GAME REVIEWS

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dragon Egg

~ DRAGON EGG! ~
NCS/Masaya
HuCard
1991

I think I'm getting soft in my old age. I really enjoy this silly little game. I wasn't crazy about it at first, as it seemed like a fairly uninspired run-and-jump-and-bop sort of thing featuring a bumbling, dragon-egg-toting protagonist and so-so gameplay, but its graphics encouraged me to maintain hope. Vibrant colors and a few well-implemented effects enhance the attractive locales. Among my favorite of DE's graphical aspects are the clouds that calmly drift by in its pretty blue skies and the undulating, scenery-reflecting river of a log-riding strip.

Thank goodness the visuals are so appealing; otherwise, I might not have stuck with the game long enough to hatch out and hop atop the clumsy heroine's dragon ally and realize that the gameplay actually isn't so bad. While in control of a full-powered beast, you can shoot plenty of large, enemy-seeking fire bullets and reach previously out-of-the-way platforms and icons. If you're a decent player, you'll have the big lizard fully strengthened and ready to cause some major damage very early on, meaning you won't have to spend much time goofing around with lesser phases--unless, of course, you die at some point.

But you won't die, not once you're powered up--unless you fucking suck. And that brings us to the main issue most folks will have with the game: it's a complete cakewalk while you're riding the redoubtable dragon. Bosses (even the last guy) go down in no time at all, and you seldom have to put forth any real effort while playing through the stages themselves. Consider the aforementioned log-riding scene: by simply standing in one spot and firing away, you can make it to the end of the level without taking a single hit. Of course, you can avoid the dragon power-ups if you want some additional challenge, but then the game will play like an uninspired title again, and, well, it'll still be really easy (aside from the final battle).

Another aspect of DE that some won't like is the fact that the three stages that make up the second half of the adventure are very, very short. The brevity of Stage 4's log ride is understandable, as the stretch basically constitutes a mere "gimmick strip" anyway, but there's no reason that the desert and castle boards shouldn't have featured more sub-sections to fight through, especially considering that the first three levels all offer multiple areas to explore. It makes you wonder if, at some point, the designers just decided to speed things up and get the project out the door.


Pleasant visuals inspired me to trudge onwards when the gameplay seemed unspectacular.


The third area is large and mazelike, but subsequent scenes--including the short desert strip--are very straightforward.


Take a good look at the bosses now, as most of them will last for only a few seconds onscreen before your mighty dragon destroys them.


As if you weren't already practically invincible, you can purchase a protective barrier to drop the level of challenge to a degree below laughable.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.