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Dragon Drive D-Masters Shot
  opened by paleface at 03:38:37 09/09/03  
  last modified by paleface at 23:34:45 02/21/04  
  paleface [sys=GC; cat=Shooter_3D; loc=JPN]
It's funny how all the self-styled h@rdc0r3 "fans" seem to like slagging off on every new Treasure game that doesn't happen to be Radiant Silvergun. Dragon Drive, based as it is on a licensed anime property and sporting somewhat middle-of-the-road graphics, not insignificant amounts of slowdown even when just firing your regular charge attack, and rather muffled sound effects (on top of jazzy yet repetitive music), seems built to order to feed the ire of such folks.
Well, they're missing out. The controls, seemingly complex after suffering through the horrible non-interactive tutorials, reveal themselves to be quite intuitive in practice and admirably suited to the WaveBird's questionable button layout, allowing you to maneuver your dragon with alacrity in both free-flying stages and in rail-shooter type stages with limited range of motion side-to-side and up/down. Dodge, boost, lock-on, use charge attacks, super energy blasts and energy shields with ease. The dragon's animation is very fluid and when boosting along, although not going for an F-Zero feeling of speed, you feel a nice freedom and sense of buoyancy from the dragon.
I've only got through the first two stages so far and they are surprisingly long, with wave after wave of bad dragon things coming at you, followed by a boss with a frickin' ridiculous health meter. Even the bosses haven't had any particularly surprising attack routines and the enemy variety isn't all that great, but the rhythm and intensity of the attacks has kept me fairly riveted to my seat, dodging and weaving constantly. The second stage in particular, where you fly down a long, straight highway, brings on the goons in determined fashion and doesn't let up for miles.
Aside from the story mode, it looks like you can do some two-player vs arena battling (haven't tried, but in the first, free-flying stage, you do some hefty one-on-one with a boss, and diving around buildings and circle-strafing each other in midair was surprisingly fun, so Vs could be enjoyable), and you can track your dragon card collection (seems to be from the anime) of up to 499 cards. I think I have 3 or 4 so far. Cripes. They have nice art on them for those who care. Oh, some baddies drop cards in the game, and you can them pick them up and save them for use--they seem to do things like boost your attack power and charge your dragon's power meter back up faster and so forth, I think. I'm definitely sure that they make your dragon glow pretty colors. There's also some kind of "Genome Code" text entry and I have no idea what that does (unlocks cards?) or where you'd get the codes, and I don't much care.
Anime freaks may enjoy the bonus disc in the extra-fat game case, which seems to have an episode of the show on it. Neither disc supports progressive scan, boooo.
It isn't perfect. It isn't even close to perfect. But it's fun non-stop shooting action with good controls, so let's leave perfection aside and just enjoy it for what it is.

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