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DeathDrome Preview

Enter an arena where jet-cycles and missiles are law in Viacom's newest release


DeathDrome will instantly appeal to anybody who - other sympathies aside - thought that Tron was just a little too sissy. In DeathDrome, you're a prisoner of a futuristic penal colony, and your only hope of escape is to man your (inexplicably) expensive and high-tech combat-cycle, roar out into the every-man-for-himself arena of the "deathdrome" of somebody else's choice, and kill kill kill until you have fulfilled your carnage quota.

DeathDrome is a third-person vehicular combat game designed for single- or multi-player action. After a vehicle selection process similar to Spectre's (varying vehicle capabilities for speed, armament, toughness, and handling), it's your job to scream out into interconnected arenas of ramps, doors, mines, and assorted combatants, and emerge as the lone survivor. Each contest begins in a follow-cam combat between six cycles of various capabilities which move away from each other at the center of a combat arena. Control is simplicity itself; forward, left, right, reverse, and jump. The arena in question will branch off into various different directions, and as the combat progresses, you will be required to locate various keys and items to access other chambers. After a predetermined number of kills, "prisoners" of a given arena may escape into larger, trickier, and (surprise) deadlier levels.

Anybody who is (or was) heavily into Tron will appreciate the "barrier" capability, wherein the player's fast-moving combat cycle can - usually without warning - zoom out to extra-third-person perspective to lay a static, crackling, deadly wall of "barrier" not unlike that employed by Tron's Light Cycles. As the barrier recedes second by second and section by section, the careful or vicious player can swoop around in a tight arc and bring the more obvious and kinetic weapons, such as lasers or missiles, to bear on his target. (The hordes of Star Trek fans who've seen The Tholian Web already know how to use this weapon, whether they've seen DeathDrome or not.) The game's Look-Left and Look-Right commands take some getting used to and require impressive dexterity, but make all the difference in a seriously cut-throat situation. Although DeathDrome doesn't include the complete usefulness of the "mouse look" function in Quake, the cycle action here is solid and intuitive (there's even a one-key Taunt command!). Any inconvenience resulting from the limited forward-view (for those unwilling to master the right/left Look commands) should be well offset by the sheer speed, kinetics, and ramp-jumping adrenaline available.

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