21, 2000 (USA)
> To begin with, I just going to come right out and admit that I love this
type of game. That is, the fantasy action/adventure with just enough
role playing and puzzle solving to keep you glued to the screen.
Basically, Draconus combines the hack 'n' slash of Soul
Fighter, the adventure of MDK2, and a bit of
class advancement from Time Stalkers.
You're on a quest to unite the shattered kingdoms of humanity and ultimately
defeat the vile Dragon Lord. This works well in theory so let's see
how the individual categories score...
> Utterly amazing. Although it's not everything, the graphic splendor
Treyarch has mastered on the Uberconsole is nothing short of excellent.
Explore vast beautifully detailed locales that seem alive. There's
a forest city, dark haunted swamp, fortress in the countryside, and more
indoor/outdoor areas to explore. Leaves fall; fires emit smoke and
sparks; torches and lights glow with dynamic intensity; blood splatters
everywhere; sparkling wisps give their blessing; water splashes and makes
a wake -- these are some of the graphic effects you'll behold in this game.
> The characters look realistic and move smoothly. Enemies range
in size and weaponry. Your view is almost always behind and slightly
above. To supplement that, a roaming perspective view is available
to check out your surroundings. As expected, the magic spells are
> Now, everything isn't perfect. The game seems to drop a few frames
every now and then, but it's nothing to be concerned with. Also,
when they show close ups of characters' faces during cut-scenes, their
faces never move. I know that's not too important, but facial animation
could have been added.
> As you know, a game can look and sound great, but the gameplay has to
be there too. Treyarch definitely spent most of their time insuring
that Draconus' graphics keep your attention. That's not to say that
the gameplay sucks, at least not in my opinion. Now, anyone can pick
up the controller and get right into this game. Mastering the moves,
however, is another story. Aside from standard movement, attack,
jump, use, block, and strafe, you must master the combo system and timing
to conquer this game.
> The aspect which is most likely to turn some people off to this game
is the ease of moving out of position. In other words, it may be
too easy for some people to lose their desired position while playing this
game. You're either going to hate this aspect, or you're going to
learn the moves and get accustomed to the floating third person views.
> Once you know how to fight, then you can take on the deadly beasts that
stand in your way. Sometimes a power-up or key appears after an enemy
is defeated. Other times, you'll get an item which is necessary to
complete the mission. Along the way you can find "wisps", which are
essentially sprites. These wisps either bless you (5 blessings allows
one skill advancement), or they heal you. Either way, they're worth
finding. Lastly, at the end of a mission you can upgrade one or more
skills, and select your next destination.
> Simply inspiring. Draconus' music is comprised of mood setting
orchestral tunes, which are good enough to be in a movie. The tempo
always seems to conveniently change when you're about to walk into grave
danger! Here's hoping for an official soundtrack.
> The sound effects are great too. You'll hear foot steps, swiping
swords, metal clashing, blustering wind, birds chirping, various grunts,
rushing water, crickets, and speech galore -- all clear as a bell.
> Although the difficulty is adjustable, I think the challenge is present
nonetheless. Your main choice is the player character -- either a
brawny warrior named Cynric, or a voluptuous Sorceress named Aeowyn.
During a level, you're free to go anywhere. Certain areas require
a key, the proper item, or the death of a certain beast. The desire
to witness the beauty of the next level coupled with the enchanting music
keeps me enthralled...