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Panzer Dragoon

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Panzer Dragoon II Zwei
Panzer Dragoon Saga

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Panzer Dragoon Orta
Panzer Dragoon Mini
Anime

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Panzer Dragoon II Zwei (パンツァードラグーン ツヴァイ) - Saturn (1996)

American Saturn Cover

European Saturn Cover

Japanese Saturn Cover

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, released a year after the original, tells the story of a human named Lundi and his dragon Lagi. His village has ordered that all dragons be destroyed, but he hides his pet and raises it in secret. As one might expect out of a video game plot, Lundi's village is later destroyed by a mysterious airship, so the only option is to exact revenge.

Since Lavi isn't fully grown at the beginning of the game, he can't yet fly, and the first couple stages are entirely ground-based. This leads to one of the games most impressive moments, where the creature charges off a steep cliff and spreads its wings, for the first time. The whole moment is perfect - the music stops, and you seem you be taking a nosedive straight to your death, and maybe think you did something wrong, but it shakily straightens itself out, glides over the vast, empty expanse of the landscape, and provides a safe landing. It's not until the third stage where your dragon can fly properly, and even then, certain segments of later levels are ground-based.

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei introduces the Berserk Attack - by killing enemies, you'll slowly build up a power meter, which can be unleashed when it reaches a certain level, attacking everything on the screen for a short amount of time. Since you can now save your game, essentially enabling unlimited continues, your performance will affect how quickly your dragon evolves into more powerful forms. There are also multiple routes throughout each level, which also greatly expands replayability. Some of these elements are a bit confusing, because the grading system for evolution doesn't really make too much sense (you're graded on Clear, Route, and Technical aspects, which are pretty nebulous unless you've read up about them), and it's difficult to determine where the route forks are.

On a technical level, the graphics have improved only marginally, although the frame rate seems to be a bit smoother. The music is much the same style, although it lacks any orchestral tracks, and overall isn't quick as memorable. The Pandora Box menu (mistranslated as "Pandra's Box" in the English version), which shows up in later Panzer Dragoon titles, was introduced here. Unlocked once you beat the game, it's basically a convenient cheat menu, which lets you change difficulty levels, increase your life or berserk meters, give you all kinds of new weapons, change levels, and tons of other bonus goodies, including promotional videos. Since the game is still fairly short, it gives an incentive to dive in and mess around at your heart's content. Unlocking it completely takes a lot of time and effort, unless you have a save from Panzer Dragoon Saga on your Saturn's save RAM, which will open up everything immediately.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Team Andromeda

Publisher:

Sega

Director:

Yukio Futatsugi

Genre:

Shoot-'em-Up: Rail / Tunnel

Themes:

Dragons!
Mount: Other
Post-Apocalypse


Panzer Dragoon II Zwei (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei (Saturn)


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Additional Screenshots


Panzer Dragoon Saga / Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG (アゼル パンツァードラグーンRPG) - Saturn (1998)

American Saturn Cover

Japanese Saturn Cover

All throughout the Saturn's life, the system struggled for an RPG to define it, mostly to combat the alliance of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest on the PlayStation. Many fans felt Game Art's Grandia would be Sega's flagship RPG, although that was later ported to the PlayStation anyway. Instead, that role ended up going to Panzer Dragoon Saga, one of the last titles officially published by Sega for the system. Panzer Dragoon Saga takes the vibrant world found in the previous games and fleshes out its backstory, filling four CDs worth of cinematics, telling the story of a young dragon rider named Edge.

Characters

Panzer Dragoon Saga is unlike any other RPG for any other system. Other than Edge and his dragon, there aren't any other party members, although NPCs will occasionally hop onboard for the ride. Although there are sections where you run around on foot (mostly in the few towns throughout the world), most of the game - both battle and exploration - takes place riding on the back of your dragon. Unlike the on-rails action of the previous games, Saga actually lets you fly around and explore the many details areas of the Panzer Dragoon world, lending a lot more freedom to the experience.

The battle system is one of the most remarkable aspects of Panzer Dragoon Saga. The action takes place in real time, with three power bars that charge over the period of a few seconds. When a single bar charges up, you can make your move. There are two standard attacks - Edge's gun targets a single enemy with heavy damage, while the dragon's laser targets multiple foes with lessened damage. There are also several Berserk powers, which act as the equivalent of magic spells. If you want, you can wait to build up two or three power bars to attack multiple times at once. Certain Berserk attacks also drain multiple bars. Similarly, the enemy can attack after it's built enough energy, although you can't determine when they're going to attack.

During combat, you're positioned in one of four quadrants surrounding your enemies, and can move between them at will, although this momentarily stops the power gauge. A radar at the bottom of the screen will mark which zones are safe and which are dangerous. If you're flying in a green zone, the enemy can't attack; if you're in a neutral zone, the enemy can use a weak attack, and naturally, the red zone indicates that the enemy can use a fierce attack. Obviously, you'll want to spend as much time as possible charging in the green zones to avoid damage. However, enemies often have weak points in other positions, encouraging you to fly in the face of danger to finish battles efficiently. The enemy's attack patterns often change multiple times during battle, forcing you to adapt and figure out the optimal positioning, timing, and type of attacks to use.

Panzer Dragoon Saga

So, in other words, it's a lot more involving than the typical RPG battle, since you always need to be on your feet. You can also control the growth and powers of your dragon by tinkering with different attributes, which in turn alters your dragon. For example, you can choose to balance your attack power between Edge's gun and the dragon's laser, depending on which you use more often. You also need to balance between defense and speed - do you want to be able to take a pounding, or do you want your power bar to charge faster. Depending on how you choose your statistics, your dragon also gains additional powers, such as counter attacking and healing abilities. Although your level-up bonuses change depending on your dragon form, you can change them at any time, including in the middle of battle, so you can figure out what abilities work best against certain enemies.

While there's a ton of depth to the battle system, the constant random battles do tend to become tiresome. There are usually only a few enemy formations in each area, and once you've figured them out, each fight is really just going through the motions. There's no way to run from them either. It doesn't help that most of the "dungeons" themselves are pretty boring. You're either flying - very slowly - across a huge, empty landscape, looking for switches to shoot at, or you're exploring very dismal tunnels. At least the map and navigation system is very friendly, so you can't really get lost.

The graphics also show the 3D limitations of the Saturn. Any time you're on a dragon, the graphics are roughly the quality of Panzer Dragoon II Zwei. The dragon itself looks awesome, especially the color of its wings. However, any time you're exploring a town, the quality takes a huge nosedive. From a design standpoint, the game is still gorgeous - the village of Zoah is gorgeously constructed and looks quite nice, especially with all of the lighting effects during the night time. But everything is painted with incredibly low resolution textures, the character models are very boxy, and slowdown is usually pretty common. Controlling Edge on foot is a bit clumsy, and taking any action - from opening a door to talking to someone - requires standing still and highlighting the target with the cursor.

Panzer Dragoon Saga

The Saturn wasn't exactly a marvel when to came to video, so despite the abundance of cutscenes, most of them don't look too great. They're in a small window, they're heavily compressed, and both the characters and environments reek of mid 90s-quality CG. Despite the fact that they're well-directed, they don't look half as good as anything from Square, and it's a good example of why the Saturn was seen as lacking compared to the PlayStation. Despite the game filling four discs, the quest is quite short, clocking at maybe ten-fifteen hours, is pretty linear, and also a bit on the easy side.

All of the cutscenes are voiced, which puts the action beyond any of the Final Fantasies at the time. Although the introduction is in Panzerese, the voices switch over to Japanese once gameplay starts. The Japanese voices were kept for the English version. The music is pretty similar to Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, with a large number of battle themes depending on the area and enemies. Most of the rest of the music is more muted and leans towards the atmospheric side, but it's very distinctive and does its job nicely.

Panzer Dragoon Saga

Overall, Panzer Dragoon Saga lacks quite a bit of polish, both from a technical and a gameplay standpoint. But that shouldn't discount anyone from trying to play it - the world is still thoroughly entrancing, despite how pixelly it gets, and the battle and development systems are completely worth it for anyone sick of the usual JRPG conventions. Unfortunately, since this was one of the last games released for the Saturn in America and Europe, it was only printed in limited quantities. The end result is that the English version is now incredibly expensive, usually hovering in the $150 range. Like many Saturn games, the Japanese version is far, far cheaper, but unfortunately will not work with the standard import conversion cartridges, requiring that you either own a Japanese Saturn or get your Saturn modded.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Team Andromeda

Publisher:

Sega

Director:

Yukio Futatsugi

Genre:

RPG: Japanese

Themes:

Dragons!
Mount: Other
Post-Apocalypse


Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)


View all "Panzer Dragoon Saga" items on eBay



<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Panzer Dragoon

Page 2:
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei
Panzer Dragoon Saga

Page 3:
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Panzer Dragoon Mini
Anime

Back to the Index