1986 Incentive Software
Platform: Dragon 32
In our very first Dragon 32 entry into the archives, we take a look at what seems to be a game based on the famous Doctor Who series, at least in places when you read the story below.
Previewed in Dragon User magazine in June 1986 (with a brief mention in May’s editorial), the game had a story as follows (listed in Dragon User, June 1986, page 6):
FAR, FAR into the future, the Sol Federation constructed the TIME GRIDS – zones of neutral matter used by Hyper-spaceships for faster-than-light travel. Because of the heavy traffic on the grids, it was then decided to extend them.
However, in doing so they uncovered a sleeping Time Demon. They carefully erected the grids around him but were unable to stop his regeneration process. It was then that they called on you, Time Lord, a genetically engineered Supernaut capable of travelling in the grids without the aid of a spaceship.
Your task if to find the four pieces of the Demon’s Talisman, which is scattered in the grids, and use it to destroy him. Unfortunately, the creatures evil presence has contaminated the grids.
Overall, the game was expected to have around 84 rooms divided into three maze areas, 8 different types of enemies, laser turrets, reactors and much much more. The little screenshot shown in the magazine showed what looked to be a fun isometric style title, and no doubt would have excited Dragon 32 users at the time.
Oddly though (thanks to Simon Hardy for highlighting), a few issues earlier – they had the following which gave a quite different description, although still collecting parts of a talisman:
“Described by Incentive’s Ian Andrew as, ‘a multi-screened 3-D arcade adventure.’ the plot involves destroying the evil arch villain Naco. During the game. You must explore Naco’s castle, seeking out and battling with various guardians, to locate parts of a magic talisman which will gain you access to the Inner Temple where Naco lies sleeping…and then on to the final confrontation. This is the first Dragon game written by the long-time Incentive stalwarts Peter James and Roger Trask, but with the promise of ‘Marble Madness type 3-D’ the omens look good.”
The good thing is that we learn that the title was being created by Incentive internally and specifically by Peter James and Roger Trask.
According to the June edition of the magazine, the game should have been available from the middle of June, and the game was to be previewed in the next issue with any luck. However, it seemed that the tide was turning rapidly for the Dragon 32 at this point.
The issues that followed of Dragon User magazine showed the decline of the platform commercially, as games began to dry up as users moved onto other better supported platforms. Publishers were also starting to do the same, and it seems that Incentive Software were yet another.
Unfortunately, nothing more was to be mentioned about the game – and it would disappear without a trace. Incentive would go on to produce the Freescape engine, producing a number of impressive solid-filled 3D titles.
Contributor Simon Hardy makes a good point that the screenshot shown doesn’t seem to be a Dragon based screenshot due to the shades within it. Could it be a C64 mock up or similar that was created?
We got in touch with Ian Andrew in October 2023 to ask more about the game, and after rummaging through his Incentive history box of things, he couldn’t find anything regarding the game at all. Ian also himself had no recollection about the title at all.
It may now be down to Peter James and Roger Trask to learn more and see if something could be saved. If anyone knows anything more about this title – please do get in touch. It would be fantastic to save a piece of Dragon 32 history after so long.
With thanks to Chris Poacher for the heads up about the title and Simon Hardy for input on the screenshot and further details about the game.