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The Legend of Dragoon

Publisher: SCEA Developer: Sony
Reviewer: Sl0th Released: June 13, 2000
Gameplay: 80% Control: 75%
Graphics: 85% Sound/Music: 70%
Story: 85% Overall: 79%


An easily unique and good RPG experience is found in Sony's The Legend of Dragoon. This game is definitely one of the better RPGs I've ever played. The game itself revolves around a character named Dart, a young warrior who has been on a five-year mission of revenge against the monster, known only as the Black Monster that destroyed his hometown of Neet. While passing though the countryside near his second home of Seles, he is assaulted by a large dragon, a legendary beast whose species was said to have died off some 11,000 years ago.

After being saved from certain death by a passing warrior who wore dark armor, he learned that Seles was under attack by the Empire of Sandora. He arrives too late and finds the village in ruins and many of the townspeople dead or injured. After taking care of the few soldiers who still remained in the village, he then learns that his closest childhood friend, Shana, was the target of the attacking army and was taken away to the Hellena prison. Dart, with no regard to the danger he is putting himself in and the fact that the odds are not in his favor of succeeding in this rescue attempt, goes to Hellena to save Shana.

The story of this game is quite interesting. The plot twists right up until the final minutes of the game. Most of the characters are quite good as well. Of the playable ones, most of them are quite well developed. Throughout the game, there are many mysteries to be solved. I assure you, though, you will have solved a good many of them before the game is over.

The main map screen is set up so that you can only go places there is a dotted path to. To get to areas, you often have to pass though an area such as a forest or a cave. This can get annoying, though, because to get back to that same area, if there isn't a direct path from where you are to where it is, you must go though said forest or cavern. When you walk up to an area on the map screen, a screen with a screenshot from within the area and the name of the area will pop up and you will have the option to enter or not. On the map screen, you will have encounters with monsters. On the world map, you will also encounter rare monsters that are very difficult to kill, and tend to run away, but are well worth it if you do manage it.

The battle system is a unique mixture of a turn based system and an action system (One where you control the attacks more so than just selecting attack). You can have a total of three people in a party while fighting. You have several options during battle. First, there is attack. When you attack, except with your bow using character, you have an opportunity to perform an Addition. An addition is a timed attack that you hit the X button at the correct time to accomplish. Each character, with the exception of the bow using characters, has at addition attacks of varying levels of difficulties. Each addition has 5 levels. Each time you successfully accomplish, you gain a point on it. You gain a level up to 5 every 20 points. You will naturally learn your addition techniques over time, with the exception of your strongest technique. You only learn that final technique once you have mastered, or gained 80 points, in the other addition techniques.

In battle, you can also do the following. You can defend, which dampens both physical and magical blows, as well as healing a small amount of hit points. You can use an item, which could be a recovery item, magical attack item, or other types of items that you may find. In most battles, you also have the option to escape. In doing so, you do not loose anything in particular except the HP, MP, or disposable items you may have used. Next, you have the option, if you have gained that character's Dragoon Sprit and have sufficient SP, to transform into a Dragoon. If you have 3 characters in the attacking party who each have full SP gauges, you will also be allowed to do something called Special, in which your entire party transforms into a Dragoon and the person who preformed special will automatically be able to perform your Dragoon Addition to it's maximum level.

SP is the points necessary for two items directly associated with the Dragoons. You gain your SP from attacking the enemy. Each Addition attack has a different amount of SP that it lets you earn if you complete the Addition successfully. First, you must have at least 100 points of SP in order to turn into a Dragoon for a single round. Secondly, the more SP you gain, the higher the Dragoon Level will climb. When you gain a Dragoon Level, you may learn another spell, which you can use as a Dragoon. There are 5 Dragoon Levels possible. The first level, which is what you are at when you first receive the Dragoon Spirit, gives you 20 MP and the ability to store 100 SP, or enough to transform for one attack. With each level, you gain 20 MP and the ability to store another 100 SP.

While a Dragoon, you have two options. First is D-Attack, which allows all but your bow user, whose attack will be the same as normal except that it will be slightly stronger, to perform Dragoon Additions. You perform them as follows. A gauge comes up on the screen after you choose whom you are attacking. When you hit the X button, a small light begins to spin around the gauge. You must hit the X button each time the light comes to the top in order to perform the addition. All but one character have 5 possible times you can hit the X button in order to get a Perfect version of the Dragoon Addition, which is it's most powerful version.

As a Dragoon, you can also use Magic. The magic spell will line up with your character's elemental affiliation. Not all the magic will be attacking magic, however, most of it is. The final Magic each dragoon will learn, at Dragoon Level 5, is the ability to summon the dragon associated with his or her Dragoon Sprit. The final perk about transforming into a Dragoon is the fact that, in doing so, you can cure almost all status conditions for that character. Also, as a Dragoon, you aren't affected by any status attacks except instant death ones. There are 7 elements which all monsters and characters alike are associated with. Those are Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Thunder, Light, and Darkness. There is also Non-Elemental, which is affiliated with none of the elements.

The graphics of The Legend of Dragoon are quite good. The cut scene movies are also quite well done. There are a number of them, and many of them are 2 minutes in length, and some longer. They are fairly rare in occurrence, though, which makes it special when they do occur. The characters look quite well designed, and look fairly life like. The dragons you find throughout the game are quite different than the average looking dragon and are original in their design.

The special effects like Magic spells and special attacks by enemies are also quite good. The only problem I have with them is that the Dragoon magic spells are too long. The Dragoon transformations are also quite good pieces of computer animation. I also find it a good thing, considering how many times one has to turn into a Dragoon during the game, that there is an option to set the transformation sequence to only run the first time you transform, and then after that, the rest of the time, unless you use special, are abbreviated.

The sound and music in this game are really nothing special. The voiceovers and battle cries are good, but tend to get tedious. For the most part, the music also gets tedious. The music in the menu screen and the buy items/weapons screen is especially annoying. The only vocal song in the game is also quite whiny and repetitive. I won't go so far as to say the music is all sub-standard garbage. I'll admit there are a few songs that have their moments. But there is absolutely no song that would make me want to buy the game's sound track.

Overall, I liked the game. I could see many things that Sony could have easily done better, however the game was good. Well worth the time to play the four disks. I haven't had the chance to play, if any exist, any other RPGs produced and developed completely by Sony, however, if they live up to The Legend of Dragoon's quality, they would be worth a look, too. I would suggest this game to anyone with a good attention span, who is good at pushing a button with good timing, and anyone who is not deterred by constantly repeating the same thing over and over in order to make your character better. I give this game an over all score of 79%.

Sl0th

On the list of spooky people, right behind Cristopher Walken, is this guy.

Being a Dragoon is tough work.







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