Retro Saga Part 16: King of Dragons

I have recently been doing a lot of reviews of games from Capcom. Weird, right? I guess you can say I’m a fan of Capcom’s arcade games. While I do not enjoy all of them, like Ghost and Goblins and Magic Sword, I do enjoy a lot of their beat ‘em ups. I already did a review of Knights of the Round, which is one of my favorite arcade games of all time, so I think it’s right to do another great arcade beat ‘em up by Capcom. Now, this next one that I am going to review is a game that I have mentioned before. This game is called King of Dragons, which is another fantasy-themed game, like Knights of the Round or Ghost and Goblins. So let’s get started then shall we?

The story goes that an evil red dragon named Gildiss has taken over the countryside, along with other evil monsters that have taken refuge within the country. It is up to 5 warriors, the elf, the wizard, the fighter, the cleric, and the dwarf to travel across the countryside and defeat the evil monsters that have taken over the land. Yay, more dragons. This actually reminds me of the new PS3 game Demon’s Soul where you have to fight dragons during parts of the game, though that is another game for another time.

The game play is very similar to Knights of the Round in a way, since it’s a hack-and-slash beat ‘em up where you can control 5 different characters with unique abilities for each. The Cleric is the strongest but slowest fighter, the elf has the longest range, but poor defense and attack power, the Wizard uses magic, but has poor defense, the dwarf has the slowest attack range, but the longest jump, and the fighter is the second strongest fighter out of all the fighters. It’s cool since this adds replay value, and different difficulties due to each fighter’s persona. After each level or so, your character is upgraded with a new level, like a stronger sword or shield.

The graphics in the game are pretty good for both the arcade and Super Nintendo versions. I like all the monster designs and the designs for all the characters. The cleric especially reminds me of an outfit you can use in Demon’s Soul. I know I said a lot of this stuff in the Knights of the Round review, but I’m a fantasy-style kind of guy. I always enjoy the looks and designs of soldiers and monsters. The music also fits and it’s fun to listen to while playing the game. I just kind of wish Capcom would take as much care with their beat ‘em ups as they do with their Megaman or Tomba! games. I also like how some of the sound effects, like for the dragons, originate from some of the monsters from the Toho film company in Japan that make all the Godzilla films, though you would only notice if you were a fan of Godzilla movies like I am. I also like how they have the upgrade system, like in Knights of the Round.

Let’s pick up our swords and shields, and find the bad parts of the game. Again, this game has a timer, and for an arcade game I don’t see the reason for having one. It makes you feel rushed, and you end up making mistakes and losing lives. While I like how long the game is, I just think that it could have been a little shorter. It kind of drags on, and it’s annoying. I think long games should be on consoles, since who the heck is going to stand around for hours to play just one game at an arcade. Well, I know some people could, but I sure can’t. While I like fighting dragons in the game, some of the fighting can be awkward due to the fighting rounds being like Golden Axe or Final Fight. It’s awkward to line up your attack with the target, and it ends up either with a missed attack or a direct hit by the enemy. I think it’s easier when you have two to three other people playing with you, but still.

Overall though, I found this game to be fun. It’s just sad due to a lot of people not knowing about it. Well, it seems like not a lot of people know about it. I would say get a copy of this game for the Super Nintendo or see if it’s downloadable on one of the three console’s online stores. Of course, with any of the past arcade games I reviewed, you can look up and see which Capcom arcade collection has it. It would be nice to see Capcom do either a sequel or an HD remake of their arcade games. They have a lot of good ones. Oh well, a gamer can dream, can’t he?

This game gets a solid 8 out of 10.