Denaris (Rainbow Arts) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By Rainbow Arts
Amiga 500

Published in Computer & Video Games #90


"Hey-up," you're thinking. "This looks a bit familiar." And well it should do, for in a previous incarnation this was the lawsuit-lumbered R-Type-clone Katakis, and, "Hoo-whee, the stories I could tell you about that one, matey!"

Anyway, after Activision pulled the rug on Katakis, US Gold were a bit loathe to drop a game which had attracted such rave reviews, so they shipped it back to the programmers at Rainbow Arts with the instructions to alter it so that it could be re-released without reviewers like me saying, "Cor blimey, it's R-Type." Denaris is the result.

In case you missed the game first time round, here's the gen. You're put in the ejector seat of a heavily-armed space-glider, scouring the surface of the planet Denaris and using your mighty armament to rid it of the nefarious cyborg monstrosities who have recently moved in.

It's played in the familiar horizontally-scrolling shoot-'em-up format, with the usual extra weapons to bolt on and stonking great monsters to pump laser bolts into at the end of each level. Pretty standard stuff, eh? Nothing your average legal department could object to there, is there?

Hmm, well, there are still signs of the game's roots, most notable of which is the weapons pod which you can catch on the front of your ship. But still there are just as many features taken out of the original, the most notable of *those* being the lack of a beam-up facility, allowing you to hold down the fire button then release a really powerful shot. Hence, if Denaris is going to win friends among the arcade players' fraternity it's going to have to do it more on its own merits than on those of R-Type.

Will it succeed? Well, after several days of concentrated play on the Amiga version, I think I can say that it will. The gameplay is very fast, with a disconcerting number of aliens packing out the screen at all times. Denaris is one of those games in which you have to learn where the next wave of nasties is coming from, as it's very dangerous to be caught out of position. If you do die in the middle of the level, you lose your weapons, but the generous programmers have arranged for the pod and bouncing laser to appear almost straight away, which is a big help.

Some of the extra weapons, such as the aforementioned bouncing laser, obviously come from R-Type, but Denaris makes no attempt to copy the helix or terrain-following lasers, nor noes the pod behave in the same way.

It's a pity there's no pick-up providing rapid fire, as the game is a real thumb-buster, and one which should definitely be played with your joystick auto-fire switched on. One item which caused much consternation was the speed-up, which gives your space-glider a hefty kick forward as soon as you collect it - triff and brill, but the sudden loss of control is bad news if you're coming to a solid obstacle!

Oh, but who am I to gripe about shallow fopperies like these on such a good-looking game? Graphically, Denaris is very smart, sporting some slick-looking spacecraft to torch and seven detailed backgrounds to fly over. Nor is the in-game sound lacking, for your ears positively ring to a cacophony of blasting noises to keep your nerve endings raw and your trigger finger enraged! Ooh, getting a bit carried away there, but it is rather good in that department. The music isn't bad either, but I wasn't impressed by the end-of-game tune which sounded like the title theme to a BBC Schools programme.

It's probably not a good idea to compare Denaris with R-Type, because it is much more of a mindless blast, replacing R-Type's strategic position 'n fry gameplay with the real R-Type player lives for.