NAMCO - ARCADE
by Simon [Felix the Cat]
I remember playing Dragon
Spirit a very long time ago, in a small arcade in the MetroCentre shopping
centre. Along with R-Type and Raiden, this game succeeded
in wiping out my pocket money for three straight years. And, if I remember
correctly, I had the most trouble completing Dragon Spirit. Damn, this
game is hard!
In this game, you play a warlock who transforms into a dragon (I shoulda
said you play as a dragon... great start to the review Felix). Yes,
you play a huge scaly lizard with firebreathing power. But unlike the
dragons in Dragon Breed and Coryoon, this one is a morphing
dragon. By collecting the right kind of powerup, you can sprout extra
heads and increase your firepower. You can power up your firebreathing
by collecting Fire Fragments, gaining three increases your firepower,
up to three levels. You also have the ability to bomb enemies on the
ground plane too, and increasing your head count increases your bomb
You also get secret powerups gained by wasting certain enemies that
come on screen - they flash white - and you get a variety of powerups,
such as an Egg (whch acts like a continue), a Life-Up, a Full Fire Fragment,
and even Homing Fireballs!
One thing that makes Dragon Spirit really difficult is the fact that
your dragon is HUGE. It must be the largest sprite on screen, excepting
the bosses. You really have your work cut out trying to avoid the masses
of enemies and bullets coming in your direction. And what makes it worse
is that every hit decreases your firepower. Have a Level 2 Fireball
and two heads? Expect to see that drop down by one if you get hit...
The levels are very long and winding, and heavily populated by enemies,
and the bosses put up one hell of a fight, and have high hit points
too. Every pixel you advance will be a fight to survive in this game!
Even though it is old, it is a veritable classic. The
graphics and sound are expected from a game as old as Dragon Spirit,
but it's the gameplay that shines in this one. Worth mastering, definitely