Rise of the Dragon

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Rise of the Dragon

Rise of the Dragon is set in Los Angeles in the year 2053.  It’s a surprisingly mature-themed game, with drug overdoses, criminal behavior, and gruesome deaths all important plot elements.  The player assumes the role of William “Blade” Hunter, a private detective tasked with quietly solving who gave the Mayor’s daughter a fatal dose of a new designer drug, MTZ.  It seems MTZ creates monsters by altering its users’ DNA, and the Mayor is very torqued that his daughter turned into one, but not enough to call for a public investigation.  That’s where Blade comes in.  Along the way, a dire threat to L.A. is uncovered involving MZT and the head of the Chinese mafia, Deng Hwang, “The Dragon.”

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This game was a visual masterpiece, with its game backgrounds and portraits all hand drawn by Robert Caracol, of Dark Horse Comics fame, and ran in 256-color VGA.  The critics agreed, and Rise of the Dragon received the “Special Award For Artistic Achievement” in 1991 by Computer Gaming World, arguably the most influential PC gaming magazine at the time of the game’s release.

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Rise of the Dragon plays out in a real-time environment.  Blade has only three game days to solve the mystery, and the clock is ticking.  Every action costs time, especially travelling from one area of the game map to another.  Strategic play is a must, here, as time of day is an important game element, and must be accounted for.  For instance, some locations are accessible only at certain times, such as City Hall.  More importantly, Blade isn’t a super-human, and needs sleep.  He’ll doze off around 1am every evening, no matter where he is.  This leads to the amusing instance of Blade collapsing on the street and falling asleep, which quickly loses its charm when you realize that he was robbed during the night and you’ve randomly lost important inventory items.  In short, it’s best to get Blade home before he turns into a pumpkin.

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The real-time environment also plays out in character interaction.  What Blade says and does to each character will influence his future interactions with them or their friends (or enemies).  This can have devastating effects on game play as a snide remark that seemed so appropriate at the time can limit Blade’s access to important game areas, and make the game’s ending untenable. Again, it’s best to save before any character interaction to avoid running into a dead end (or use the hint book…but I digress).

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Rise of the Dragon was a moderate success for Dynamix, neither setting the PC game sales charts on fire, nor being a dismal failure, and was released on several platforms: IBM-PC in 1990, Apple Macintosh and Commodore Amiga in 1991, and a modified version for Sega CD in 1993.  It sold well enough to warrant a sequel, Heart of China, set in the 1930s, but the sequel parade ended there.  Regardless of how it fared, Rise of the Dragon remains a classic PC game that the pcgamerverse has forgotten, but well-worth the time to replay!

Sonic CD

Sonic CD - Main Screen

Of course, this should’ve happened months ago but there are always things that come and go with our lives and other things. It’s finally here though and what better way to reach the one hundred mark than with an incredible game. A personal favorite if you ask me! Lets check Sonic CD out!

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The music of Sonic CD is something to admire. Not even the Sonic 3 soundtrack which was directed by Michael Jackson was good enough to surpass this. There might be different opinions on this matter but the fact is that this game has an incredible soundtrack! Don’t believe me? Just try it out for yourself!!

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The graphics are top notch for a 16 bit Sonic game. The game not only looks beautiful but it also has a 3D view at times especially when Sonic runs through some ramps. The angle switches and almost gives it a 3D look. There is plenty of color to see and lots of graphical beauties to admire. Well done Sega.

Sonic CD - Main Screen

What can you expect from a real good Sonic game? Great gameplay of course. The levels get challenging along the way but not too challenging to make you throw your controller against the wall. The levels stay fresh and offer new ideas which is why this has been one of the more enjoyable Sonic games ever released. You have to search for all the secrets and even try to acquire all the stones. Can you accomplish such tasks?

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The game has a great replay value. You can pick this game and beat it from start to finish and enjoy it every time. This is an example of why these games are referred to as “classics”. They are always a great experience to come back and challenge yourself over and over. Keep this one in your collection for sure!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDuk-wsY0rA[/youtube]

To conclude, the game is just a gem and probably one of the best Sonic games ever. After years of mediocre Sonic releases, we can always go back to this one and enjoy what Sonic was. Thank goodness for Sonic Generations reviving the franchise! Be sure to pick up Sonic CD to battle against Metal Sonic whenever you get a chance!! A must have!!

Silpheed

Silpheed - SegaCD

This time around we have a great masterpiece for the Sega CD called Silpheed. This is probably the best shmup for the short lived peripheral for many reasons which most of you must know already. Lets just say there wasn’t much support or great titles for the Sega CD but there were some unique and groundbreaking ones like Lunar, and Sonic CD. Silpheed is a shmup that starts you right in the action and never lets go. The gameplay is as solid as a shmup game can offer. There are some sorts of power ups which will make you think twice what to pick for your missions again in terms of powering up. The game has twelve stages according to the information I gathered but I’m not sure if there are any secret stages or bonus stages of some sort.

Silpheed - SegaCD

 

The games graphics are phenomenal for a Sega CD game. It just feels like there is so much going on and at some stages you’ll be looking at all the obstacles and be amazed at all the activity going on in a matter of seconds. It’s amazing what the Sega CD was able to accomplish which was awesome for its time.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecWv3RdTE4A[/youtube]

 

Overall, if you are a fan of shmups, you must get this one even if you have to get a Genesis and a Sega CD or better yet, get a CDX but those are a little too expensive. Also, don’t forget to check out the PS2 version of this game if you don’t want to get a whole new console. Of course, that version has PS2 graphics and all but you get the same experience as the Sega CD version.