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Draconian Measures

This is a space chase game that has similarities to both Phoenix and Asteroids as well as showing a certain amount of influence from Startrek. The playing area consists of a series of interconnecting sectors, each containing several triangular enemy bases. The object is to destroy these bases and thereby free astronauts held captive inside. The astronauts have then to be transported from one sector to the next, each stage getting progressively more difficult.

After choosing the background from a selection of black, white or green, in the usual Tom Mix fashion, the display reveals the main viewing screen and a long range sector scanner on the right. The latter shows your position as well as that of the enemy bases. Your vessel remains in the centre of the playing area, but can be pointed in any one of eight different directions by means of the joystick, while a background of stars and asteroids pass by, giving the illusion of movement.

The fire button releases a stream of shots in the direction of the ship's movement which will destroy almost anything in the way. Unfortunately, if you fly into the resulting explosion, you too end up as a space statistic.

Should you manage to collect all the astronauts, the sector scanner flashes at the top to show that the exit gate is open, and you can fly through this into the next sector. Points are awarded according to the number of astronauts safely transported through the exit gate. To liven up the game, enemy vessels called Dragons occasionally pursue you. Luckily, these can be shot down, which unfortunately is not the case with the Draconian, an unpleasant craft which appears if you take too long to destroy all the enemy bases.

There is on-screen scoring, one or two players can take part, and the game is nicely graded, getting more difficult as you progress. About the only thing I didn't like was the slow method of getting your name into the high-score table by using the joystick rather than the keyboard - a pointless hangover from the arcade version.