Dragon Force
Earlier installments:
· Dragon Force
· Dragon Force 2
· Dragon Force (Sega Ages)
Last seen in: 2005 (Only in Japan)
Publisher: Sega

Dragon Force

Dragon Force

Mike Moehnke has this to say... The Saturn had a lot of flaws, but poor games was not one of them. The system's relatively low installed base means that not many people ever had the chance to sample Dragon Force, one of Working Designs' true gems, but that is even more reason for the series to return. The current gaming public still hasn't seen anything quite like this game, and considering the only English release in the series is now more than fourteen years old, that's quite an accomplishment.

Dragon Force was given an entertaining script full of now-dated references courtesy of Working Designs, but its gameplay is the real star. Tactical combat plays differently than it has in any other series, with commanders wielding armies of up to 100 individually animated (though not individually controlled) troops against each other, seeking to knock the opposing leader down and win the day. Much of the strategy involved having the right troops to meet the enemy, but the player had plenty of control in the battle itself, deciding what the main body of troops was going to do. Sometimes a win was outright impossible, but faking the computer into a draw could also be done. Conquering the world to defeat the evil Madruk stayed captivating even through eight different campaigns with the eight main characters, and this immense replayability also set Dragon Force aside from many other tactical games. Plus, watching 200 sprites converge to kill each other is a great spectacle even now.

So what happened? In the first place, Dragon Force was on the Saturn. In the second place, its sequel came out near the end of the Saturn's lifespan, and despite being just about as good (though a definite rehash), never had the chance to ingratiate itself outside of Japan. Two Saturn-exclusive games seemed to doom the series, but Sega included the game in its Sega Ages line, but because the only release in that series outside of Japan was a sales disappointment, no other games got the chance to prove themselves, sadly including the last gasp Dragon Force has so far been granted. The PS2 was the perfect platform for newer gamers to learn of its joys, but that ship has sailed, leaving only the hope that Sega will one day revisit its library of classics that haven't seen the light of day in years.

Anna Marie Neufeld's take is... Dragon Force was a precious gem released on a system doomed to failure from the start. The fact so few people have played such an incredible TRPG is simply criminal; there simply is no other game like it, and considering past and present reaches into the TRPG genre, that's saying something. Localized by Working Designs, it features graphics that still look bright and colourful even in an age of realism. Proffering up about 20-30 hours of gameplay per campaign, there's a lot to take in.

Players take control of one of multiple generals, and their story and motivation for claiming territory changes depending on whom they meet along the way, be it neutral commanders or enemy leaders and their lieutenants. Gameplay involves tactical combat, taking over castles by pitting an ally's power and troops against the opponents. Generals may have 100 troops at most, each with their own strengths and weaknesses: Monks are strong against Zombies, but fall against Soldiers. Players need to balance the happiness and combat prowess of their generals, as having a well-rounded team is critical to uniting the continent together under one banner.

Perhaps even more sad is the the fact that a second Dragon Force game was released, but never localized; while the rumour of a PlayStation release lingered for some time, the fact that it never came to fruition means many an RPGamer was robbed of the opportunity to experience a classic title with a slightly dated but still entertaining localization and tons of replay value. At this point there is perhaps a faint hope the title and its sequel will receive a release via the Wii's Virtual Console alongside some of SEGA's other titles, but outside of that a player can always drop a couple hundred dollars on an eBay copy.

Can a new game happen?

Series Highlights

Like so many Sega properties - tiny

The original

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