Review by joec2003

"Working Designs really outdid themselves here"

Dragon Force was a late 96 release for the Saturn. A huge translation project to bring the game over for Working Designs, it proved in time to be a quality title that many Saturn owners praised. A little on the expensive side now, is it worth it for the casual Saturn owner to pick up? Here's how my ratings go:

GRAPHICS: 7/10
Well, this may one department where it doesn't score off the charts. The characters, battles etc. are all 2D. Fortunately that doesn't hinder the game all that much, because the battles are very good and you don't really notice the 2D after a while. There is a load of different characters featured in the game, and most of them are unique. The world map is a little grainy but it is pretty diverse and very large. There are also some videos in the game that are good and come at good times, and the photo stills featured in the game add a little bit as well. This is one of the games where graphics aren't a huge concern and you can live with what they give you.

SOUND: 8/10
There is one main music track that you will hear while you are on the world map, and it varies for each ruler. It is high quality, but you will be hearing it so many times it can wear on you. The battle music is good, however you will be getting in so many battles that it also becomes repetitive. Now, one thing that is pretty impressive is the music later in the game, near the end and during critical battles. It sets the mood perfectly, switches up at the right time and makes the later battles that much better. There is almost no spoken dialogue except during the videos, and in the videos it is very good.

GAMEPLAY: 9/10
This is almost perfect. The idea in Dragon Force is you control one of the eight rulers and must consolidate the kingdom into one to fight the evil god Madruk. You start with a few castles and must capture all the other castles and other rulers to make them join you. Simple concept, but it plays out really well. When you storm a castle, attack or get attacked you enter a battle. Battles work with each general having a max of 100 soldiers on his or her side and then the two sides have it. Generals have special moves that can hurt the other general as well as his troops. It is quite a sight to see a 100-on-100 battle, and there is no slowdown. If you win, you can capture an opposing general and eventually try to make him join you. You can award your generals by allowing them to have more troops at once, and you can also give them items. The computer will attack you as well as each other, so there is a lot going on on the world map. AI is usually good, sometimes the computer will make some stupid attacks, a unit may get stuck or something of that nature, but in reality the gameplay is almost flawless. You can only move your units on fixed paths, unlike Ogre Battle 64 where you can move anywhere, but it doesn't detract from the game much. Another nice addition is that battles between specific generals trigger different dialogue than normal, so those can be a welcome sight.

LASTING VALUE/REPLAYABILITY: 9/10
There are eight generals to play the game through with, and each playthrough will probably be ten hours or more. That's some good value. Also, it is worth noting that the story is very good. Different events unfold at different times, you learn different pieces of story from the generals and in the end the game comes together perfectly. In reality, each playthrough is pretty similar, however in terms of story you must play them all to uncover the whole truth. I've had the game for a few years now, and I still fire it up once in a while and really enjoy it. Some way or another, it really doesn't get old, which I can't say for many games.

WORTH BUYING: YES
No doubt here. I know that the game goes for 50+ dollars. However, I got mine for 15 bucks (CD only) and I'm sure there are places to get it for a reasonable price. I know it's expensive, but I really suggest you add this one to your library. It has plenty to do, a strong story and was very innovative for its time. I'm not sure if I've played anything like it, other than maybe Ogre Battle 64, which was also very good. If you're adding to your Saturn library and are thinking about getting this, do yourself a favor and pick it up. You won't be disappointed.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/26/08

Game Release: Dragon Force (US, 11/30/96)


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