With so many shooters for the NES, this is one that has probably been
passed up by many people. However, it's one whale of a game! Bandai
converted this arcade hit to the NES and the game maintains pretty much
everything that was in the arcade version. As many of you know, Bandai
also made the great game Monster Party.
The game engine is the same as other shooters except that you scroll
vertically throughout the whole game. (it resembles Gun*Nac in this way)
However, you control a dragon instead of a spaceship which is pretty
intuitive! You must blast your way through 9 stages and rescue your
sister and her maids from the evil Zawel (a demon with a bad attitude.)
At first, you start with a standard single shot fire blast but can build
up to a three-headed flame breathing monster! There are pods spread on
the ground and flashing enemies that will yield you powerups when hit.
You can bomb the ground with the A button and blast with the B button.
The weapon system is super in Dragon Spirit. You can get items that will
increase firepower, add another head to your dragon, (which allows you
to have 2 or 3 blasts of fire) make you faster, etc... One item causes
there to be an earthquake and all the enemies on the ground are defeated
automatically! There is also an item that causes two "ghost" dragons to
come by your side (like the Options in Gradius and Life Force) and blast
away. However, there is the Skull item that you want to avoid like the
plague (it takes your power away.)
The difficulty system is one of the most innovative I've ever seen. You
control a King of the past (who is in dragon form) and fight the evil
demon Zawel. If you beat him, you go on to play the game in the Blue
Dragon mode which is the normal mode. If you lose, you play the Gold
Dragon mode which is an easier, shorter mode. I believe that the ending
in the Blue Dragon mode is better (I haven't beat the Gold Dragon mode
Yet another innovative feature of Dragon Spirit is when you rescue the
maids at the end of each stage. If you have "fulfilled" certain things,
the maid will be visible (a maid is grey and hasn't materialized is you
haven't fulfilled certain standards) and can help you out. As far as
what you must fulfill, I presume that it's something like not dying in a
stage or beating a boss quickly.
One great thing about Dragon Spirit is that it has codes for both a
Sound Test and Stage Select. Every shooter should have this features.
The graphics in the game are very well done. They are colorful,
detailed, and add atmosphere to the game. The animation is great also as
it seems to be "smooth." The dragons and enemies look very good with
The music is where the game really shines. I was VERY impressed when I
first heard the music of that first stage. It was relaxing yet had a
good beat to it. Throughout the game, you'll hear some GREAT music. The
first, third, and sixth stage themes are my favorites. The musicial
score in Dragon Spirit earns a high mark from me. Controlwise, I really don't have any complaints. You start out rather
slow but the speed up item takes care of that. Certain items give you
automatic fire which is a big plus for any shooter.
The game is challenging yet it doesn't really frustrate game players.
(a good thing) There are many obstacles such as the walls of stage 5 and
the ice structures in that fast part of stage 6. Some of the enemies are
tough to avoid too and the bosses are rather difficult!
Although challenging, the game is very fun with a good storyline. I
like the innovative features of selecting difficulty and the secret
Sound Test and Stage Select codes. This is a shooter than no NES fan