Reviewed by The Sacred Cow
March 7th 2003
Introduction:You are Orta, a young girl, who is rescued from a prison tower by a mysterious and powerful dragon. Immediately you take flight and realize that you are riding the most powerful creature on the planet, unfortunately it seems that the entire planet is out to get you. You have no choice but to fight back and try to figure out your own past and what your connection to the dragon is.
The Game:The gameplay is great with a very nice story, perfect responsive control and three difficulty levels. It is a rail shooter that focuses on destroying everything you see as quickly and as accurately as possible. You have three modes of fire; single blast, lock on, and special, choosing when to use these are crucial. The game actually requires some strategy to get to the end of the level in one piece. The strategy comes in the form of knowing what dragon form to choose at which situation. You are capable of changing your dragon into three forms with the push of a button. Heavy Wing-Basically your big bruiser, he can dish out lots of damage and take it in return. His downfall is that he is very hard to dodge things with, he has fewer lock-ons and his super does not lock onto a target. Base Wing-The “average” form of the three. It has the most number of lock ons, and its super damages all enemies on screen. Glide Wing-The little guy. Very maneuverable, his special recovers your life, and his targeting reticule covers about a fourth of the screen so anything that enters it, he automatically locks onto.
Another innovative idea for the shooter is the fact that you gain levels on your three forms as you kill certain enemies. When leveled up you do more damage, your dragon morphs, and you gain a longer life bar. The only bad thing about the game is that the main quest is a tad short, but with the amount of unlockables, the scoring system, and the ease of play, it will have you returning over and over again.
Graphics & Sound: To date, the best on the system or any console for that matter. The sheer amount of things on the screen sometimes makes you wonder how they were able to pull this beauty off. The bump mapping and textures on the creatures are beautiful at times, well that is, until you blow the hell out of the creature. The sound effects are great, especially in Dolby. The roar of the dragons, the screaming missiles, and that huge Dune-like worm crashing through the water all add to an ambiance that is unmatched.
Mojo:Wow, all I can say is that after playing this game you will really feel immersed in Orta’s world, such beautiful scenery. The game has just enough RPG aspects to make it stand out from the rest, and who doesn’t love riding on the back of a huge all-powerful dragon?
Lowdown:If you were fortunate enough to play the originals and enjoyed them then get this game. If you are not a big fan of rail shooters or intense, edge of your seat action, then I would still suggest at least giving it a rent. For all others, this is a solid buy and you will not be disappointed. The only problem resides in the main quest’s shortness.
If you like Panzer Dragoon Orta also try: Panzer Dragoon 1-3 (sega saturn) & Star Fox (n64)
Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 10, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8. Final: 8