Reviewed 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 count.

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 worth playing...

SOUND: 75%



Oh, THAT'S ME?! Wow, I'm a big boy...

Level One, and already getting heavily populated. You can take out these large bat-like creatures with your bombs (when they're on the gorund) or just frag them when they come up to flight level...

I managed to pick up the Homing Fireball powerup from an enemy flashing like a dirty boy earlier, and now I'm wrecking havoc on screen with the Homing Fireball Splash!

And here's boss one. The Loch Ness Monster gets all dragon-like and goes for you badly.
This game is waaaay too hard. I'll grab more screenies when I get better at it (it took me years just to get off level three!)


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie