Mention the Panzer Dragoon
series to fans of the Sega Saturn, and you’ll see them frothing at the mouth. The series is definitely one of the most popular games ever released by Sega – Panzer Dragoon Saga, the RPG of the series, sells on eBay for over $100 to this day. So what is the big deal and does this game live up to the expectations of an almost five year wait? The answer is yes.
The gist of the story is this: you are Orta, a ‘mysterious girl’ who is rescued by a dragon. Orta then rides the dragon and starts fighting as mankind's only hope. Using the ability of the dragon, you’ll fight through a total of ten episodes unlocking various things along the way, including the original Panzer Dragoon game from the Saturn.
When you first start up the game, you are presented a short menu of options: new game (duh), Pandora’s Box (where all the unlockable stuff is, including the original Panzer Dragoon), Tutorial and the obligatory options menu.
If you have never played PDO, let me make one thing perfectly clear, play the #@$$@#ing tutorial first. The game is difficult for newbies to control because you are fighting in a 360* environment. Enemies are coming from all over the place and they all want you dead. By using the L and R triggers, you can turn your dragon 90 degrees around at a time. You will absolutely, positively need to get used to this in order to win the game. There are three tutorials: basic, glide and form change and all are very important. Even the old Saturn players would benefit from this tutorial.
Once you get the hang of the system (it’s a little complicated to figure out at first, but easy to get used to), you can then start a new game. As mentioned before, the game is broken up into 10 different episodes (read: levels) with gigantic bosses at the end of each level. This is a rail shooter, and by that I mean the environment moves you through the game field whether you like it or not. You are limited in the scope of movement of the dragon – it is not a go anywhere you like type of game.
Thankfully the action is so fast and furious; you probably won’t even notice this. Enemies come from all over and you’ll be rotating your field of vision so often that it probably won’t matter. There are gamers out there in newsgroups and forums that deride this kind of limited environment, so I put it out there as a caveat. They are definitely missing out on some incredible gaming goodness.
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