Iconic shoot them up from the time of the Sega Saturn, Panzer Dragoon is finally entitled to its remake. And it is to the small Polish studio MegaPixel that the work was entrusted …
Released in 1995 on Saturn, Panzer Dragoon did not have the expected success. This little-known shoot them up from the Japanese publisher’s catalog has nevertheless had several sequels. The latest episode, Panzer Dragoon Orta, was released exclusively on Xbox in 2002. The chances of seeing a new installment one day were slim. Sega, however, surprised its fans by allowing several independent studios to re-explore its cult franchises. This is how the excellent Streets of Rage 4 was born at the start of the year. The title had been entrusted to a small French indie studio. For Panzer Dragoon, the Polish studio MegaPixel took over the project.
The Poles of MegaPixel have chosen to remain very faithful to the base material by simply modernizing the graphics of the game and its handling. So don’t expect a complete overhaul of every aspect of the game, which in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing for fans. From a technical point of view, the game was treated to a nice graphic overhaul with 3D environments, completely revised models and very nice special effects. The rendering is generally rather attractive, even if all the environments are not of the same level. We can also clearly blame the game for a certain lack of finish with a lot of small graphic bugs – in particular, creatures that pass through sections of the scenery. Nothing very serious in itself, but we feel that the developers did not have time to finalize everything.
The gameplay is also entitled to some small tweaks with the support of the double-stick on the consoles, which still offers much more precision than at the time. Panzer Dragoon remains a very accessible shoot them up, in which the player moves on a rail. You can steer the dragon from left to right on the screen and up and down, but you don’t actually manage its direction. Movement on the screen is mainly used to avoid fire from enemies that appear in the four corners of the screen. The player can of course retaliate using his blaster, by small blows or by bursts by “locking” a series of enemies. The originality of the title comes that it will be necessary to keep an eye permanently on the radar because in Panzer Dragoon, the threats can come from all the sides and it will be necessary to regularly look around you to duck the enemies coming from all the sides. Boss fights are also part of the game, with patterns to study.
It’s simple, but terribly fun. This remake of Panzer Dragoon retains all the elements that contributed to the success of the series and those deliciously 90’s vibes. It’s a very accessible arcade shoot ’em up that will appeal to both fans of the genre and the general public. So yes, of course, we can blame it for its short lifespan. Count 1 hour max to overcome the 7 levels that make up the campaign. We will come back to it for a second or even a third run, but hardly more given the absence of scoring or alternative game modes. Very clearly, this is where the bottom hurts. The replay value of the game is low and the developers haven’t bothered to bring more new features. At € 24.99, the bill is therefore relatively steep for a remake which is nevertheless very pleasant. The real problem is that the pricing is too high.
That being said, don’t let its light content cool you down. This remake of Panzer Dragoon brilliantly brings up to date a classic shoot ’em up, full of charm with its dark fantasy universe, its very rich soundtrack and its superb artistic direction. It’s hard not to fall under his spell.
The real mistake of the Polish studio will ultimately be to have wanted to develop this remake of the first part separately from the second episode. Considering their meager lifespan, a compilation of the two opus would have made much more sense. Still, if you are fans of the genre, it’s hard to miss this excellent title, which is also one of the very few representatives of 3D shoot them up still alive. Fans will certainly find their happiness there. For others, it is better to wait for a nice promotion to crack because very clearly, you will probably not spend more than a few hours.
Stingy in content, this remake of Panzer Dragoon nonetheless remains very faithful to the basic material and brilliantly brings a classic shoot ’em up up to date. More accessible than other games of the genre, Panzer Dragoon shines with the charm of its universe, its seductive soundtrack and the fun that emerges from clashes. Boss fights are intense and require good reflexes on the part of the player. The adventure remains short-lived, however. Allow an hour of play to see the end of it. The replayability is also quite light, given the absence of an alternate game mode. Quite clearly, the game should have been priced less. At 24.99 €, it is still very expensive the two hours of play. Fans of the genre will not however spit on this nice entertainment, which failing to put us in our eyes and keep us glued to the pad during hours, has the merit of being fun to navigate and offering delightfully 90’s entertainment.
- Some very pretty environments
- A remake of great fidelity to the original
- Always so fun gameplay
- The charming universe of the series
The – :
- 2 short hours of play
- Too high a price (€ 24.99)
- A risk-free remake
- No additional game mode to prolong the fun …