I was really surprised
when I read back in 1999, that
the next Psikyo shooter would play in a fantasy world and the players
actually control knights and similar characters riding on dragons. Dragon
Blaze is maybe the most beautiful drawn arcade game by this company
to date, but one of the most difficult to play either.
Quaid, Sonia, Rob and Ian are the four characters of this game. Each
one has it's own well trained dragon, ready to go to a war that plays
at marvellous places such a giant mushroom forest, a mystic coral sea,
or a desert with dangerous goblin warmachines just to name a few. The
graphics are great and very colourful. The music is nice too and fits
the medieval design of the game very well.
Dragon Blaze makes use of 3 buttons. [A] is the standard gun to be tapped
continously. If you hold it instead, the so called "super magic
attack" will be released. It lasts as long as you have enough energy
on the magic bar left. If you keep holding, it continues shooting the
same way as if you would tap the button.
As usual in these type of games the [B] button hosts the power of a
mighty smartomb. In Dragon Blaze this weapon is an amazingly animated
magic spell. Each fighter has it's own type, depending on the magic
he practises. Quaid's magic belongs to the fire element, Sonia prefers
some watery arts, and Rob likes the power of thunders. Ian, the guy
on the skeletton dragon, is a master of black magic.
The [C] button seperates the dragon from the fighter and calls him back
when you press it a second time.
This function is called "Dragon Shoot" and is used as a piercing
weapon in first matter. As long as the dragon is seperated he stays
where you leave him. His shooting abilities are always connected to
the dragon rider. You can use the "Dragon Shoot" in several
ways : If you hold the [A] button an alternate "super magic attack"
will be released. It also depends on the magic bar which is located
at the bottom of the screen.
Enemies eliminated with the standard weapon release silver coins. If
you use the "Dragon Shoot" instead, they release gold coins
of double value. The "Dragon Shoot" is also used to release
the golden idol, a hidden carrier of gold coins you can make appear
once in each stage - see secrets page.
The dragon is invincible btw. This means you have to care for the rider
only when it comes to dodge enemy bullets.
Don't forget to collect power-up and bomber items throughout the game.
They refill your magic bar and make your weapons stronger. Yes, Dragon
Blaze is difficult to play. The speed of the enemy bullets make it difficult,
but I have to admit that after 2 weeks practise a precision shooter
like Do Donpachi, it can be very refreshing to return to Psikyo and
their rapid gameplays for a while. This game is very recommendable for
shooter fans and should be part of your collection.
sheep] in 2003