Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - How You've Grown!

When you want the high flying action and excitement of the ages, and the Saturn is calling your name, what game do you turn to? Nights: Into Dreams comes to mind, but you’re not feeling quite that kid friendly at the moment. You need guns, explosions, bombs, and a dragon! Make that a dragoon! Featuring some of the most gothic, rustic graphics this side of the 5th Generation, far intensified from its former title.

Panzer Dragoon Zwei features a young man who saved the reptilian creature from certain death at the hands of his captors. He takes the winged thing away and begins a very long journey which includes ample amounts of soaring. With a small but powerful blaster in his hands, he fights off legions of enemies, able to turn 360 degrees and fire at all angles.

These legions of enemies rank from about the size of a horse, to the size of a battleship! Whether they be flying next to you or firing at you from the ground, you need to know how to target enemies and utilize your dragoon’s energy attack that he fires off as a natural means of defense. It is one of the most useful weapons in the young man’s arsenal as it clears out the more plentiful, smaller enemies. However, the blaster is by far more solid when it comes to inflicting damage to a single target. Its firing rate is very fluid and quick with the flick of your thumb.

The controls are intuitive and the learning curve eases you in slowly. However, as the game goes on, that learning is put to the test as you are put through more and more peril that accumulates before you know it. The difficulty is something to behold with this game.

The dragoon you ride not only has the autolock attack, but he also has an ultimate attack! Once your meter next to your life is full, you fire off a multiple energy projectiles and kill many, many enemies, or drain the boss’s life in a major way. After many of the levels throughout the game, you will notice that your dragoon sheds its skin and glows to a radiant glisten! This is how the dragoon evolves and becomes stronger! You’ll notice that not only can he lock onto more targets over time, but he will also do more damage with more HP. However, do not think of this as getting too good for the likes of the enemies. Oh, no. Never think that.

If it was not clear already, this game is an absolute masterpiece. It is not without flaws, of course. The challenge can register in the "not fair" category in randomly occurring cases. However, with some trial and error, the challenges do not register as impossible. Some of the environments, while pretty, can lack in the graphics department, even for back then. None of these problems take away from the overall enjoyment, not until you get to the later, more frustrating levels.

Some of us older folk love the graphics because we became accustomed to them, but none of that matters, because they are so outlandish and strange that it makes them quite timeless. The more saturated brownish tinge of the color pallet do wonders to preserve its rusty charm. While some levels lack in the graphics, there are some that are also very beautiful, even going so far as to say "surrealistic."

As gameplay goes, this has been said to out do its predecessor. We here on Planet Virtua agree. The challenge is real, many of the levels are beautiful to look at and the musical score is very good, doing nothing to distract from the game. Do not miss out on this classic Saturn title and be sure to check out Panzer Dragoon. Do not forget to lead your Dragoon to water.

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