DragonStrike is the rare Dungeons & Dragons title on the NES with limited role-playing mechanics.
As the title implies, you control a dragon and you strike. There are three dragons to choose from, Bronze (good for beginners), Silver (fast, but weak), and Gold (strong, but slow), each with their own attacks. The dragon moves like a kamikaze bomber after a few drinks. He can fly around anywhere on the screen, which is wonderfully freeing, but his maneuvers are hard to control, thanks to the chunky D-pad.
As you fly, you alternate between high and low planes. High planes keep you from getting hit by walls and ground enemies. In order to kill certain enemies, however, you’ll need to venture lower. Missions always end once you’ve destroyed a fortress, which is hard to do. All the projectiles flung at you are impossible to avoid without tons of practice. The dragon begins the game with a partially-filled life bar, and only a couple bullets or Neanderthal-heaved rocks will take you down completely. Playing on the Easy setting helps quite a bit, as your health doesn’t go down as quickly and enemies don’t take as long to shoot.
DragonStrike wanteth not any scrubs. Even with its flaws, though, it’s still the best NES D&D title by a long shot.
DragonStrike is one of four Dungeons & Dragons titles for the NES (five if you count the Famicom-exclusive Dragons of Flame), and as we just wrote, it is by far the best of the lot. The game originally released for the Amiga, Commodore 64, and the PC in 1990 before heading over to Japan in 1992 for the PC98 and X68000. The computer versions are supposedly quite different than the NES port, in that they are not top-down shooters. Good for Westwood Associates understanding that the NES audience preferred action games over fantasy RPGs.
PUBLISHER: Pony Canyon DEVELOPER: Westwood Associates
GENRE: Shooter/RPG RELEASE DATE: 07/1992 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Amiga, C64, PC, PC98, X68000