- The Legend of Dragoon
The Legend of Dragoon
North American box art
Developer(s) SCEI Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment Designer(s) Yasuyuki Hasebe Composer(s) Takeo Miratsu, Dennis Martin Platform(s) PlayStation, PlayStation Network Release date(s) PlayStation
- JP December 22, 2010
Genre(s) Console role-playing games Mode(s) Single-player Rating(s) Media/distribution 4 CD-ROMs, download (PSN)
The Legend of Dragoon is a console role-playing game developed and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. It was released in Japan on December 2, 1999, in North America on June 11, 2000, and on January 19, 2001 in Europe. Despite mixed critical reception, the game has amassed a very large fanbase following, including several online petitions for a remake, prequel or sequel.
The Legend of Dragoon features three modes of play: the world map, the field map, and battle mode. The world map is linear with the controlled character's movements, which is then limited to dotted lines from place to place. The field map is used whenever the player enters a town, dungeon, or landmark. It consists of 3D characters on a 2D pre-rendered background. Animations are overlaid to create motion such as the movement of water or light effects. Battle mode is a 3D field that compliments the current field map. Turn-based battles occur in this between playable characters and CPU-controlled enemies. Standard actions such as attack, magic, defend, item and escape are present and implemented in various ways.
The Additions combat system was a new system that was implemented in The Legend of Dragoon which crossed a new boundary within turn based combat games. While new and challenging, the Addition system was criticized for requiring too much precision at times, especially later on near the end of the game where Additions became more complex and required more speed and hand-eye coordination. After a party member obtained a Dragoon Spirit, they would also gain Spirit Points (SP) from the successful completion of these Additions, which would allow them to use their Dragoon Spirits in battle.
Additions, like characters, could become stronger with repeated use, granting added benefits such as more damage or more Spirit Points gained per strike. All but two playable characters in the game can use Additions, with each character having varying speeds to their attacks, making their Additions harder or easier to execute than others.
Items in The Legend of Dragoon are very similar to those found in other various RPGs. There are many items available to the player, each having their own use from healing potions to items that will cause damage during battles. These items can either be purchased from merchants within the game or can be found or dropped during battles that take place.
Like the Addition system, the item system received a unique change which set it apart from other games of its type. Combat items take the shape of various attack spells, attuned to one of the game's seven elemental affinities (or in rare cases, no element at all) and categorized by their ability to target a single enemy or group of enemies. These items are further diversified by whether or not they carry the "multi" trait: combat items flagged as "multi" may have their damage amplified via the player's rapid button pressing during combat, while those without the "multi" flag deal a set amount of damage based on the target's (or targets') stats. Meanwhile, healing items eschew the set HP and MP restoration values of curatives in contemporary games, instead recovering points based on percentage values in a similar method to Tales of Phantasia's healing items.
A total of 32 combat and restorative items may be carried by the player at any time, with a notable exception arising from differences in the game's release: a minigame made playable with use of the Pocketstation enables players of the Japanese version of the game to acquire the "Dabas' Shiny Bag" Goods Item, which doubles the maximum capacity for consumable items; the item and all code related to its acquisition was removed from North American and European versions of the game, presumably in recognition of the Pocketstation not being released outside of Japan. Paradoxically, players are capable of amassing an inventory of up to 255 equipment items in all releases, separate from either consumable limit.
The final category of items, known as "Goods", is equivalent to "key items" in other games of the genre. This category encompasses everything from the Dragoon Spirits enabling each playable character to transform into the eponymous Dragoons, to various incidental items acquired and used within certain Field Maps. The Goods inventory is presumably infinite, save for the minor or major plot significance determining an item's inclusion in this category.
All playable characters eventually receive a Dragoon Spirit. This item allows a character to transform into a more powerful form, a Dragoon. There are different Dragoon Spirits that have different elements, including light, fire, earth, thunder, wind, water, dark, and non-elemental. Each element has an opposite, such as fire and water; such elements inflict double damage upon each other. The only exceptions are thunder and non-elemental, neither of which receive nor do more damage to any specific element. Upon transforming, physical and magical attack and defense stats are increased; characters also have access to powerful magic spells that use Magic Points (MP) rather than carried items. The character loses the ability to use items, guard or escape while in Dragoon form, and reverting to normal human form becomes possible only through the defeat of the enemies in the battle, the exhaustion of the character's Spirit Points (SP), or the depletion of the character's hit points (HP).
There are two gameplay options as a Dragoon: attack and magic. The Addition system is implemented via a clocklike timing sight. The player is required to press the x button when the rotating dial returns to the twelve o'clock position after each of the possible five rotations. Successfully completing all rotations yields maximum attack damage. This system determines attack damage prior to the attack, rather than the normal addition system which takes place throughout a normal attack.
Each character has a unique list of magic spells based upon their particular element. Casting these spells requires MP, which can be recovered by resting at inns, by using items, or by equipping the Mage Ring, which recovers a fraction of total MP per turn. These spells have a % modifier attached and will be more powerful when used to target an enemy affiliated with an opposing element.
When all three characters in the party reach their maximum SP during normal combat, a command called Special (symbolized by a Yin Yang) will appear. Using this command will transform all three characters into Dragoon mode simultaneously, and the battle background will change into a pattern associated with the element of the character that used the command. For the character that used the command, their Dragoon Addition will be automatically completely successful, in addition to an increase in their attack and defense stats throughout the character's Dragoon form. If a Dragoon of the opposing element is present in the character's party, that character's attack and defense will be lowered slightly. Once the character that used the command reverts to human form, either by depletion of SP or HP, the background changes back to normal.
Multiple use items
Various multiple use items can be found throughout the game that will increase stats or cause certain effects for three consecutive turns. These items can be used once per battle and reappear in the selectable inventory come the next battle. These items consist of the Material Shield and Magic Shield, which makes one ally invunerable to physical attacks and magical for three turns, respectively; the Power Up and Speed Up items, which double the power or speed of one ally for three turns, respectively; the Pandemionum, which forces an enemy to attack one ally for three turns, the Speed Down, which halves the speed of an enemy for three turns, the Magic Sig(net) Stone, which blocks a minor enemy's actions for three turns, the Power Down, halving an enemy's attack and defense for three turns, the Smoke Ball, which guarantees escape from battle, and the Psyche Bomb X, a non elemental multi hit attack item which is the strongest in the game.
In the game, stardust is described as "a magical wishing stone", and whoever can obtain it will have their dreams come true. The game keeps a tally of how many stardust the player finds throughout the game, which is shown on the menu screen as well as the save screen. Stardust can be found in all sorts of places over the course of the game. As the player accumulates stardust, a traveler named Martel will give rewards in exchange. There are fifty total stardust. After collecting them all, Martel gives the player many items after collecting at least ten stardust, there are five items available, and after getting all the stardust the Vanishing Stone is the final prize in exchange, which also gives the player the opportunity to face Magician Faust, the game's optional superboss.
The game takes place on the fictional continent of Endiness. It is a geographically diverse land, with each climate zone being home to a different nation. The game begins in Serdio, a temperate region that is undergoing a civil war at the beginning of the game. West of Serdio is the desert nation of Tiberoa, west of Tiberoa is the barren desert known as the Death Frontier, north of Serdio are the icy regions of Gloriano and Mille Seseau, with Mille Seseau being a forested mountain, while Gloriano is a snowy desert.
The story begins when Dart, the protagonist, is heading home from a five-year-long journey to pursue the Black Monster, who killed his parents and destroyed his birth city: Neet. On the way, he is attacked by Feyrbrand, a dragon controlled by the Sandora, a rebel faction in the Serdian civil war. After Dart gets hit by the dragon, he gets saved by a mysterious female heroine named Rose, though they soon part ways. When he arrives at his hometown, Seles, he discovers that it has been destroyed by Sandora, and that Shana, Dart’s childhood friend (and later in the game, his love interest), has been taken away. Dart sets out to rescue her. Throughout the game, he is periodically joined by people that he helps along the way.
After rescuing Shana from Hellena prison with the help of the recently escaped Lavitz Slambert, the trio make their escape to the plains. Continuing their journey to reach Basil, the trio pass through a cave and encounter a snake-like monster known as Urobolus. The monster is defeated by Shana from a mysterious projected light that is emitted from her forehead, leaving the trio confused and the mystery around Shana's powers to begin. When the trio reaches Basil, they go and meet the king to explain the incident at Hellena. King Albert sends the party to defend the fort-city of Hoax against attacks from Sandora. Among the attacking Sandora is Kongol, the last survivor of a race of giants known as the Gigantos. It is in his battle with Kongol that Dart first gains his ability to transform into a Dragoon using a memento from his father that he found after his death, now revealed as the Dragoon Spirit of the Red-Eyed Dragon with the help of Rose. Kongol is injured, but survives and retreats. With the fort safe, they travel to the city of Lohan. In the city, they meet a man named Lloyd in the Heroes Tournament, supposedly the greatest swordsman in the world. Later they discover that he kidnapped King Albert and took the Moon Gem from him, an ancient artifact held by the Royal Family. Lavitz desperately tries to save King Albert, but is killed by Lloyd's Dragon Buster, a sword created by the Winglies to kill Dragons. The king is rescued and joins the party in Lavitz's place, but Lloyd gets away with the Moon Gem.
They soon discover that Lloyd is gathering other artifacts held by human kings since the days of the Wingly Empire, and at the same time, causing disasters in the lands that he visits. While the party tries to reverse Lloyd’s work, Lloyd manages to obtain all three of the artifacts. Lloyd also releases and weakens the Divine Dragon, the most powerful dragon in the world. Dart and the party finish the dragon off, but Lloyd obtains its Dragoon spirit. Dart and the party finally manage to defeat Lloyd, who then agrees to take them to Emperor Diaz, ancient Emperor of Gloriano during the Dragon Campaign. After apparently betraying and killing Lloyd, Emperor Diaz reveals several things to the party.
During the height of the Wingly Empire over eleven thousand years ago, a creature called the Virage Embryo, also known as the God of Destruction, came to the world to end all other life. Before it could be born, the Winglies used their magical power to separate its body from its soul, making it unable to destroy them. They then cast the body into the sky, where it became the Moon That Never Sets, and sealed it using several magical Signets, one in each of the ancient Wingly cities, to prevent the soul and body from reuniting. The soul of the God of Destruction was originally placed inside the Crystal Sphere, which was worn by the ancient Wingly ruler Melbu Frahma to increase his power. However, during the Dragon Campaign, when the Dragoons assaulted Kadessa, the flying capital city of the Ancient Winglies, the Crystal Sphere was shattered during the fight between Melbu Frahma and Zieg Feld, leader of the Dragoons.
Ever since, the soul of the God of Destruction has wandered the Earth and, every one hundred and eight years, possesses the body of a human child(known as the Moon Child) in an attempt to return to its body. The body can be summoned if the Signets are destroyed, which can be done using the immense magical power contained within the artifacts that Lloyd gathered, called the Divine Moon Objects. Emperor Diaz then reveals himself to be Zieg Feld, Dart's father and leader of the Dragoons that fought in the Dragon Campaign. After Zieg defeated Melbu Frahma, Melbu cast a spell that both petrified Zieg and kept Melbu's spirit alive within Zieg's dragoon spirit. Thousands of years later the petrification wore off, and Zieg settled down to start a family in Neet. Finally, it is revealed that Rose was both Zieg's lover and fellow Dragoon during the Dragon Campaign, and was granted immortality by the remaining Winglies in order to kill the Moon child every 108 years, and has since become known as the Black Monster. Rose destroyed Neet in an effort to locate and kill the Moon Child, although Zieg reveals that the child Rose killed was the twin sister of the actual Moon Child, Shana, whom he then kidnaps.
Zieg flees and proceeds to destroy the remaining three Signet Spheres that seal the Moon That Never Sets, causing it to fall from the sky and land on the Divine Tree. He then carries Shana to the body of the God of Destruction, so that the body will sense the presence of its soul and prepare to restore itself. The party arrives to stop Zieg, who steals the Red Dragoon Spirit back from Dart and fights the party. After his defeat, it is revealed that years ago, Zieg attempted to use his Dragoon Spirit to fight the Black Monster attacking Neet, but Melbu Frahma emerged and possessed him. Frahma unites with the body himself, taking the form and power of the God of Destruction. Zieg is released from Frahma’s possession, and aids the party in their attempt to defeat Melbu. Lloyd arrives to confront Frahma himself and puts up a valiant effort before being killed. In his final moments he passes on the Spirit of the Divine Dragon to Dart and the Dragon Buster to Rose. The party defeats Melbu Frahma with Lloyd's gifts, but at the cost of Rose and Zieg, who sacrifice themselves to destroy Frahma. Everyone else is able to return home to live their own lives.
The main playable characters in The Legend of Dragoon are also the titular Dragoons. While there are nine playable characters and eight Dragoon Spirits, there will never be more than seven selectable characters at one time. Due to storyline events, characters Lavitz Slambert and Shana are replaced by Albert and Miranda, respectively. Both acquire the stats, abilities, and the Dragoon Spirit of the character they replace, although Albert uses different timing from Lavitz for his Additions. The final party will consist of Dart, Rose, Albert, Haschel, Meru, Kongol, and Miranda.
Several villains are pursued over the course of the game, but the two predominant ones are Lloyd and Zieg. These villains are also capable of using Dragoon Spirits: Greham, Doel, Lenus and Melbu Frahma with his soul possessing Zieg Feld. Also, there is a sidequest in which the player has to fight the four Dragoons that died in the Dragon Campaign to free their souls; these Dragoons are Belzac, Syuveil, Kanzas and Damia. All use Dragoons Spirits in battle, although they do not have the Dragoon Spirits themselves. Ultimately, the party fights Melbu Frahma, the Wingly Dictator in the body of the God of Destruction.
According to the game's jewel case, the game took three and a half years to develop with a team of over 100 members. In the closing credits of The Legend of Dragoon is revealed between the development team the name of Polyphony Digital responsible for the cutscenes and scenes of computer graphics in the game.
Reception Aggregate scores Aggregator Score GameRankings 78% (26 reviews) Metacritic 74 of 100 (12 reviews) Review scores Publication Score Famitsu 31 of 40 GamePro 5 of 5 GameSpot 6.4 of 10 IGN 7.0 of 10
The Legend of Dragoon received mixed to positive reviews. The game was praised for its graphics and cinematics. However, the combo system was criticized for requiring too much precision, while the titular element of Dragoon transformation was deemed inconsequential to gameplay. The game's battles were considered repetitious due to an excessive frequency of random encounters. Gamespot in particular was quite critical of the game, awarding it a score of 6.4 ('Fair'). Reviewer Peter Bartholow called it a "highly generic RPG" and stated that the game "borrows too heavily from other games and lacks that "hook" to make it worth dealing with excessive defending."
User reaction sharply contrasted this, and the game currently holds an average user score of 8.9 ('Great') on Gamespot and 9.1 on IGN. PSM has said in several issues that The Legend of Dragoon deserves a sequel. The Legend of Dragoon also placed first in a fan review of the Top 10 Most Underrated Games on the gaming website Gamespot. The Legend of Dragoon was named one of the top 128 games of the decade by GameFAQs in their bracket for Game Of The Decade 2000-2009.
On December 22, 2010 Sony released The Legend of Dragoon on the Japanese PlayStation Network. No release dates for any other region have been announced, though petitions are currently being posted on Sony's web site. 
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- ^ "Legend of Dragoon". IGN. 2000-06-13. http://psx.ign.com/articles/163/163238p1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-10. "Lovely backgrounds, amazing CG, and some very impressive 3D bosses (the Divine Dragon is something else). Very high marks here."
- ^ "Legend of Dragoon". IGN. 2000-06-13. http://psx.ign.com/articles/163/163238p1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-10. "The Addition system demands too much precision combined with too much repetition, and the Dragoon transformations are pretty, but often superfluous."
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