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Rise of the Dragon – Sega CD

Rise of the Dragon – Sega CD

rotd coverPlatform: Sega CD

Developer: Dynamix

Publisher: Sierra On-line

Release Date (NA): 1993

Genre: Graphic Adventure, Mystery, Point & Click

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

How to describe this game? The genre alone doesn’t do it much justice. Many of you might have known or played this game before its 1993 port to the Sega CD. Rise of the Dragon was originally released for DOS and Macintosh computers in 1990, then ported to the Amiga in 1991, and finally ported to the Sega CD in 1993. An odd and interesting type of graphic adventure game that features little to no FMV yet plays very similarly to many FMV interactive games, namely Voyeur for the CD-i. Although featuring no full motion video, Rise of the Dragon still features some comic-book-style-animated vignettes with shoddy sound effects and voice-overs, yet above average music.

Originally developed by Dynamix, a subsidiary of Sierra, Game Arts claims to be the Sega CD developers yet the game itself and cover rotd-segacd5art show otherwise. Dynamix is a little-known developer known for creating games in the simulator, sports, or war genre in the ‘90s. They would fall off the map almost entirely in the early 2000s. Sierra On-Line, however, is well-known for their brilliant creation of a Sony Playstation 1 icon… Crash Bandicoot and the never-forgotten Spyro the Dragon (not to be confused with the current Sega CD Rise of the Dragon game in which we are playing. Completely different dragon). Their development of the graphic-adventure stories in which we so fondly [remember?] was fueled by the hype for game-interactivity, which I preach on abundantly as video gaming companies all thought that interactive video games was the way of the future. In some way, they made a major and unforgettable impact on the history of video games as a whole, but technology and many ill-conceived (and poorly executed) FMV titles would lead to the complete demise of these genres. When the dust has settles and the smoke clears the air, what will we find at the bottom of this FMV interactive pile of rubble? The dragon always rises from the smoky pits layered with soft ash breathing scorching hot flames… Will the dragon rise again in…….. DUM DUM DUMMMMMM…. Rise of the Dragon.

 The year – 2053. The city – Los Angeles. Amid the foul air and dark, dangerous streets, a Dragon rises from the ashes of legend. Many fear him. Many fall before him. Only one will risk all to destroy him… and that one is you, “Blade” Hunter, Private Investigator.

As Blade, you must unlock the Dragon’s deadly secret while battling his gang of hired muscle. Fight with fists and weapons. Follow clues. Interrogate seedy informants. Use your guts and wits to bring down the Dragon and save the city from his evil ambitions.

Upon starting the game, I find myself immediately staring at a room (this appears to be a bedroom). Dark gray, light brown, black, androtd 5 dingy yellow coat the furniture, floors, and walls. The slow mysterious music fills my head with mysterious vigor as I freely roam the mouse cursor around the screen searching for clues (clues on how the hell to play Rise of the Dragon). With no introduction on the proper buttons to press, the true purpose of the game, or on what the hell I am supposed to do, I aimlessly wander my cursor over objects until it changes from an arrow to something else. I press the A button, and I’m left staring at some half naked dude. I press A again and I am back in the bedroom. Note that the C-button is your action button. The B-button gives you a hint as to what you are about to perform the action on. My bedroom has a sink and a bathroom plus clothes lying on the ground with a coat on the wall. I pick up the clothes and (with the A-button) dress my guy by placing them over his body and pressing the C-button. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

The bedroom is only the beginning of the story but it’s a good place to practice your buttons and learn how to play the game. The A-button brings up your home screen and in here you can manage your inventory, change the clothes on your buff-dude (or stare at his animated half-naked body, you pervs), save the game, or load a game. This home screen provides a number of great options and is a welcomed feature to a somewhat surprisingly intriguing game.

You can move from room to room by hovering the cursor over a door of some sorts or by hovering it sort of off-screen. A large “exit” rotd 6sign will pop up in place of your cursor providing you with the option to continue the story by exiting. Your apartment is located in a high-rise building and by exiting downstairs via the elevator, you can access the subway which will take you to a variety of places (including the inimitable Pleasure Dome). Each location provides you with information on how to unlock the Dragon’s Deadly Secret and stop him from his tyrannical destruction.

Rise of the Dragon plays more like a “create-your-own-ending” book than an FMV game or anything else. Each location is littered with scummy folks who all have some form of information for you. You are given options as to what words you will say to them. But you have to be careful what you say because if you burn too many bridges, you will never get the information you need. Once you piss someone off, they won’t talk with you any longer. But there is a lot of great information to pick up on. Just like a deep movie, you will need to pay attention to every detail and every word the characters say as they are all laced with clues. At first it is confusing because you don’t really know who or what you are looking for, but you will soon notice a pattern of familiar names being thrown around (such as The Jake and Chandra) and you can ask these guys repeated questions on the matter.

The story begins to thicken the more I interrogate the folks at the Pleasure Dome bar. They sure as hell don’t like me as they think I’m arotd cop, although I assure them that I’m not a cop… anymore. Even though the game is entirely comprised of still images, a heavy dose of adult material, language, and suggestive themes lends an MA-17 rating from the V.R.C. on this one. We spend our time in a bar talking to hookers and druggies, drunk old Chinese dudes on the street, and more. As the story continues, I start learning that I’m a terrible person and an apparent womanizer as it appears that I have hooked up with multiple women around town and get drunk at the Pleasure Dome a lot. So I can see the justification for the MA-17 rating.

Certain places in the game will be off-limits or inaccessible until you collect the right information or get a “key” from someone. And sometimes you won’t be able to get everything due to choosing the wrong response. The good thing is, you don’t really know what you’ve missed out on, so you don’t feel like you’ve missed out on anything in particular! While I would typically think of this is as a negative, it is kind of nice to feel like I haven’t made any missteps.

There are numerous endings to Rise of the Dragon, some of them are confusing as hell and others will straight up kill you. But sincerise of the dragon 3 this is a graphic novel where you can decide your own fate, it never really feels like a Game Over, even when technically it is! I died too soon a few times or burned too many bridges and couldn’t come back, but I was always so intrigued that I wanted to do more and continue the story again. One of the marvelous features of Rise of the Dragon is the save feature. Since the game can last quite some time, it’s a neat feature to help you pick up where you left off. AND, there are 3 save files too.

Overall, Rise of the Dragon is an interesting piece of video gaming history with some very great qualities and a decent replay value! The ever-changing story and different endings keep this game interesting through multiple plays, although there are some tedious steps you will have to go through a few times each way through. I was very pleased with the artistic approach to the scenery and characters but the crème de la crème is the music. It is mesmerizing and really sets the tone for a sci-fi story. The score is beyond superb and alone carries this game through its worst moments. Kudos to the composers. One of the downfalls of the game is the complete lack of any sort of motion. Occasionally a helicopter flies by or a person nods a head, but that’s really as far as it goes. The good thing about Rise of the Dragon is that it is easily found and won’t cost you more than $5 AFTER shipping and handling on Amazon. If you have some Dragon 1time to kill and want to get involved in a mysterious sci-fi investigation, go pick up this game! It’s worth it!

rise of the dragon 2Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry

What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

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One Comment

  1. Point-&-Click quality!

     

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