Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dragon Force (1996)

Genre: Real-time Strategy | Players: 1 | Developer: Sega

An overlooked title for the US-ignored Sega Saturn that has become a cult classic.

The game takes place on an over world map where players choose one of 8 kingdoms and attack and defend castles to take territory and conquer the other 7 kingdoms. Battles take place from a side view of the battlefield where players control a general and an army. Players choose formations, give commands and use special moves to defeat the opposing army before the timer runs out. Armies can be comprised of up to 100 soldiers on both sides. Troop types range from standard soldiers and cavalry to more mythical ones like harpies and zombies. Each type has strengths and weaknesses versus other types. For example, soldiers are great against beasts, but lose to cavalry and cavalry loses to beasts. Sort of a rock-paper-scissors with more options. Quick and simple, but fun and even addicting.

Sprites are done in a charming cartoon style and the game doesn’t chug even with full 100 man armies on both sides. Quite a feat back then. FMV’s are done in an anime style, but the old video quality doesn’t hold up as well as the sprites.

The soundtrack is quite good with various character themes, relaxing “at rest” melodies and catchy battle tunes. Each troop type has only one death sound which is kind of funny when many die in quick succession, but overall not very noticeable.

The kingdom of Fandaria has declared war on the entire continent of Legendra and the player must unite the kingdoms while searching for the titular Dragon Force.

Buyer’s Guide:
The game is a collector’s item so expect to shell out cash to own it. About $200 will get a mint copy and $50 might get a used one online. Or you can import the PS2 re-release that was only available in Japan.

5 god-fighting holy dragons out of 5

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