Review by Anthony6969

"Foolish Mistakes keep this Dragon from its throne."

Dragon Force is a great TBS (Turn-based Strategy), don't get me wrong. But many problems shatter Dragon Force's call to the Saturn elite throne. A lot of these problems could have easily been solved, too. If Working Designs only balanced out the game a little more...

The game actually has 8 Story lines, so it’s really hard for me to put just one story line down. But let me start from the beginning. 7 goddesses made the land of Legendria, the foremost goddess being Astea. She molded the land into a beautiful paradise, and everyone was happy. Yay! Then, the evil dark god Madruk was revived. Booo! He sent his legions of the dead and all the evil monsters across the land, killing many. The world was almost engulfed in his flames. People prayed to Astea for help, and Astea answered the prayers by summoning the Sacred Dragon, Harsgalt. They battled for 1000 days, and Harsgalt won. He used his remaining power to seal Madruk away into a mountain and gave time for 8 new heroes to be born.

And yep, that time is upon. Madruk is soon to be risen again to destroy the continent. There are now 8 countries in the land, and each holds one member of this ''Dragon Force.'' The 8 kingdoms are each ruled by a different man with different philosophy:

Highland - King Wein - Loyalty, Holiness, Justice
Fandaria - King Goldark - Evil, Darkness (Or is it...?)
Palemoon - Queen Teiris - Purity, Paradise, Nature
Izumo - Sensei Mikhal - Stealth, Secret, Revenge
Bozack - King Gongos - Strength, Honor, Force
Topaz - Lord Leon - Religion, Un-armed combat, Being ''one''
Tradnor - King Reinhart - Knowledge, Magic, Isolation
Tristram - ''King'' Junon - Dictation, Destruction, Death

Each kingdom will have their own story line and special events as they go along. However, 2 of the nations (Fandaria and Tradnor) must be unlocked by beating the game once. However many of the teams are put in advantages and disadvantages. Let me put down the kingdoms again and advantages/disadvantages

Highland - After ''Tutorial beginning'', strong generals but can face 2 front warfare.
Fandaria - Only one entrance to main castles. Must live with people hating you
Palemoon - Joins with Wein quickly, can barely stand on its own feet
Izumo - Not much breathing room, Fandaria attacks constantly
Bozack - In the forest area are 3 countries, Bozack being the weakest.
Topaz - Good Generals, but is in the center of it all.
Tradnor - Against the mountains and very defended, but relies mainly on magic
Tristram - Isolated. In the middle of nowhere, but very powerful

Each of these weaknesses you must take advantage of to win. For example, as wein, if you can secure one front then you can send all your men though the other fronts. The front to the left of Highland is the easiest to seal, by the way. *wink wink*

The Game starts out with you choosing a character to advance as. You then see the story and how it unfolds. You then go to the Administration Screen, where you take care of events. Here you can do many things. Such as award medals to your generals (increase how many men they can command), Equip items (usually worthless), Talk to Generals and/or captives, examine generals, Search your castle, Fortify your castle (No point.), etc. I rarely read books, but I suggest you read the instructions before you play this game. Why? Cause it gets more complicated from here.

Welcome to the world map. The games graphics, I bet as you can see, look mediocre. But hey, it’s only the map. The land isn't really that divided, but there are, as you can see, many castles, temples, towers, and towns. Oh, and notice those little dots leading from area to area? Those are your courses. It’s a terrible system; there is no shortcuts or anything. You men are strictly left to the plan. Thank god the AI isn't brilliant because they could see you coming from a mile away. Better yet, the towns have nothing to do with most anything in the game. You can stay at one by just standing there, but that’s really it. Castles are a different story. There you deploy troops and add soldiers to your men. Each country has their own color flag (Whoop-dee do!) and differently dressed soldiers. So far, the game has no spunk. Nothing stands out. You'll have an hourglass sitting on top of the screen. When the glass empties, its time for diplomatic choices. Then it’s just another start.

So then on to the battles. You can carry up to 5 generals at a time with at max. 100 troops at one time. Each troop has a strength and weakness. There are 10 different kinds of troops and many different kinds of generals. First the generals, there are soldier types, knight types, magician types, summoner types, etc. These types only affect their stats, title, and spells they receive. You'll get such spells that you can cast to resurrect some troops, shoot balls of fire, summon a dragon, or even blast a sonic wave!
Now to the soldiers. There are 10 different kinds of soldiers. There are:

Soldiers - Plain old guys with armor and swords.
Cavalry - Men on horseback with lances
Mages - With Staves, they shoot fireballs or whack with cane
Samurai - Warriors with lower armor but better swords
Archer - Shoot arrows to hit enemies across the field
Monk - hand-to-hand combat masters with lethal kicks
Harpies - Flying women with very very sharp talons
Beasts - Crawling monsters that attack strangely
Zombies - Undead who use their insides to kill, wierd enough
Dragons - LARGE reptiles that know how to fight!

Each are good against some and bad against others, making fights get a little strategy. However, if all men die, its time for the Generals to duel. The loser gets captured or killed, the winner will be a hero.

In battle, you’re given options and tactics. You really just watch the battles. You are given manual control of a camera and you watch your men duke it out. At any time you can call tactics to retreat, advance, disperse, etc. However, once that ''Melee'' tactic is called, there is no turning back; your men are unstoppable and are not going to quit until the floor is stained in blood. The strategy is not exactly the defining point of the game, where it should be. Timing is the key to the entire game, and it even implies to spells in battle. There are some specials, which affect certain areas, blast straight lines, or soar over troops straight for the enemy leader. Unfortunately, many spells that hit the center of field require to you your own strategy to get the troops to stay there and hold the men there while the spell hits. Then your general will be left helpless for the rest of the standing troops. Not exactly worthy spells, and there are more than 4 of them. And considering generals only get 3 spells, generals that get spells like that will lose the chance to get a great spell like Sonic Blast or a Summoning Spell.

And now for the scores...

Graphics: 7/10
Sure the map might not exactly the best looking thing ever, but inside the battles everything looks much better. Unfortunately, with most Saturn games, from far away on the field they look edgy or start to clip. The spells and effects are greatly illustrated, as well. If the world Map had been 3D and a little bit better, the game would have had a better score.

Sound: 6/10
The music is terrible. I hated the music of the game; it was just wayyyy too bland and not working for me. However, the sound effects are excellent. The screams of battle when you choose tactics at the beginning of the fight are really my idea of the highlight. However, there is no yelling when the troops battle it out, there is only the sound of them dying at maybe blocking. The spells are even given a kind of blandish sound to them, too. This is a great game, don't get me wrong, but the sound just should have been done better.

Control: 9/10
Jesus, its a very complicated game. At first you won't be sure what to do, you might just roam around to map. Later, when you get the hang of everything, you'll be checking castles on the fly, deploying troops to many destinations, and commanding armies with your thumb. It’s that easy and it’s these mechanics that make the game so easy to play.

Fun Factor: 10/10
This game is just a blast to play for Strategy fans. If you’re into medieval times and knights and things like that, this game will appeal even more to you. When you get a hold on the game's mechanics and what the game requires you to think and do, you'll not stop until you've taken over the world, and sometimes that is the best thing for you to do.

Problem Factor: 5/10 I go with the Glitch department and other problems... Now, I’ll start with Zanon. 1: Zanon rules an independent country (Blackish-Grey flag) with 4 other generals. He is veryyyyy powerful because of a great sword named Eclisis that drains the blood of the innocent. Really only 2 countries in the game can recruit him: Tradnor and Bozack. The rest only kill him, and that’s a major let down.
2: Generals: Believe it or not, the 8 members of the Dragon Force, although main characters, should ALWAYS be on the front lines. Why? They need to gain massive levels. Each character is going to need great levels just to stand up to Madruk, and that’s a barely. 3: Goldark. Many things can go wrong with capturing him; you have to wait until he falls in your hands. If you don't do it right (and there is not exactly any of way knowing this very well, its trial and error), you'll never recruit him, and you can never enter one of the crucial temples.

Creativity: 9/10
With the map and everything that goes on, the game is one of the very first console strategy games that break the rules. However, with some things like the dotted line paths and stuff, it seems like they could have gotten ALOT more across if they had more time or a more powerful system.

Overall (Not an Average): 8/10
Dragon Force will miss a couple fundamentals, but the game is still one worth getting. It’s an RPG and Strategy that will pull you against a god, and maybe for you that god will be time. Welcome to your country, sir. Now tell me, whom shall we conquer today? It’s all up to you. You command the armies and the generals. Whatever happens will be from your result and that is the key to a good strategy game. - Anthony

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/26/01, Updated 04/26/01

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