Monday, March 2, 2009

King of Dragons-Capcom-SNES

The King of Dragons is a beat-em-up for the SNES. It was made by Capcom and released in 1991. I picked this game up at a whim due largely in part to the fact that it was a Capcom game, but also because the name of the game just sounds like silly, simple fun. And that's exactly what it is. The story is that the dragon Gildress has unleashed a hoard of malicous fiends across the Malus countryside. And guess whose job it is to fix all of this and set the kingdom back on the path of peace and prosperity. Yup. You. Luckily, you're more than ready for it.

The game starts with a character select screen, where you can choose to play as one of five different heros: Elf, Mage, Fighter, Cleric, and Dwarf. Each of the different characters plays a little bit differently. The Elf is fast, uses a bow, and will die to a missplaced leaf sticking to his shin. The mage is slow and cumbersom, with a slow attack, but devestating power. The fighter seems to be the most balanced of the charaters. While the cleric can take more damage than all the others, but moves slowly. The Dwarf is powerful, and it has been said that he has a very good defense. I disagree with this as every other hit I took seemed to knock off a third of his HP, but maybe it gets better near the end of the game. There are other deferences as well, such as range, strength when casting magic, and speed to level, which creates a good, solid feeling of diference between the five characters.

However, despite all of that, the gameplay is rather standard. You have three or four buttons depending on whether you've gone into the options menu and fiddled with the controls. And they are you standard attack button, magic button, jump button, and should you have chosen to add it, a rather useless block button. The meat of the combat involves walking up to an enemy, or jumping if you're looking for the tactical advatange, and pressing the attack button until the enemy dies. There are no combos in the game, and magic sacrifices a rather heafty chunck of health for what seems to be three or four hits on different enemies, not to mention feeling useless against most bosses, due to the health lose and the fact that you can deal damage quicker by just smacking them in the face with your weapon.

Speaking the bosses most of them range from simple, to frustrating, to downright stupid. One battle about midway through the game has you fighting a ring of wraths, where all you can do is slash at the ring until either one of the floating heads takes damage or you do. Standard enemies are better as they range from merely cannon fodder to challenging cannon fodder, with a few actually fighting in much the same way you do.

I've been rather harsh on the game so far, but it's not all bad. The enemy designs are nice, and the levels are bright and colorful. The level up system and the weapons and armor found at fixed locations around that game offer a compleling reason to keep playing. The game is also rather short. I was able to beat all 16 levels in around an hour. And for the most part, I had a good time.

It definitely feels a little front loaded however. At the beginning of the game, you are greated with enemy type after enemy type as you progress with few actually being recolored sprites, or if they are, they have a different weapon type that causes them to fight in a different manner. Unfortunately, after about the 12th level, almost all the enemies and even the bosses become simply more powerful recolors, which was very disappointing.

The music is pleasent but entirely forgetable. While playing, I'd occasionally find myself noticing it and thinking that I'd like to listen to it again. But if you pressed me for what it was like now, I couldn't really answer except that it was standard Capcom music with a fantasy vibe and a bit of epicness dashed in for spice. And no, that doesn't make sense to me either.

That game is fun though, and can be played two player, which actually makes the game harder as you share both experiance points and continues. With a buddy playing, I've made it all the 12th level, but alone I was able to beat the game with lives to spare.

King of Dragon's isn't a great game by any means, but it isn't bad either. And it's definitely more enjoyable if you have a friend along to laugh at the goofy stuff that goes on, such as your characters releasing a terrible sounding war cry at the start of every stage and new life. It's a fun little time waster that's not too deep or too hard of a game and can be easily beaten in an afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, King of Dragons. I've always loved this game; it's great seeing it as part of the initial batch of reviews. I always played as the Fighter, because I'm boring and always choose the well-rounded character. Who did you use? There's the Fighter in the screenshot, but that might just be an example picture...

    Hmm, "front loaded" is a good phrase. I could use that to describe a lot of things... Grandia 3, for example, is front loaded because the early parts of the game are the only ones that don't suck. Thanks, Retro. I agree though, the palette swaps definitely got repetitive. There were even some major boss character whose sprites got reused... I think the final boss of the game, Gildress herself, is the only villain who avoided such treatment.

    And you don't think the soundtrack is all that memorable? Huh... what about this song? That song's always been my favorite in the game. Never gets old.