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Panzer Dragoon

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Manabu Kusunoki


GAME PUBLISHER:Expert Software

Copyright 1997, SEGA

Panzer Dragoon is a fun 3D shoot ‘em up game from SEGA (a PC port from the hit SEGA Saturn version), featuring 360-degree action and multiple gameplay styles. The plot: you are a hunter who one day gained the ability to ride dragons by witnessing the death of a “Sky Rider.” Your task is to ride your trusty armored dragon to fight evil dragons, evil Imperial faction, worms, and many more dangerous enemies on your way to prevent the horror of ancient times from surfacing again in this alternate world where only a handful of human tribes remain.

Similar to Dragon Strike from Westwood/SSI years ago, Panzer Dragoon is 3D dragon-dogfights at its best. Your dragon can not only breath fire, but also has a homing laser (!) which is activated by holding down the fire button and will lock on up to eight targets automatically. There are three difficulty levels: easy, normal, and hard. The easy level only lets you play the first four levels, but your dragon can die many times (after which you can restart in the last level you just completed). The normal and hard levels give you limited arcade-style “credits” for continuing a game. Depending on how well you shoot, you will gain credits at the end of each level if you pass a required percentage threshold.

The gameplay is similar to a typical “rail shooter,” i.e. you battle enemies while your dragon flies on a predetermined path. Each level ends with a “boss” creature, whose hit points show up as a bar to let you know how close it is to dying (or not). If you like arcade-style games, Panzer Dragoon is fun enough and just unique enough to keep your interested, but compared to other classic SEGA titles it does not quite match in terms of quality and addictiveness. After a while the game becomes a bit repetitive due to lack of variety in enemy types and terrain. A nice touch is the ability to zoom in and out on the action. All in all, a fun game, but not quite a Top Dog in my opinion.

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