Review by Raakone

Reviewed: 12/07/03

A Cute Shooter...isn't that a contradiction?

Yes, this game is very cute. Guaranteed to send you to the dentist because it's too sweet. But it's a good shooter, even if it seems a bit misdirected. Basically you're a dragon pup (don't know the correct term) who is the best friend of a princess. Said princess was suddenly turned into a small super-deformed chibi freak by a strange metallic wizard magic thing. You want revenge. So you'll fly through eight levels and blast away everything.

The Good:A wide variety of enemies. Three different main weapons, as well as the card-symbol items (which give you guardian faeries, shrink, smart-bomb...and I'm not sure about the other) and the small dragon you get halfway through a level are good for blasting through said enemies. Regular power ups means you don't have the ''die-here-and-you're-screwed-because-you're-underpowered'' syndrome many shooters suffer from. Special obstacles, like the moving walls in one level and the Urchinator (name I gave it) sub-boss who can only be damaged with one weapon. The backgrounds are stunning. The graphics are quite advanced for being something from the early 90's on what was essentially an 8-bit system (despite its 16-bit graphics) The backgrounds even have some parallax scrolling in them. The music can be memorable...the last level has something that vaguely reminds me of ''After Midnight'', and the ocean level has quite fitting music, in particular. The way the point system works, it's possible to recover lives....if you're good enough! And there's no slowdown. Also, if you have a colored weapon, then getting hit won't mean instant death. Also, you don't suddenly get a ''cheap shot from behind''.....a sort of ''Spidy Sense'' will flash if enemies are attacking from unconventional angles (however, this doesn't make it easier...you still have to doge whatever it is) The enemies and bosses are varied and challenging enough to challenge even the most hardened shooter, without resorting to the ''200 bullets fan spread that are impossible to dodge'' routine.

The Bad: The difficulty level fluctuates wildly, back and forth, something being too easy (especially places where power-up storks keep coming) and sometimes being too hard. Some of the sound effects are terrible (like the internal PC-speaker noise made by the Snake Boss when he launches fireballs). Occasional ''graphics saturation'' leads to cases where point-items and bullets can't be distinguished.

The Ugly: Well, some enthusiasts may pass it up because it's too cute. And younger gamers who think this is for them may become frustrated. Also one of the bosses is particularly frustrating to fight (tedium, not difficulty). But that's about it.

The verdict: Buy this game, or rent it, or find it somehow. Any shooter enthusiast should play this game. The dragon pup is a nice alternative to the usual space-ship (although Coryoon does his impression of R-Type's ship if you let go of the fire button long enough.)
Despite it's minor flaws, this is still a gem of a shooter.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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