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Flying Dragon

Rated T for Teen

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Natsume

Developer:

Culture Brain

Released:

October 1998

ROM Size:

96 megabits

Players:

One to Two Simultaneous

Genre:

2D and 3D Fighting

Save:

Controller Pak (47 pages)

Optional:

Rumble Pak

 

 

> Final Rating: 2.4 out of 5.0

Introduction

Let's face it, fighting games have not been a strength of the N64. We have the likes of Killer Instinct Gold, Fighters Destiny, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S., Dark Rift, Mortal Kombat 4, and Deadly Arts. Other people get the Tekken and Virtua Fighter games. Even the Toshinden series (PlayStation) is much better than most of what N64 owners got. Is there no justice in the world? Apparently not, because Flying Dragon, developed by Culture Brain, does nothing to reverse the trend.

Gameplay & Control

Flying Dragon tries to fill a niche on N64 in typical Natsume style. It features several different modes of play, completely customizable gameplay, and a unique "role-playing fighting" system for one its game modes. Unfortunately, it does nothing to take advantage of the power of N64. One can't help but think this game could be done on the Super NES.

 

Two fighting modes, SD Hiryu and Virtual Hiryu, are at the core of Flying Dragon. The SD Hiryu mode, which features super-deformed characters, is where the RPG aspects come in. The Virtual Hiryu mode is the supposed more realistic fighting system.

 

Before discussing the differences in the game modes, it should be mentioned that each fighting style features nearly the same modes. You can choose from Circuit Mode, Versus Mode, Tournament Mode, Group Battle, and Practice. Config and Option modes exist, too. The Config mode lets you change your controller configuration. The Option mode lets you change options such as difficulty, time, number of rounds, and sound.

 

The SD Hiryu game mode puts a unique spin on your typical fighting game. Before entering the Circuit mode, you can equip items—one offensive, one defensive, and two special. Then you are entered into a tournament competition where you must beat four fighters before reaching the semi-final battle. If you lose the semi-final match, then you battle one more time for third place. If you win the semi-final match, then you go to the final battle where you'll get first or second place.

 

Keeping with the RPG theme, you'll have short conversations with the fighters before and after each fight. As you beat the competition along the way, you'll gain experience points for your current items and credits to buy new items. Your current items may evolve, or you even may win new treasure items.

 

You can keep entering the Circuit mode repeatedly—win or lose—to continue to evolve your fighter and to gain more of the approximately 200 treasure items. You even can trade treasure items with a friend. With 47 pages on a Controller Pak, the game will keep track of everything.

 

With the super-deformed fighters in the SD Hiryu mode, the fighting doesn't differ as much you'd expect. The speed and types of moves are nearly identical to the Virtual Hiryu mode. The fighting takes place on a 2D plane, although the view is 3D, and the action seem seems to be more "hands-on," meaning there's more body contact and fewer projectile attacks. For whatever reason, the default round time of 60 seconds is too short. You'll often find that time will be over before someone is knocked out. In this case, the person with less energy is the loser.

 

The Virtual Hiryu mode is considered the more realistic fighting simulation. Well, not really. Basically, instead of using and gaining treasure items, you will be graded on your fighting techniques. Some areas considered include attack, defense, stamina, combos, time, and more. The fighters are also more human-like with fewer fantasy-like moves.

 

Interestingly, you have the choice to fight in 2D or 3D in the Virtual Hiryu mode. The 2D mode doesn't feature a rotating background or sidestepping. The 3D mode does include sidestepping as well as some extra special moves. Both modes, however, don't seem as responsive as the SD Hiryu mode.

 

Just like all treasure items, experience, match results, etc., are saved in the SD Hiryu mode, grade reports are saved for all characters for both the 2D and 3D modes. Therefore, you can find out where you need to improve.

 

It will take some time to get used to the control in Flying Dragon. First off, you can use either the Control Pad or Control Stick. Like other fighting games on N64, you'll be better off with the Control Pad. The A button is a kick and the B button is a punch. Top C uses item 1 and Right C uses item 2. The R button is guard. The L and Z buttons are used to sidestep. Bottom C is a special technique and Left C is a "secret buster." The "secret buster" corresponds with a special meter on the screen. Each time it fills up, you'll be able to perform an additional "secret buster" move.

Graphics & Sound

Graphically, Flying Dragon is quite understated. Different background graphics and character models were included for both the SD and Virtual Hiryu modes. But, overall, the graphics don't look much better than a 16-bit Super NES game.

 

The polygon models are simple and have a limited amount of animation. No special effects were used to take advantage of the N64. The backgrounds are downright awful sometimes; they look like an amateur artist drew them. Furthermore, the three-dimensional polygon graphics weren't put to good use, either, as any camera rotation or close-up is simple and quick.

 

The audio side is equally poor. The music doesn't sound much improved from Culture Brain's games back in the 8-bit NES days. Sound separation is negligible, and the sample quality of instruments doesn't sound better than a $20 keyboard. There is some voice sampling, but it's quick Japanese exclamations.

Conclusion

If you can get past the outdated and underwhelming presentation, Flying Dragon is an OK fighting game…for Nintendo 64. On any other system, Flying Dragon would be considered extremely weak. On the N64, an innovative and somewhat fun SD Hiryu fighting mode saves it. You'd have to be a fan of super-deformed characters or Pokémon-type collecting and trading, though. Save your money for something else.

 

Graphics:

1.7

Sound:

1.4

Control:

2.3

Gameplay:

2.8

Lastability

2.6

OVERALL:

2.4

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Not available.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: May 29, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A

 

 

 

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