The first RPG (role playing game) I’ve played. My first introduction to the game was through a demo disc titled JamPak CD -- a sample disc distributed members of PSU (PlayStation Underground). It was one of several games I demoed back in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Even though it was demo, the graphics and gameplay left me in awe. The demo of this game had a captivating story that left me wanting to learn more about what was going on. So when we were on break from school, my mom took me to the store to do some shopping.
Simple enough since the main objective at the time was to buy some clothes and shoes. Well that didn’t go as planned. Why?
The clothes were next to the electronic entertainment section. So I made a bee-line and started to browse the selections. After a few minutes I ran into a dilemma.
Of my allowance, I was only permitted to get one video game and allocate the remaining funds towards wearable items; like the clothes and shoes mentioned earlier. Of the demos played, only two of my favorites were in stock: Speed Punks and the Legend of Dragoon. A tough decision that had a surprising outcome.
Tale of the Dragon Knights
A glimpse into a huge battle that took place thousands of years in the past. The image features dragon knights (Dragoons), dragons and Virages (that strange looking thing in the top right). This image can be viewed in game after the Queen Fury and Phantom Ship incident [Chapter 2: Platinum Shadow].
Game art compiled by:Tatsuya Nakamura, Kenichi Iwata and Hirohiko Iyoku.
Unlike the demo, I was still new to this, the game didn’t start off with action. The game opens with a town coming under attack. Towards the end, you see a girl -- Shana -- and a knight holding a mysterious glowing orb over her head.
From there the story progresses and we’re later introduced to another character named Dart. He sets out on a mission to rescue the girl who happens to be a childhood friend. After the rescue mission Dart, Shana and their new friend (Sir) Lavitz managed to get to the safety of Bale Castle.
This is where we are given a glimpse into the character Dart’s past. A key figure from his past known as the Black Monster is said to be responsible for devastating his hometown many miles to the north. As explained, not much is known about this enigma outside of legend.
With this information in hand, Dart takes a break to help Lavitz and the other knights with reinforcing a town named Hoax. Its late evening when Dart and Lavitz get settled in for a long shift. Night fell and all the normal night noises cease.
The opposing army starts attacking and everyone jumps into action. Fights and fires ensue for what seems like forever. Up to this point, the opponents were manageable.
This is Kongol. A Gigantos with incredible strength and endurance. You will encounter him at least twice as an opponent during gameplay.
Then a Gigantos (a large humanoid species) named Kongol enters the scene. Even though it was two on one match, chances of winning seemed slim. Despite the odds, they were able to reach a silver lining where a final blow could be attempted.
Dart, our red armoured hero, runs in to deliver the final blow. To everyone’s surprise the Gigantos still had some fight in him and countered. Kongol gets ready to strike but a strange star in the sky catches his attention.
Only it wasn’t a star. A lady warrior in dark purple armour and wings swoops in to block the attack. She then points her sword at the hero and shouts: “Wake up! Knight of the Red-Eyed Dragon!”
Our red armoured hero transforms and lands a powerful blow to the Gigantos. They won the battle; however, the war was far from over.
Not a bad brief considering the number of hours clocked from the start to this point.*
The Legend of Dragoon, if I failed to mention this earlier, is a RPG (Role Playing Game) that focuses on a group of companions traveling the lands in search of answers to a chain of events that occurred in the past. After the opening movie, you are taken to the game screen where you can adjust options and start a new game file. Tale of the Dragon Knights is where the story begins up to the point where more questions surface.
Illustration of controller and how it is used to manuver through the game. The L1, L2, R1 and R2 buttons are your friends especially when you're in World Map mode. The controller in use by my self had a vibration function which meant I could feel every single hit that was dished out to my characters.
You can use the direction buttons and the left joystick of the controller to navigate the maps, areas as well as selection screens. The X button is used to progress dialogues, confirm selections and initiate attacks when in battle. In addition to the X, the square button is used when your opponent tries to counter.
Using the square to break counters gets harder for those characters with string attacks. The triangle is used to go back -- or return -- to the previous page while browsing the inventory. You can use the start button to pause gameplay; which is handy when you realize you’ve been gaming since seven something in the morning.
Quick Overview of Characters and Their Dragon Armour
White Silver Dragon Dragoon Shirley launching an attack to aid a friend. You will meet her face to face, sort to speak, at the Shrine of Shirley some time after the battle with Feyrbrand (Green Tusked Dragon).
There are other characters, aside from the main, involved but you'll be traveling with the ones mentioned below. As the story progresses each obtains a special item that grants the ability of Dragoon (Dragon Knight) Transformation. Of the group, based on my game progress, Dart and Rose are the only two that have these items outright.
The focal characters at the start of the game are Dart, Shana and Lavitz. As the story progresses Rose, Haschel, Kongol and Meru join the party. Later on Shana and Lavitz are replaced by Miranda and Albert respectively.
- Dart obtained his Red-Eyed Dragon Dragoon Armour from his father and later obtains the Divine Dragon Dragoon Armour from the Divine Dragon Embryo in Mayfil.
- Shana obtains the White Silver Dragon Dragoon Armour from Shirley and later passes it on to Miranda in Mille Seseau.
- Lavitz obtains the Jade Dragon Dragoon Armour from Greham and is later inherited by his friend Albert.
- Rose obtained her Dark Dragon Dragoon Armour some time in the past during a monstrous battle.
- Haschel obtains the Violet Dragon Dragoon Armour from Doel in Kazas.
- Kongol obtains the Golden Dragon Dragoon Armour from Home of Gigantos -- stretch of land once inhabited by Kongol's predecessors.
- Meru obtains Blue-Sea Dragon Dragoon Armour from Miss Lenus on Prison Island.
I would love to include more information but I don't won't to spoil things too much; not everyone likes spoilers.
When you open the case for the first time, you’ll be greeted with a game booklet and 4-game discs. Each of the four discs features one of the four starter Dragoons -- Dart, Shana, Rose and Lavitz. Most of the gameplay involves dialogue that you have to read through.
Its best to read through all the dialogue because lots of times there are tips on how to approach battles. Like that conversation you have with the merchant in the forest who explains elemental advantages. One of the areas where you will definitely need to take your time and read is the battle with Shirley herself.
Best advice for this match: don’t attack. Keep guarding and answer her questions as best you can. Even if she attacks, don’t attack back.
Of the game discs, number four has been rough. How rough? I have yet to make it through to the end.
At first I thought it had something to do with the build of my characters so I restarted and made sure each character was built up; having all additions (fight skills), and Dragoon levels at max. Did it make a difference? Not really; I mean the only difference was the fact that the characters survived longer and took on opponents with little issue.
In my opinion, the game is amazing. The story lines are well written and some what easy to follow; mainly when surprise information is introduced. One of the problems I ran into when I first started playing, in the early 2000s, was getting lost.
Not on the big map but in the areas once you leave map view. The Valley of Corrupted Gravity was notorious especially when it came to topsy-turvy shifters that will have you right side up one moment and upside down the next. Helena Prison and Kazas Castle were tied due to their maze-like design.
When I wasn’t getting lost I was getting stuck. Stuck as in not progressing as intended. Got stuck: repeatedly at Fletz Castle while executing rescue missions, continuously at the wire trap puzzle thingy in Mayfil and in Death Frontier (Desert) during my gameplay infancy (everything looked the same plus there were moments when you would just fall through the ground.
To date, I’m still stuck at Mayfil. I figured out the pattern but once you get at a certain location on the wire, you fall through to the “basement”. Not to mention there’s a chest you can’t open until you defeat the guardian who just so happens to be one of the toughest bosses you previously faced back on Disc Three.
Despite the conundrum, there are players of the game that have successfully completed all parts of the game from Disc 1 to Disc 4; there are YouTube videos to show it off. I still have the game and memory cards in case I’m up for tackling the game again.
Arena Games track starts playing
So much for that thought. I pretty much don't stand a chance and, at the moment, am not up for restarting for who knows what number of time. Let's round it out at umteenth. In the pic above are the characters Shana (lower left), Dart (center) and Rose (right).
From the looks of it, they are in the City of Furni standing in the light of the Moon that Never Sets.
Game music composed by: Dennis Martin and Takeo Miratsu.
At first plug-in, the game was amazing. This was the first RPG I’ve ever played, so yeah. There were quirks but not of the in-game kind.
I mean there were some in-game but this focuses on the outside. Not sure why I came up with the idea but a log was compiled that documented the amount of time I played the game each day. The log included: The disc/chapter title, the date, the amount of time played along with where I left off in the game.
The results? Uh… Well… Just check the picture below.
The Infamous Log: Page 1 of 4
This is the first part of the log I started during one of my restarts. Some time from June 24 to June 26 is when the group encounters Kongol and later Rose during the Battle at Hoax.I even documented the number of attempts made to conquer the wire trap at Mayfil.
Back when I first started playing the game, my start times would be early morning. Like crack of dawn early morning. So this round of game times is pretty tame.
It wasn’t just this game but most of the video games in general. Haven’t done the physical log keeping in a while but I do keep mental track of my gaming. Which is weird especially since I multitask with gaming and working.
Any who, The Legend of Dragoon is an amazing game that was years in the making. Unlike some role playing games (RPG) on the market, there has only been the one. Many of the fans tried to rally to get the production team to come out with another installment, but I doubt they ever will.
Why? Its a unique game that not many have heard of nor played. However, there’s lots of remarks that are pretty much mixed.
You’ll either like it, dislike it or fall somewhere in between. All-in-all it’s a game worth playing. Even on a repeat basis, the gameplay is different every time.
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(price as of Aug 17, 2015)
A truly amazing game with a soundtrack to match. Though, as learned many times prior the painful way, do mind the volume of your television set while playing. There are moments, mainly during the cinematic, where the volume increases ten fold.
Also, are you familiar with the Ctrl + S rule (Cmd + S for Mac)? Well, the same rule applies here. Whenever you get a chance be it at a Check Point or at World Map, SAVE your game.
It doesn't matter if you think you can make it to your next destination just save as much as possible. If tough bosses won't get you, unexpected scenarios will. Like game freezes, television blowouts and power outages for example.