Panzer Dragoon

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

I don’t know about you all but the Sega Saturn is almost like a black hole in my gaming knowledge. I’ve never known anyone personally who owned one. Due to it being difficult to emulate, I’ve never played or even seen many of the games on the console. Plus, in the United States, the console and games are still quite expensive, with many Saturn games exceeding $100 online in box. This just means, though, that it’s all the more exciting to hunt through this untapped cache of games for hidden gems. Today’s game is one of those gems. Today’s game is Panzer Dragoon, developed by Sega and released on the Sega Saturn in 1995.

Panzer Dragoon creates a detailed world thousands of years in the future. Humans have gained the ability to create biological weapons and used these monstrous creations to wage war. Humanity all but wiped itself out and the monstrosities they created started to run wild. The last survivors have begun to rebuild, creating tribes and even some small nations but after the burgeoning Empire is corrupted by the power of ancient weapons, war seems likely to ravage the world again.

Players play as Keil Fluge, a boy who stumbles upon a blue dragon who is trying to stop a black dragon from reaching an ancient tower. After the dragon saves Keil’s life, he joins the dragon on its quest. Panzer Dragoon plays as an on-rails shooter, reminiscent of Star Fox or Space Harrier. Riding on the dragon, players can move up, down, left, and right on the screen but are constantly moving forward towards their goal. Unlike those previous games mentioned, however, enemies can attack from all sides, so players have to keep watch in front, to their sides, and behind the blue dragon.

Panzer Dragoon has six levels to shoot through with cutscenes telling the story along the way. When it originally released in 1995, critics were mostly positive about the game but were mixed on various aspects. The game was quite short, with a full playthrough only taking a couple of hours. That said, the story was strong and the gameplay was highly praised. Many critics debated whether the game was too short or too easy for players to justify the cost of the game. They also were often positive about the game but also would say that it was too much like games that have come before.

Ultimately, Panzer Dragoon’s sales would fall below expectations, likely due to the slow sales of the Sega Saturn itself. Still, Sega kept the faith and commissioned a sequel right away. Panzer Dragoon would wind up having four main entries in the series, along with spin-offs for the Game Gear and even the Tiger R-Zone. It was announced by Sega in 2018 that the first two games in the Panzer Dragoon series would be getting HD remakes on the Switch, set to come out Winter of 2020.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.