(Sega, April 1998)

Maybe you heard about this game, maybe not? Not only is it the one of rarest Sega Saturn game (there are only a limited 5,000-8,000 copies ever made so consider yourself lucky if you manage to find it) but it's also the best Sega Saturn game ever made in my opinion too. It's Sega's Panzer Dragoon Saga! The game is the third chapter in the semi-popular Panzer Dragoon series and unlike the first two arcade-like shooting games, this game has all new RPG elements with over 20 hours (if you're good enough) of game play and is a four disc long adventure of a young man named Edge and the mystical dragon who aids him on a dangerous quest.

Worst summer job ever!

At the start of the game, Edge is part of an archaeology/construction project team that is about to find something very important that day. They manage to dig up a strange girl frozen in stone and she is amazingly still alive as well. As they look in amazement of their discovery, they are suddenly attacked by a powerful army general named Crayman and his henchmen. Crayman's soldiers not only steal the girl in stone from you but they also kill everyone in sight. Every one of your friends is left for dead and you survive by a mere twist of fate after falling in a deep pit of water. After another near brush with death, Edge is saved by a huge and very unique dragon, the two of you become friends and now it's time for you start off the adventure to get revenge on Craymen. That's only half the story though and I'm not going to spoil the rest unless you got some cash ready.

The coolest thing about Panzer Dragoon Saga, besides the story of course, is the game's very unique battle system here. There is more strategy of character placement then most turn based RPG's. For example; your Dragon can fly around opponents to maybe expose a weakness or avoid certain attacks giving this game more freedom in battles than your typical strategy game. If that wasn't enough you also get this really cool 3 gauge system to use several different attacks, so if you fill only one gauge you can only fire your gun, dragon shot, or use a item, but if you wait a bit more you and you fill up 2 or 3 gauges you'll be able to unleash more powerful magic and certain berserk attacks so the dragoon can dish out more damage for ultimate pwnage! You sure have tons of options in this game and that's why I love it.

Sometimes you have to explore the inside of the enemy's Air ships!

I didn't know my Saturn games could look good?

The game also pushes the graphics to the limits of the old 32-bit Sega Saturn here. The game is tons of computer generated movies and the actual adventure is filled with stunning real time visuals like the morphmation effects of your dragon when you get the ability to transform it plus who can forget about the beautiful and original fantasy backdrops you can fly over. You'll also see tons detail of the many monsters in the game and you'll even encounter other unfriendly dragons too. I also loved the various water and wave effects which are also rich in detail.

The story is bought to live thanks to the unusual but fitting German/Japanese dialogue (with English subtitles of course) which adds to movie like feel of this amazing game. Let's not forget about the game's sensational soundtrack. Boss music sounds intense, towns are relaxing, and the effects really stand out. Some of the music is not only amazing, it's absolutely unforgettable.

The Final Saga?

As much as I love this game there are a few flaws. First there are not a lot of towns, cities, or items when compared to the many other popular role playing games like Final Fantasy. Secondly some of the dungeons can be long and tedious especially if you don't have any kind of maps. Other than that, Panzer Dragoon Saga is so damn good that it easily rivals other RPG's like Dragon Quest, and Phantasy Star games as one of the best RPG's ever! The graphics are highly artistic, the music is simply incredible, and even the game play is quite addictive. The fact that you can still find this rare on eBay for $100US is a bargain for such an awesome game, and a hope Sega makes another RPG sequel some time in the future. I know it can be hard to get but Panzer Dragoon Saga should not be missed.


*Rare Saturn game

overall rating: 95/100
Find Panzer Dragoon Saga on eBay here!

For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen

graphics: 9/10
sound: 9/10
gameplay: 10/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2001

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