After three years in the making, the much hyped and long awaited German role-player Dragonflight has at last been released. When it was first demo'ed a few years back, it captured the attention of adventure fans worldwide. Of course, back then we didn't have as many quality roleplaying games or adventures for the Amiga as we do today. How good is Dragonflight, then, when compared to some of the benchmarks of today such as Dungeon Master or Captive?
After a great opening sequence, I see that the graphics are as good as promised. The game uses an Ultima like overhead view when you move your party across the land, but with much more colour and detail. These Europeans certainly know how to squeeze the best graphics out of the Amiga!
Once you are inside a city or town, the graphics change again. This time the overhead view is retained, but with some 3D features (much like Magic Candle). When exploring dungeons, designers Thalion have used the standard 3D maze perspective but with great detail. There arc also several full screen special graphics/animation sequences that occur after you have completed parts of the game. For example, when you free the Unicorn, a picture of the galloping creature is shown moving against a colourful horizontally-scrolling parallax backdrop. Such special sequences can even be stored on disk, in order to replay them for posterity.
What about the plot? Well, you control a party of four (a pre-chosen party, so you can't develop your own characters) in a quest to restore magic. Apparently after the last catastrophic war between good and evil, the people of the realm decided to shun magic since they believed that it was the cause of all destruction. As time passed, and the power of magic waned, it soon became clear that magic had to be restored. It is up to you, then, to guide your party into forgotten towns, and deep dark dungeons, to search for any lost magic scrolls.
The decline of magic is somehow connected with the departure of the dragons from the realm. As the dragons were the greatest magic users of all, it is also your quest to discover what happened to these mighty beasts, and whether any dragons still exist. A great task indeed!
As usual, combat is one of the main aspects of this game, and your party can only advance in experience points (and gain treasure) by successfully sending the enemy into the grave. The designers have come up with a slightly unusual combat sequence, depicting fights in a horizontal manner (much like arcade games). You use your mouse to click on the direction you want your party member to face or move, then click on the attack button. After you have doled out commands for all four members, the computer takes over and you can see the battle just like an arcade game! I'm not sure about the overall value of this feature. Innovative it might be, but quite frustrating (and boring) after a while.
Dragonflight is a technically excellent game (much like Legend Of Faerghail) with some lovely graphics and music. The completely mouse/icon interface will attract some and repulse others, but you soon get use to it after a while. What makes Dragonflight a better game than Faerghail is its depth and strong storyline (evidenced by an excellent manual). A good challenge for experienced role-players.
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