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Superlative graphics and thought provoking gameplay make it a must. Utterly fantastic!
Dan Dare was good, Dan Dare II wasn’t bad but Dan Dare III, wow! The last time I saw that much colour on screen at one time was on Cybernoid. Pretty impressive don’t you think? Yup, but it can get a little confusing when you’re blasting away lots of aliens and all you can see is COLOUR! Some of the graphics seem to have suffered though, Dan Dare must have had a face drop instead of a face lift! He’s swopped his detailed features for a pixel for an eye and a blob for a nose. All the other characters in the game are quite detailed though, especially the Mekon. The game is deceptively simple in plot, but very playable. The warping sequence between levels is also pretty impressive, but hard on the eyes. Flying through a trail of squares on a starry background - phew! Dan Dare III is one of the best games this issue, have a look for yourself.
So, what's the verdict? Well, it's funny, but our reaction is more or less the same as it was to Tintin On The Moon last month. I mean both feature classic comic characters, both were done by Probe, both have running-about-collecting-things gameplay, both have into-the-screen scrolling flight bits between levels, and both are corkendously colourful! Blimey! Kissing cousins, or what? But the similarities don't end there! They're both just too small, and don't take too much trying to complete. It's a real shame because the size stops it really being Megagame material.
Still, it's pretty darn spanky! It might well be the prettiest, most colourful game ever seen on the Spectrum (if not it's pretty damn close) and although that play area may be a bit tiny it's still an excellent game.
The gameplay itself, though, is pretty basic, like its immediate predecessor: shoot baddies, collect fuel and weapons, and defeat the Mekon to finish the level. Dan Dare III is full of nice touches, and is worth a look just for the graphics - it offers plenty of short-term fun but doesn't have the depth to keep you playing for weeks.
The game is colourful, although unlike the original, it also contains playability is luckily undiminished, with the character sprites nicely drawn and the puzzles creating a great challenge. Sound is also good with a pleasant title tune and atmospheric effects.