"It may not be RPG of the Century, but it is still a fairly good game"

Intro
All I can say is anyone who allowed his/herself to buy into the hype of this game was only being set up for a letdown. This is one major reason I don't read a whole lot of previews or buy into hype; Hype can actually ruin a game. So, as a gamer I usually have a pretty good philosophy when it comes to future games and their hype: ''I'll believe it when I see it.'' I have adopted that since I overhyped WWF Warzone. Although WWF Warzone was a good game, it just wasn't what the Internet hyped it out to be. For Legend of Dragoon, I just didn't read any information on it and got it for one solid reason: It's an RPG and I really like RPG's. Because I didn't read much of the hype, I really enjoyed the game.

Dart and Co.
In Legend of Dragoon, you play as a guy named Dart who teams up with several people and embarks on a journey. Each character seems to have a different goal of the journey, yet all share an ultimate goal to find the secrets behind their powers, which is the ability to use certain stones to become dragoons. They also unravel an evil plot in the process. I don't want to say too much as that would be a spoiler.

Basics
Like RPG's, this one seems to have three main screens (not including status screens and such): a field screen, a world map, and a battle screen. When in field, it's like any other RPG. You walk around an area with a triangle over your head. When the triangle turns red, it means you're about to encounter an enemy. There are also many different things you can interact with such as elevators and switches like any RPG. The world map is a bit different. Rather than an open area with various different landscapes, you're on a map of sorts that has ''roads,'' which are the only thing that allow free motion. It's a bit like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest's world map. I'm actually not too fond of world maps like that. I like ones with free roaming.

Battle
The battle screen is a bit different but not much. You can have up to three people in your immediate party. You have the usual selections of battle: attack, defend, and item. One thing I like about this game is the fact that defending seems to give back about 1/8 of your max HP. The attacking is a bit more interactive to. When you attack an enemy, you'll see a box in the middle of your screen and another box shrinking towards it. Right when the boxes are aligned, hit the attack button and your character does another attack. After you've done enough of these just right, you character will execute a special attack. You get several different special attacks per person. After a while, you also get the ability to become a dragoon. Depending on your dragoon level, this can last a few turns. Many did not like the battle system. I thought it was good enough for this game. It fit the theme, anyway.

Dragoon Phase
Dragoon phase is different from regular attack phase. For one thing, your attacks are done in a different system. Instead, there will be a wheel of sorts in which a cursor spins around it and you must push the attack button when the cursor makes it to a certain destination each time. The more you get right, the more attacks you do, and the better a chance to execute a special attack. You also get magic as a dragoon. The spells are nothing special. The magic system is also nothing new as you just gain new spells at certain levels.

Graphics
The graphics are well done. They may not be crisp or even the best graphics around, but they are very well done, even with the lighting effects. The only thing I didn't like was the designs for the ''dragons.'' Most of them didn't look like dragons, but some strange vehicle or a mutated bug. I do think it was very well colorized and designed (save for the dragons) otherwise.

Music and Sound
The sounds were nice. A fair soundtrack, but not the best. The dubbing at the end of the game was terrible. I also felt that some of the voices got a bit annoying after a while. Some of the sound effects worked very well with the game, though. Certainly better sound effects than Summoner. What I felt this game really could've used in the sound department was a much better soundtrack. If it's one thing I think all RPG's really need, it's an outstanding soundtrack. That can be hard to do, sure. Especially since not everyone can just pull compositions out of the air and write them on paper, but then again, developing is a task that isn't made to be easy unless you're planning on cranking out a discount game.

Controls
The controls for this game seem to be pretty picky when doing certain tasks that require timing. You have to be very good at timing to be able to prosper in battle. Other than that, the controls work very easy.

Story and Gameplay Opinions
The storyline seems pretty interesting at times. Everyone has a different goal in the game and it's interesting to watch as their different goals develop. After the end of the third disc, however, the story took a turn for the worst and got pretty dry. The gameplay is fairly fun, but easy to burn yourself out on. Honestly, I think one thing this game needed was more puzzles in the dungeons. That would've brought the rating up to a 9 anyway.

FINAL JUDGMENT
Graphics: Not the best ever, but certainly nice 9/10
Sounds: Some I could do without. Fair beyond that. 7/10
Control: In a word: Picky 7/10
Plot/Storyline: Obviously not for everyone, but still works good enough for me 8/10
Gameplay: A lightly fun game. Could use some puzzles. 8/10
All Together: 8/10

Perks
*Great Graphics
*Nice battle system
*Good storyline (until disc 4)
*Great lighting effects
*It was fun to play for a while

Downers
*Dungeons needed a little spicing up
*So did the soundtrack
*Storyline goes dry by disc 4
*Lacking replay value

Recommendations
While this doesn't rank up in my favorite RPG's of all time, it is still a fairly good one, in my opinion. You don't have to be all about hype to like this game. You just have to, well, enjoy it. Which means I don't recommend anyone to straight out buy this game unless they feel they will like it. Give it a rent first. There are a lot who hate this game, but some that still do like it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/08/01, Updated 09/25/01


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