The year is 2057 and the jails are greatly overpopulated. The government, seeing how this is starting to become a huge problem, forms C.O.R.T., a special committee whose task it is to eliminate the surplus of prisoners. Instead of doing it the old fashioned way, the committee organizes a deathmatch competition in closed domains/arenas around the world where the prisoners fight each other for survival.
There are eight different domains to play in and each domain features three rounds. Each of these rounds requires you to kill a certain number of opponents to advance to the next one. But before you begin your killing spree, you are given an option to choose from eight different runners, which don't only differ from each other in color but also in terms of speed, handling, armour and weapon strength. There is no right or wrong option since you can win with just about any of them; however, some will be harder to destroy than others. My personal preference is either the green Vektore or the blue Panther since… well, I like green and blue. Each of these runners is equipped with a default laser (the power of which is based on the runner's weapon strength), an energy barrier with which you can trap your opponents in a circle, and three empty slots in which you can store powerful weapons scattered around the domain:
Missiles – heatseekers which require you to lock on to an opponent. Instant kill.
Nitro Ram – also requires you to lock on to an opponent. After firing, your runner charges into the opponent, killing it after 1-2 hits.
Ion Rod – a laser type of a weapon which automatically locks on to a nearby opponent after firing, gradually lowering its health.
Disruptor – a large disc which stuns your opponents for 8 seconds if hit. During that time, your opponents are unable to shoot or move.
Shockwave – by far the most powerful weapon in the game. When charged, your runner emits a powerful shockwave blast. Kills everything instantly in the radius of about 3 meters.
Nanoshield – a shield which protects your runner from taking any damage for 8 seconds, even if your opponent uses Shockwave.
In addition, there are secret rooms with goodies in every domain, ranging from Shockwave weapons to an extra life credit. These rooms can only be unlocked with keys that are obtainable in that respective domain. Combine everything of the above and you've got yourself a nice recipe for a very addictive destruction mayhem.
Death Drome does, however, have its flaws. For starters, the gameplay gets repetitive after a while, and since the AI doesn't provide a serious challenge even for a beginner you can get bored after two or three domains. It's different when you play against your friends in a multiplayer match, but getting 8 of them together for a 1996 game with no sound is wishful thinking. Oh yeah, the sound doesn't work even though there are .wav files present in the game's dir folder. In addition, if you don't disable the »Use Game Sounds« from the Sound tab in the DeathDrome window (right after you run ddrome.exe), you will be greeted with an error message every time you kill an opponent. And when you're in the middle of an action, this is something you really don't wanna see.
All in all, I consider Death Drome as one of those classic old games which are just perfect for when you have nothing better to do. If you're looking for a laid-back game full of shooting and explosions, give Death Drome a try. You won't be disappointed.
Death Drome was made for Windows, so trying to play it with DOSBox will get you nowhere. Unzip the folder, run setup.exe and overwrite the ddrome.exe, found in gamedir\run folder, with the no-cd version, found in crack.zip. If you have an AMD processor, overwrite the ddrome.exe with the no-cd version found in Non-intel fix.zip. Run the game by double-clicking on ddrome.exe and have fun!