Review by Al Giovetti
Price: $50
Genre: action arcade driving game
Release: Christmas, 1996, still out as of March, 1999 on Heat net for multiplayer
Developer: Jim Bosler and Brian Soderberg of Zipper Interactive
Art: David Kern
Producer: Peter Geokaris
Publisher: Viacom Newmedia
Phone: 800-469-2539
Requirements: Pentium, 75 MHz, Windows 95, 16 MB RAM, 50 MB hard disk space, Direct Sound card

Company line: In the over-populated, crime-ridden future, convicted criminals are at the mercy of the Committee of Recreational Termination (CORT). The criminals are given a choice: accept death or gain fame & freedom by winning a death game. In DeathDrome, the most popular of the death games, you are confined to an arena with seven other "runners" in a quest to attain a kill-goal set for you. Quick reflexes, cutthroat strategy, and the weapons you pick up are your only resources in this lightning-fast race to save your life!

History: Zipper's first title is DeathDrome, published by Viacom New Media. It was released for Christmas 1996 and was the first Intel MMX compatible game. SegaSoft features this game on its HEAT online game network and has shipped over 250,000 units of the title as of 1999 (update).

Plot: In 2057, crime is out of control (something like 1997 Ed.). Criminals are allowed to fight it out using armed vehicles in the DeathDrome to the joy of the population and the death of the criminals, something like the plot of Steven King's Running Man.

Game play: The game is played with a timer which is one of the most devisive ways to get more playabilty in a game. If you do not kill your quota before the time runs out you die. If you are killed by another vehicle in the drome you burn up. Zipper has a cutting edge game engine that allows unrestricted 3-D movement in complex worlds at fast frame rates both in software only mode and with the latest graphics cards. The engine and supporting technology provide the capability for awesome gameplay, highly realistic simulation, great multi-player features and stunning effects.

Interface: The perspective is first person with the bottom one fifth of the screen taken up by a dashboard with a gun in the middle of it. The gun changes its shape and color when you use a new weapon. At the top of the screen are digital readouts showing your progress.

Weapons and powerups: There are two primary weapons: a weak blaster that reduces opponents energy and the energy barrier which acts as a shield and snare. Secondary weapons are found in the drome domains. Each runner vehicle can have three secondary weapons used instead of the laser cannon blaster. The secondary weapons include a bomb, missile, short term invincibility, keys to locked areas, extra lives, and others that drain energy, and inactivate opponents controls.

You drive: The basic runner is a super motorbike filled with weapons and performance options. You need to pick the bike that best fits the way you fight. Some bikes, called runners, handle better. Other runners have more speed and so on in typical game fashion each runner has advantages and disadvantages.

Fusion towers, found within the drome maze, deliver a fatal blast to other nearby runners when run into or fired upon.

Tracks: There are 8 three dimensional deathdrome einvironments.

Artificial intelligence: in the single player mode has a few glitches making the game too easy to play.

Graphics: The graphics were nothing spectacular save the blaze of glory that burns you alive when your runner is destroyed. The resolution is in either low resolution 320x200 or high resolution 640x400 pixels. The graphics will not impress anyone at this level.


Voice actors: A female announcer gives you an interesting blow by blow of the game.

Music score: Wonderful driving beat makes music more enjoyable. The high energy music can also be played on a CD player.

Sound effects: Average explosions and gunfire.

Utilities: There was no automapping overlay.


Multi-player: Two players on the same screen and up to eight players on an IPX/TCPIP network. Update: The game is still available on Heat net as a multiplayer shooter.

Cheats, Hints, and Walkthroughs: Death Drome Cheats

Future plans:

Reviewers: Matthias calls the music rave music and did not really like the game based on the low score.

Hints: When playing in single player mode, stay in the center room where the game starts and just pick off computer opponents as they emerge. When the timer runs out head back to the central room, since the killing "scrubber" starts at the edges of the drome and moves inward toward the central podium. This will give you more time to meet your quota and survive.

Tom Hurley, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 9, February, 1997, pg. 73, 60%
Jason Bates, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 130, 68%.
Matthias Jones, Game Spot Review,
Game Spot Review, 74%
Next Generation, May, 1997, pg. 154 - 158, 80%.

Please send us your comments and suggestions.


  1. From: John & Kim Hemmingway Dear sir I read your review with much interest and have deathdrome on windows 95 game sampler and am trying to buy a full version without much success. Is there any way which you could help me. Any information or help would be greatly appreciated kind regards john.
  2. From: Brian S. Hi Al

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