So I’m about to leave EB Games one day, after searching through the store and not finding anything that superbly excited me, when I saw a sign that would forever change the course of the next few days: “Buy Two Used Games, Get One Free.” Not one to give up a video game bargain (even if there’s nothing in the store that superbly excites me), I searched again and came up with three titles to add to my collection. The ones I would actually pay fore ended up being Shenmue for Dreamcast and Eternal Darkness for GameCube, both games that had been recommended by various sources of video game knowledge
The third title, however—the one I got for free—I picked up solely because the cover looked funny and it sounded like a pretty awful game—the kind perfect for me to review. As you’ve probably guessed by reading the title of this review, that game was Blazing Dragons for Sony PlayStation, and as you’ve probably guessed if you’ve skipped ahead and looked at my ratings already, this game isn’t half as generic as its name suggests.
I spent the next two days playing this game, only having to look up the answers to puzzles a couple of times (which is good, for me). Although short for a point-and-click adventure game, Blazing Dragons is thoroughly enjoyable—more so than current games for that genre, such as Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon. Blazing Dragons is the story of a young dragon named Flicker who needs to become a knight and win this big contest in order to win the hand in marriage of the fair Princess Flame. If he fails to do this, Princess Flame will be forced to marry some stupid knight against her will, and that would totally suck. Most of the game involves you solving puzzles to obtain items to solve other puzzles to obtain items and so on, but there are a few minigames in there for your pleasure, too—one of which has you using a catapult to fling a feline at a cardboard castle.
Some may balk at the incredibly corny nature of this game’s humor, but I found it amusing, and it even made me laugh out loud a few times. Some of the characters in the game are voiced by Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) and Cheech Marin (of endless showings on Comedy Central of Cheech and Chong movies fame), so if you’re a fan of either of them, you might wanna consider looking into Blazing Dragons. While it isn’t as legitimately funny as the first three Monkey Island titles, I’m sure at least a few of you will get a chuckle or two out of the punny dialogue this game features.
The visuals are strikingly similar to those of classic LucasArts computer adventures, and the music and sound effects are as well. This is a good thing. Part of the charm of those games is their aesthetics, and this game delivers that charm in full force. Of course, it’s not as gorgeous as your Chrono Crosses and your Final Fantasy VIIIs, but these graphics go along with the genre almost perfectly. I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. They only place they falter is in the cutscenes; the visuals there, like in Dragon Warrior VII, go against the grain of the video game, and just don’t seem to fit with it that well. All the dialogue in this game is spoken, which is rather impressive for a PlayStation title, and the voice acting is surprisingly good. Especially for those who giggle at/are attracted to British accents. This is the adventure title for you!
The controls, like the graphics, are akin to the LucasArts adventures, so expect a lot of pointing and clicking. This works surprisingly well with the PlayStation controller, which makes me wonder why the newer adventure titles are trying to get away from it. The only way the controls would have worked better would be with a mouse, but they’re perfectly acceptable with your typical DualShock.
For all of you out there who want a classic adventure title for your PlayStation or PlayStation 2 console, pick up Blazing Dragons. The rest of you would probably get a kick out of it too, but it might be hard to pick up how the interface is structured at first. Some might be turned off by how short this game is; but since it doesn’t take a hundred hours to complete, you might be more inclined to play it more than once. This is a solid adventure title from the same people who published the Gex titles, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a cheap laugh. You cynical folk who laugh at nothing but the misfortune of others might wanna steer clear of it, though.