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Old 11-24-2004, 04:34 AM   #107
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,144
Panzer Dragoon
Sega Saturn

Believe it or not, the US
box art is slightly better than
the Japanese box art, if you
can get past the GIANT boxes
they used for US Saturn games.

I recently played through all four Panzer Dragoons, wrote up reviews and will post them in chronological order once a day for four days straight. So let's start with the first game! Panzer Dragoon was one of the games that surprise-launched with the Saturn. I was there on launch day and picked up my Saturn, Daytona USA, and Panzer Dragoon. Panzer Dragoon had been in development alongside the Saturn as it was developed. It's a straightforward (mostly) action game, and is the only game in the Panzer Dragoon Series to not have a save function of some kind. For shame! But it does have the Segaman polygon character which was meticulously crafted by the legendary Kentaro Yoshida, and that is worth owning 5 or 6 copies of the game just for that!!!!

Graphics: 5/10
Yeesh. Most of the graphics look pretty bad. You've got warping polygons, blockiness galore, and lots of pop up, not to mention some pretty drab looking colors here and there. So why did I give the graphics a 5 and not lower? Well for one this is one of the first Saturn games ever made, and I am quite impressed with what they were able to do with the game given the time it was released. You even have a teeny bit of polygon transparency in the dragon's homing lasers, you have cool looking reflections, and not to mention the wonderful futuristic/ancient design of the Panzer Dragoon series which was already in full force here. The FMV is small and grainy, but the intro was the very best game intro ever at the time, and stands out as one of the best intros still to this day. The graphics chug along at around 20-24 frames per second most of the time, and there is some clipping that rears its head. But the creature and ship design is awesome, just like in every Panzer Dragoon game. Who can forget the two worms of stage 2 who jump in and out of the sand while attacking you, wiggling around as they move? Classic stuff.

Oooo transparent lasers!
Looks like someone left the water running.

Sound: 9/10
The best music in the Panzer Dragoon series will be found in this game. With the title screen and the first stage theme performed by a full piece orchestra conducted by Tomoyuki Hayashi, you will be engulfed in some of the most brilliant music to ever grace a video game. Despite only the first two pieces being orchestral, Yosh!taka Azuma (who composed all of the music) will captivate you throughout the entire game with pounding beats and solemn notes. The music in the opening cutscene fits perfectly, and helps it to be one of the best videogame opening scenes of all time. All of the Panzer Dragoon sound effects are here in full force, from the made-up language of that world to the awesome sounding dragon screeches. I can't imagine anyone complaining about the sound in this game.

These are NOT the kind of worms that
you want to get after eating an infested meal!
Real sand was used in this game.

Gameplay: 7/10
This game is pretty straightforward. Once again it's all about the tower. You can't let them have that tower, by golly! It's an "on-rails" shooter, but that doesn't detract from the fun. Enemies can come at you from any direction, and you have full 360? control at all times. There isn't much strategy involved, just kill everything while shooting down the enemy fire if you can. You start with just one credit which you can use for a continue should you happen to die, but if you do well and your percentage is high at the end of the stage, you can earn extra continues. You don't get all of your health back between each stage, either, so you will want to do as well as you absolutely can. There are 7 "Episodes" to play through, and each lasts around 4 minutes for the stage and maybe even longer just for the boss fight at the end. A long game this is not, but it is still worthy of owning and playing through from time to time.

OMG!! This crazy dude has wings on his cheeks!
Therefore he MUST be destroyed, since he is different.
Tolerance is not an option.

Wrap up:
The worst looking/worst playing game in the Panzer Dragoon series, and it is still quite awesome!

Last edited by Joe Redifer; 11-24-2004 at 04:57 AM.
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