Panzer Dragoon

Game Gear

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


Panzer Dragoon Mini (J) [!]-01.png (2959 bytes)If this Game Gear port of classic Saturn shooter Panzer Dragoon proves anything, it's that most of the joy from that on-rails title came from the graphics. Even the fans will admit they made up the bulk of that then gorgeous experience. If this 8-bit translation does anything, it proves that statement.

Without any background objects to maneuver around, this flat shooter only has its action to rely on. That's not much to work with. It's takes a few stages for things to really start moving, and even then, the intensity isn't there no matter how many sprites are on screen. Granted, things always move at an acceptable pace, but it's always forgettable.

The series trademarks, namely the lock-on shooting and radius around the dragon, are here. Once locked onto something, releasing the button destroys it. Nothing more, nothing less. No shots actually fire, and during boss fights, it's distracting since you're concerned with dodging bullets.

Panzer Dragoon Mini (J) [!]-02.png (1986 bytes)Turning is automatic. When needed, the camera spins and the action continues. Since there's no action required on the player's part, it doesn't feel any different. In all actuality, it causes the game to feel disjointed and out of its normal pace. The choppy as expected rotation stops the game cold no matter how hectic the action was a second ago.

That doesn't leave much for the player to do. The only things to pay attention to are the incoming shots, and since the dragon moves independently from the aiming cursor, it can be hard to get a feel for the gameplay initially. That's an issue with the Saturn versions too.

While this barren translation tries, it's not feasible. It works on a basic level, and if it were called something else, maybe it would be possibly to go easier on it. When the name is Panzer Dragoon, there's an expectation, and after seeing the magic pulled off with Virtua Fighter, it's not that far off base to expect something more involving.


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Last updated: Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:36 PM