Blazing Dragons from Mindscape and Crystal Dynamics
Finally, the dragons get to tell their story.

Rating: graphics 89, sound 91, interface 87, fun factor 97, overall 91

All is not well in the majestic land of Camelhot. King All-Flame has ordered a tournament tomorrow and the champion will become the noble husband of Princess Flame. Complaining that she's not property to be given away as a prize for some competition, Princess Flame begs you (Flicker) for help. The only way that you can help, however, is to enter the tournament yourself and defeat all the other dragon opponents. Unfortunately you're not a knight, let alone a squire. Making matters worse are the reviled Humans that have requested permission to enter the contest--it seems they have a dragon competing on their behalf. What's an underrated, inventor dragon to do?

Blazing Dragons Blazing Dragons is another entry into the graphic adventure genre for the Sony Playstation. It follows the standard recipe for graphic adventure games by having you complete many tasks with a wide array of things that you'll find during your journey. But what makes Blazing Dragons an exceptionally enjoyable game are the countless number of jokes, gags, and puns you'll find in it. Moreover, you'll find Terry Jones' and Cheech Marin's incredible voice talents helping to breath life into this graphically beautiful adventure game. Accompanying the splendid graphics was marvelous music that tugged more at your funny bone than your heartstrings. The only possible downside to Blazing Dragons is it's length. The game's not short, but experienced graphic adventure gamers will finish the game in a few evenings--mileage may vary.

Blazing Dragons is a very funny game full of wit and humor. You'll encounter stingingly witty comments such as, "That's the Librarian, Miss PureFlame. To say she's a bit deaf is to say a tree is a bit wooden." Furthermore there are an amazing number of puns and one-liners that will make you either laugh or groan; there is no middle ground here. Then there are the silly circumstances that you stumble into which are embarrassing at times and absurd at others. (There's a point in the game where you'll have the chance be hypnotized into acting like a female dragon--it's rather suspect and silly!) While most of the games that claim to be funny only make me grin at times and maybe chuckle, Blazing Dragons had me laughing out loud. Have I mentioned that it's funny? ;^)

The graphics in BD are very good. The backgrounds were all hand-painted and then scanned into digital images displayed in 16-bit mode (65 thousand colors). The results are graphics that look better and are more beautiful than any PC equivalents currently available. The sprites defining each character's movements aren't as detailed as the backgrounds but they are still pretty good. There was a lot of attention to detail, evident by the animations placed into the environment to make it feel more alive. The rivers flow, the birds fly, and in one scene there was some really cool lightning in the background. Throughout the game the cartoon-like quality of the characters and their environment is consistent and well done.

Blazing Dragons When it comes to background music, Blazing Dragon is average. But the digital voices and the voice acting in Blazing Dragon were performed with the utmost professionalism. There are many Playstation games out with digital speech, but it's often accompanied with static in the background or is of low quality. In Blazing Dragons all speech was crystal clear. (Though you may want to turn on the text option in case you can't make out the words through the distinctly British accents.) The other major problem with some of the games with speech is poor voice acting. Crystal Dynamics made an excellent choice in getting Terry Jones and Cheech Marin to do much of the voice acting. While both voice actors do the voices for about 3+ characters, every voice is distinct and unique--a refreshing change!

One surprising innovation made in Blazing Dragons was in the save-games. Instead of eating up 1 save-game slot for each individual save-game you want, you can save up to 10 (yes, ten!) save games on 1 memory card slot. I hope other game designers learn and read about this and adopt this programming technique.

The only downside to Blazing Dragons is it's length--advanced game players will find the game to be a bit short. The game is aimed at the beginner to intermediate graphic adventure gamer and for them they'll get a lot of gameplay out of it. Advanced adventure game players will be able to finish Blazing Dragons in a few evenings--albeit very funny and entertaining evenings. However, no matter how good you are at these types of games you'll want more simply because it's so good!

Blazing Dragons Blazing Dragons is a solid adventure game with some excellent comedy. The graphics are a treat for the eyes and the voice acting is truly entertaining. Though the game is a little on the easy side (the arcade sequences aren't very difficult at all) it's just plain fun. With the success of this title I expect to see a sequel. In the meantime you'd better get going and help Flicker save the land of Camelhot before the Humans succeed in their devious plans!

-- Louis Stice

Players: 1Password: Yes
Memory Card: Yes, 1 Block (Up to 10 save games in one block!)Link-Up: No
ESRB Rating: Kids-Adults

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