The Game: You’re another treasure-hunting glory seeker who’s about to meet more than his match. If you can survive crossing the drawbridge into the castle – a task made incredibly difficult by the glowing fireballs of dragon breath being hurled toward you – you’ve got an even more hazardous obstacle ahead: the dragon himself is guarding a huge stash of treasure. Even if he can’t stop you from pocketing every shiny thing in the castle, chances are you won’t make it out alive. (Imagic, 1984)
Memories: A nicely dolled-up version of a game that was already a lot of fun on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, Dragonfire is one of Imagic‘s few Colecovision entries. The game is still fun, but now it looks simply incredible too.
This isn’t to knock any of the earlier versions – their graphics were more than adequate for whatever system the game graced with its presence, and the control was always slick and responsive. The only real improvement in a Colecovision port of Dragonfire would be audiovisual, and the programmers made full use of the system’s resources in that area. The castle is lined with brickwork. The bridge across the moat has detail. The dragon is even more imposing. It still plays like Dragonfire – the actual design of the game doesn’t change for its new platform – but just a really, really pretty version of Dragonfire.
It’s a pity that Imagic wasn’t cranking out Colecovision games from day one; Coleco‘s console was a relatively late discovery for the more adventurous of the two major third-party cartridge makers (the other top dog, Activision, seemed averse to expanding beyond machines that didn’t have the word “Atari” stamped on them). Imagic was responsible for some of the best games on the Intellivision platform, and if the company had “discovered” the Colecovision earlier, the result could’ve been some “killer app” titles for that system too.