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Dragon View

Publisher: Kemco Developer: Infogrames
Reviewer: Dancin' Homer Released: 1991
Gameplay: 86% Control: 80%
Graphics: 79% Sound/Music: 78%
Story: 68% Overall: 75%


Long ago, Kemco created an SNES game entitled Drakkhen. It was not a success, but it did teach the people of Kemco a valuable lesson. Namely, it taught them never to try anything new until you've perfected it. The game failed due to a very weak plot, a semi-automatic battle system, and an attempt at 3D gameplay that was just terrible. These fine programmers learned from their mistakes, however, and decided to give the game another shot in the form of Drakkhen 2: Dragon View.

The isle of Drakkhen was a land of peace, but it was not always so. There was a time when humans were subject to the might of the dragon lords, who stole the eight Drakkhen tears from the humans. These jewels gave their owner the right to rule the isle, and if it weren't for four brave warriors who captured the precious gems from the reptilian claws of the dragon princes, mankind would have been doomed.

In the town of Rysis, there lives a young man named Alex, and all is well in his life. He shall soon marry his love, Katarina, and he will then be able to live happily ever after, in spite of his prophesied fate. He is the direct ancestor of the hero of the past who claimed the Drakkhen tears for the humans, and he is destined for calamity. It would seem that he has dodged fate, but then, a mysterious wizard kidnaps Katarina as part of some larger, more sinister plot. Fierce demons suddenly roam the land in far greater numbers than before. Begin your quest to save not only the world, but your love.

Many aspects of Drakkhen 2 are similar, if not identical to, those of Drakkhen. Movement takes place in a near 3D overworld as you travel to towns and dungeons. The overworld is almost exactly like that of the original Drakkhen, but the island is no longer shaped like a square and mountain ranges are spread throughout it all in order to impede your progress.

The dungeons have much less exploration to them, and this is due to the way that the battles have been altered. All fighting, towns, and dungeons have something of a fighting game look to them, in which your character can maneuver in order to dodge enemy attacks or let loose one of your own, using a sword, hauza, bow, or any other item that you pick up. This game is much more action-based than the original, and this means far fewer puzzles to solve and items to pick up.

Each enemy uses a unique battle pattern, and although it isn't recommended, you can defeat any foe in the game if you can just learn how not to be hit by it (You will only do one HP of damage to it with each hit, but the experience will be worth it). This also means that much more skill is needed to complete this game than was needed in the original.

Magic is gained by finding mystic items and using them like you would any other item. A life bar represents your HP, and the only way to increase it is to find heart containers. MP is shown by a group of stars, and finding star containers increases this. In dungeons, all enemies will be set in each room, while on the world map, enemies are represented by clouds of smoke that charge at you, and once you touch it, the screen changes to a battle arena.

As for the world map, let me just say that the layout is almost exactly the same. Many secret areas have been added, but these are very easy to find and merely make it harder to find where you want to go, because many areas of the game look exactly alike. Another bad point is that they completely removed the sunrises and sunsets, giving you only a pitch-black sky. Although the concept of time passing in the original wasn't very phenomenal, I thought it added a nice touch to it.

There are many more areas to explore and quests to do, so I suppose there were some improvements to the game. Although I enjoyed many of the things in the original that were removed, I can honestly say that the action in this game almost makes up for it, and the game itself is pretty addictive. Gameplay gets an 86%.

The graphics in the game were better than those of the original, but not much. The overworld still looks like it was made by a drunken preschooler, and although it's still kind of funny to laugh at, the joke gets old after a while. The backgrounds in the dungeons are far less original, but far better quality. There have been better games, but some of these places still look very well made.

The enemies also followed the same tried-and-true pattern, and while we no longer find bizarre freaks of computer-generated nature, we do get some impressive looking trolls and lizards. As for your character's appearance, I have good news, bad news, and worse news. Your character is much larger and detailed than before (Good news), but he doesn't change when you get new equipment any more (Bad news). This is only because they almost completely removed equipment from the game (Worse news). You can find power up items for your gear that changes the color of it, but it's hardly a fair trade.

Finally, I just have to complain about the loss of the sun, one of the best graphical pieces of the original. While this game has its ups and downs, it gets a 79% for Graphics.

I personally loved the music of Drakkhen, and I hoped that its sequel would have the same feeling that the original did. Sadly, the game disappointed me. Admittedly, there was a nice variety, but not one of them was above your average RPG filler. I felt robbed. If Kemco had just included the Night in the Arctic theme, or even the music you hear in the swamp, I would have been relieved, but that was sadly not to be.

As for the sound effects, they were above average, but I still wish that the music had been improved. No amount of explosions, decent or not, could make up for what was missing, but I suppose I'm just biased after playing the original. Sound/Music gets a 78%, and I still feel that I'm being generous.

The plot of Drakkhen 2 was nothing more than the usual save-the-princess story that we've heard thousands of times, and although the story of the original was not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, I still preferred it to the sequel's plot. It was delivered in an original way, using a narrator's assistance instead of just talking to people, and the game flows like a fairy tale at times, but it's still not very good.

Delivery was the biggest problem in the original, and I think Kemco might just want to give the game another shot. The plot wasn't that great, so if that's what you're looking for in an RPG, I suggest you steer clear of this one. Storyline gets a 68%.

The issue of control is one that's hard to decide upon. In battle, I can't complain at all when it comes to the responsiveness of it, but there was little variety when it came to techniques for you to use. On the world map, I couldn't help but be bothered by the way you get caught on corners and repeatedly bump into trees, but the dungeons were done flawlessly. This game has strengths and weaknesses, so I give it a balanced 80% for Controls.

Many parts of this game were improved upon from the original, but the game itself is far too average to stand out in a crowd. It has few glaring weaknesses, but there is absolutely no reason for me to ever really want to play this game again, and I don't think any of you will either.

There isn't even that big of a difficulty rating to it due to the ease of training (Head to the swamps as soon as you can for the easiest levels you'll ever see, if you can just figure out how the enemy attacks you) and the lack of difficult bosses, and so, Drakkhen 2: Dragon View gets a 75% Overall.

Dancin'
Homer

Alex trains hard so that he may defeat any evil.

The world map is made totally of polygons, just as in the first game.







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