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FLYING DRAGON: The secret scroll

NES

Culture Brain

1989

 

 

One of the few games I actually owned back in the day. Mixing side scrolling, one-on-one fighting, and RPG elements, Flying Dragon: The secret scroll tries to do a lot but manages to accomplish very little. But still this game gets an A for effort.

The story is of the usual kung fu-type, you are a kid named Ryuhi and the bad guys (called "Tusk soldiers") show up at your dojo and rip off some sacred scrolls, and you have to get them back.

Half of the game has you transversing side scrolling levels, beating up bad guys as you go, who as they do in games of this type just keep comming. Each level has several mid bosses and end bosses. It's fun for a little while until you realize that there's really not much to it. The enemies just walk at you until you kill them. You can jump all high on top of buildings and stuff but there's really no platforming elements, so there's no reason to. The mid and end bosses seem to be all the same for each level, you get the same powerups in roughly the same places, etc. A little more variation here would have been nice.

After the side scrolling levels you fight in tournaments, which usually involve the last guy you fight turning into a demon or something which you kill and get the scroll for that level. These scenes are a little more involved (although somewhat slow moving, but this was pre-Streetfighter after all,) you can bust three types of punches and kicks (high, medium, and low) plus you can counter in the same way. The fights involve defending a weak spot on yourself and attacking it on your opponent which appears as a red dot. This gives these levels a lot more technique than the others, but the problem is you can't knock out the opponent without hitting him in this weakspot no matter how much you beat his ass in the fight. So even though you can do all these crazy jump kicks what ends happening is that you stand in one place right in front of the other guy and play a guessing game as to where the weakspot will appear next. Then on some guys you have to do this crazy flying kick move to knock them out, even if they have no energy left, but if you screw it up you have to wait until the red dot appears again....etc.....

Graphics aren't bad, but aren't that good either. Your legs look disproportionate in the side scrolling levels and the bad guys look flat. In the tournament levels you look better but animate like crap, sometimes two step animations are used. This was the same year SMB3 came out so don't tell me the NES couldn't handle better animation. Sound and control are decent however.

The problem with this game is that it tries to do too much and thus doesn't accomplish anything. You can do all kinds of crazy kicks and punches and crap including one called the hyru-no-something-or-other where you fly around the screen then kick someone in the face. But it's just as effective to stand in one place and repeatedly hit the A button until the other guy dies. You get more powers and abilites as the game progresses, but never encounter any opportunity to use any of them. The game is interesting but I doubt most people used to modern play mechanics will get much enjoyment out of it.

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