters in your current location or point of view. The overall presentation of the game is quite good and will attract many to the game.

To get our warrior moving, we simply select the RUN command and then use the joystick to control him to where we want him to go. It is at this point that you are instantly hit with the jerkiness of the scrolling within the game world section of the screen (check out the link to the video below). It is quite distracting initially with some even having reported that they feel a little nauseous by looking at the stuttering scrolling taking place. My own experience is that after playing the game for a bit of time, I stopped noticing the scrolling and I sense that most others who put in the time with the game will also put this technical issue aside (I suppose the C64 is not meant to do scrolling, vertical splits, sprites and char all at the same time).

Going back to the game play on hand, The Lords of Dragonspire provides quite an expansive world for you to explore and a myriad of enemies to combat along the way. Moving up to an enemy and selecting the ATTACK command, we enter into combat mode. Each time we want to try and inflict damage on an evil creature, we need to continously issue ATTACK commands. At first, this control mechanism feels clunky but becomes quite natural as you get used to it and does work quite well in the long run.

From the outset you will find that combat is quite challenging and you will quickly end up dying within a matter of minutes as it feels like the balance between your warrior’s and the enemy creatures health points is clearly not in your favour. It’s not until you realise that the appropriate strategy to take initially is to outrun the enemies, locating items along the way so that you can level up your skills and saving your progress at regular intervals, that you start to delve deeper into the game world with success.

As you upgrade your weapons and your shields, the game really does start to hit its stride and becomes highly engaging experience as you do battle against stone giants, gnomes, elf warriors, bats, snakes, hounds and many more nasty creatures while searching for treasure chests that contain food or keys that help you progress further into the land of Dragonspire.

The Lord of Dragonspire does not contain any sound effects but does feature a luscious music soundtrack by Jason Page that, again, borrows a bit of influence from Masters of Magic.

The Lord of Dragonspire has received a general release via Psytronik Software and is a game worth considering purchasing if you are a fan of the genre. Yes, the scrolling issue and the high difficulty setting does threaten to turn many away from the game who don’t have the time. But if you do persist and take on the strategy avoiding combat where possible (shouldn’t this be the case in real life as well) then your time spent should be well rewarded.

Game Credits
Code – Stuart Collier
Art and Game Design – Trevor Storey
Music – Jason Page

Game Links
Psytronik Software

Video Play Link

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