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Dragon Force Review
Posted on October 18, 2008 by Oscar Gonzalez

For many, the Sega Saturn was just another failure from the former juggernaut, Sega. For others, the Saturn is a treasure trove of amazing games that are about as easy to find as pirate treasure. Dragon Force was one of the many projects created by Sega and localized by Working Designs. Working Designs made themselves known with the Lunar series on the Sega CD and focused on bringing over Japanese games that normally wouldn't make its way to the US. They were known for their clever modern lines (even using to phrase "For me to poop on!"), their extra features (bloopers, behind the scenes, art books) and the very long long long delays on games. Unfortunately, they went out of business because of those delays and a variety of other factors. Nevertheless, they helped bring some of the most amazing games to the US, Dragon Force being one of them.

The story is a traditional old school RPG story. Hundreds of years ago an evil force controlled a land and a good force came and destroyed. Present time, evil force is back and times to destroy it with a band of heroes. The difference lies in the heroes themselves and that they don't really like each other in the beginning. Each hero is a leader of a kingdom and has a certain amount of generals and soldiers at their disposal. As leader, you have to take your army, defeat other armies, taking their generals, and increase the size of your army. The leaders vary in their troops and their own powers/skills.

What separates this game from any other game out there is the gameplay. It's a traditional strategy game with a unique way of showing it. Your general controls a certain amount of troops. These troops range from magician and archers to zombies and dragons. With your general, you move to certain areas on the map and at times, fight enemy generals and their troops. Essentially, the game has a rock, paper, scissors system where one troop can dominate another troop. Hopefully, you'll have the right troops to make this happen. To help your fighting, your generals take a backseat to the action ordering when the troops attack and in what formation. However, generals can change the flow of battles with their special techniques. Depending on the general, some can strike down a fraction of the enemy's troops in one swoop or they can bring back their own troops with a spell. To win battles, you have to destroy all the enemies troops along with the general, or both troops are wiped out and the generals duel. There's a time limit to how much you can move around your troops, and then you have to tend to kingdom affairs. During the kingdom affairs, you can try to recruit captured generals, search captured castles for items to help your army, or reward your generals with awards that will increase the amount of troops they can lead. Eventually, you'll have to fight other rulers to have them join or certain rulers will join you without a fight. In the end, you'll have control of the entire land and other rulers, but this leads to the epic final battles.

For a Saturn game, Dragon Force shows a lot of the system's power. While the game is filled with 2d sprites during the battles, you'll have 200 troops on the screen at once without any slowdown. The only time the system lags is when certain special moves are used with a certain amount of characters on screen. Seeing so many characters at once is a big part of the game's charm and can give you goosebumps with the battle at hand. The story is told in still shot anime screen which are few and far between. There is no voice acting and the music is on par with other RPGs at the time. The script can be funny at times (typical for Working Designs) but also repeated over and over again.

While the possibly of playing this game is low, I can't stress how good the game is. With several main characters leading to several endings, the game has tons of replay value and will have you playing for a long time. In my gaming life, I rarely buy games multiple times. Not only did I buy this game a second time, I also had to buy the system a second time, showing just how great this game is.

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

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