Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
One day the decadent and technologically advanced S-CITY (Sequential Circuit City) became wrapped in a mantle of eerie, dark clouds. And so the city fell into an eternal night from which it seemed destined to never wake up...
However, not long ago a giant ray of light struck the city and tore apart the clouds that surrounded it. But as the dark clouds slowly dispersed, the energy that had fell into the city started twisting the minds of the citizens. Some became mad and violent, while others were transformed into wicked creations from Makai...
The authorities realised that the city was under attack but did not know who the enemy was. They sent the elite federal soldiers to investigate but unfortunately they were slaughtered before they were able to learn anything.
Only the body of a young soldier named 「KAY KURTZE」was recovered from the failed expedition. In a desperate maneuver to save the city from total destruction. KAY's body was reconstructed to that of a cyborg using experimental tissue samples taken from some of the fallen wicked creatures.
KAY is now the only hope left for the S-CITY.... He's now a 「WICKED ARMORED SOLDIER」 ! !
■GAME INFORMATION 「WER DRAGON」is a CYBERPUNK side-scrolling action game developed by ARSYS SOFTWARE.
Back then ARSYS was regarded as a very innovative software maker thanks to their previously critically acclaimed games 「WIBARM」and 「STAR CRUISER」. In 1989 (the same release year of this production) the company also released 「KNIGHT ARMS」and the remake of STAR CRUISER for the X68K.
And this actually puts WER DRAGON in an odd position, because in comparison to KNIGHT ARMS and STAR CRUISER - this work may come as very rudimentary, to not say flat outdated for the time.
For the most part WER DRAGON plays out like a shooter with the screen set in auto-scroll mode. Pushing the [ A ] button lets you face and attack to the right side, while pushing the [ B ] button lets you face and attack to the left side.
At any time during gameplay you can push the [ RET ] key or ↓ + [ A ] [ B ] on the joystick to access the weapon select screen.
Your armament consists of a HYPER CANNON for general long-range combat. A LIGHT SWORD for more powerful but also more risky melee attacks. And finally there's your PSYCHO POWER UNIT that can be used to unleash powerful special attacks on the enemy.
Your psycho power gauge will recharge over time and its use will be mandatory for your survival.
Throughout the game you also will be able to upgrade your weapons and psychic power. The full weapon upgrade list is :
Note that all times in the game are missable, so better pick them up when they show up.
As the story progresses KAY meets with Doctor ALBERT OPPENHEIM the man responsible for reconstructing his body. He tells KAY about the potential of his new body and how it can evolve by absorbing the energy of slain enemies.
Thus as you continue defeating enemies in the game you sometimes will get to watch a brief cutscene showcasing KAY's gradual cyborg evolution into that of a WER DRAGON.
This type of visual character progression was still very unnusual to see in action games at the time, and it's clearly one of the best aspects of the game.
There's a total of 6 stages in the game, and most them are ridiculously long and difficult. I don't know what the programmers were thinking while designing the stages, but it certainly wasn't on the player's enjoyment.
Your character is just not fit to survive such awfully long stages. Something that will become apparent as soon as you get into the second stage.
Sometimes defeating certain enemies will regenerate some of your HP. And there's also a [HEART] item that will fully replenish your energy. Yet this is still nowhere near enough stuff to help you survive the game's often brutal stage layouts.
To make matters worse you only have 3 continues available, and there's no save or password features whatsoever.
Personally I was never able to get past stage 2 on a real PC-88 system. I had to play the game on an emulator and use save states to finally be able clear the game. It is just that hard....
The graphics in the game are pretty rough. Of course this is the PC-88 we're talking about, so it's not surprising. Still, in this case the low graphical detail do can get in the way of the gameplay, as sometimes it can very difficult to make out the enemies or their bullets against the background.
This is not as bad if you play the game on an emulator, but on an actual retro PC montor it can be a problem.
The enemy design is also very poor, which is strange coming from ARSYS. There's not many humanoid enemies in the game, but the few ones that show up look like they were taken straight out from SORCERIAN...
Undoubtedly the game reaches its climax on stage 5 when KAY finally transforms into a WER DRAGON. This is the only dragon stage in the game, which is disappointing considering the gameplay is far more enjoyable like this when the game plays more like a standard shooting game.
While I admit the way KAY gradually transforms into a WER DRAGON is pretty awesome. I think they should've made him transform a couple of stages earlier for the sake of the gameplay.
In my opinion the game would have been better if stages 1 and 2 had been on foot. 3, 4, and 5 on the air. And stage 6 on foot again.
There's a few things to like about WER DRAGON. The story is very interesting, although in my opinion it needed a bit more enemy exposure.
I only wish ARSYS hadn't wrapped the game in such a frustrating package. If only they had implemented either unlimited continues or a save feature, the overall gameplay experience would've turned out very different.
Still, WER DRAGON is definitely a game that stands out among the PC-88 library. So action and shooting game fans would do well to give it a try.
oh, well, i guess it's good to hear someone else say that. i thought i was doing something wrong when i couldn't even pass the first boss after half an hour! what a damned brutal game. it's a pity i'll probably never make it to the later stages because they look pretty cool.
silly facts: when i picked up a copy of this, there was some kind of official werdragon phone card included.