Review by EPoetker
"Why did Sega stop supporting the Saturn??? No game has yet come close to this!"
Dragon Force is, without a doubt, one of the best reasons to own a Sega Saturn(aside from Shining Force III of course.) May the video game gods smite the Sega execs for failing to support a platform of such promise! Anyway, on to the game...
The reason for buying this game will be made quite clear when you get into your first battle. Note the fact that what you see is real; up to 200 soldiers on opposing sides can be seen moving independently, ALL AT ONCE. Finally we have a battle simulation that actually simulates the type of soldier-by-soldier conflict that one would expect to see in real life. No more numbers games, or fights between tiny groups of soldiers which can't be differentiated between. Just pure, unadulterated conflict between very well-drawn combatants. Oh, and every so often the cool-looking general who never moves executes a super-powerful move(with appropriate special effects) that tears through the enemy soldiers or general or both. This awesome concept never..made..it..to..any..other..system. ARRRRRGH!
Features--ten different types of troops, from the lowly beastmen to the almighty DRAGONS! (Laugh as your dragons tear up your unworthy opponents. Cry as your dragons are ripped to shreds by samauri, which you forgot were the only unit which could cut through dragons like the proverbial hot knife through butter.) You cannot control each individual troop, but you can give orders to form certain formations, to focus on defense, to send out mini-squads of attackers, or to go completely all out on the enemy a la Braveheart. (The "melee" battle cry is cool. The screams of the dying are cooler-unless they're on your side.) As soon as you defeat certain enemy generals, you can capture them(with the exception of the really evil ones, which are summarily executed.) This gets rather out of hand by the time you control all the castles on the board, because the review of how the generals are doing becomes a lot harder when you have 50 or 60 of them. YES, you will want to play this game again, since you can choose from seven different generals at the outset, each with different stories and endings. Even better, all of the main characters and their lackeys have their own little "battle taunts." IMHO, General Rudger of Wien's kingdom is the funniest.(Do his Sonic Boom attack and you'll see why.) It's a valuable thing to be able to see the war from all sides. And remember how I referred to the beastmen as "lowly?" Start with the beast kingdom for a real challenge!
Anyway, while the sound is okay, the music is pretty standard BGM fare, with perhaps one or two memorable melodies. The game starts up rather hard, but tends to get a little too easy in the end when a) you've captured almost every enemy general and fulfilled almost every side quest and 2) you've caught the basic pattern behind the enemy attacks. This sadly becomes a bit too repetitive, and while "crush with overwhelming force" sounds like a fun tactic, it gets boring after a while. Other than those shortcomings, it is pretty fun. Let us all hope that the Dragon Force concept will be imitated and improved upon with the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, and Dolphin!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 11/19/99, Updated 11/19/99
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