Rise of the Dragon


Title           Rise of the Dragon
Game Type	Adventure
Players		1
Compatibility	All Amigas, 1 Mb RAM,
HD Installable  Yes
Company		Dynamix/Sierra
Submission      Seppo Typpö (groucho@pp.inet.fi) Profiled Reviewer

Review
The profession of the private investigator has always fascinated people.
Life filled with beautiful women, strong liquor, big guns and bad
gangsters. Work filled with dangerous situations and evil masterplans.
A world where no-one can be trusted and nothing is as it seems.

In 1982, Ridley Scott filmed a Science Fiction film called Blade Runner.
Eight years later Dynamix released its first adventure game named Rise of
the Dragon. It borrowed the film's pessimistic view of the future and put
the player in the boots of William "Blade" Hunter, private investigator.
His mission is clear - solve the murder of the mayor's daughter and
unravel the conspiracy that lies behind it.

The package
-----------
The Rise of the Dragon (RotD) package contains the  control documentation
booklet which has all the necessary information how to play the game. A
short comic and an Amiga reference guide is included as well as the
whopping 10 game disks. A hard drive is highly recommended for this game
as playing from floppies is a slow and tedious job (I should know, I
played the game first time on A500 with two floppy disk drives).

Gameplay
---------
The game uses Dynamix's own control system which supports mouse, joystick
and keyboard play. The game interface is very simple but still very
versatile - only three actions can be selected (look, operate, move) but
this combined with a smart inventory interface is more than enough to
offer competitive gameplay. The game is fully icon driven with no text
input at all (except when typing names for saved games).

The game is played in a first person perspective, where everything is seen
through the player's eyes. Stylish graphics are presented like an
interactive comic book - mostly static pictures with small animations here
and there.

As the player takes the role of a private eye, the tasks the game presents
are similar to those in real life. After receiving the mission it is up to
the player to go around meeting different people and collecting
information which helps the main character to finally solve the mystery.
Some arcade sequences (which thankfully can be skipped) are thrown in to
add some variety to the game.

Getting critical
-----------------
Rise of the Dragon is near perfect with only a couple of minor niggles.
Dying is sometimes bit too easy in this game which certainly puts off some
people who want to explore the whole game.

The signs of a classic
------------------------
RotD is aimed for the more adult audience, which means some rude language is
used in conversations and the game also has some adult material and animation
sequences. Interacting with other game characters is also more complicated
than usual as different people require different approach methods before
they cooperate with the main character.

Unlike Heart Of China (another Dynamix adventure) there's very little
humour to ease things up - the life of a private eye in the dark and
dangerous world of RotD is full of tragedy and brutal violence. This
further enchances the pessimistic view of the future this game offers to
the player.

There are some unique features in this game. First, the game characters
have more personality than usual. When meeting them it is wise to keep in
mind that they remember how the player treats them and choose their
actions accordingly. Generally speaking it is not wise to irritate people
in this game unless you're absolutely sure you don't need their help later.

Another nice feature is that game runs in real time. Hours go by and days
pass even if the player does nothing, which demands that the player plans
certain moves accordingly. The lonely hero sometimes gets tired and needs
sleep like any other people. Ignore the given warnings and your character
might fall asleep in a unsecure place which might have fatal consequences.

The inventory manipulation has some clever touches, too. For example using
the gun means visiting the inventory screen and actually putting the gun
into the character's hand. The mouse cursor can then be changed into
a crosshair which can be used to aim and fire the weapon. A similar
approach can be taken when you are using other objects.

Ultimately the best part of the game is the atmosphere it creates. It is
very easy to get into the action and dwell for hours in the world of
RotD. The strong story and believable characters further enhances the
experience.

Conclusion
----------
Rise of the Dragon has an intriguing plot with smart graphics and music.
The clever game interface makes the game easy to play. It is certainly not
the easiest adventure to solve, which combined with multiple story
branches and endings greatly increase the replay value.


Rating
-------
Graphics :  Stylish hand drawn then digitised 32 colour graphics
Sound    :  Wonderful tunes creating moody atmosphere into game
Gameplay :  Easy to play, offers challenging puzzles and real tension. Game
            contains logical puzzles, believable story and interesting
            characters. The Blade Runner of adventure games.

Tested on   A500 no hard disk
            A1200 BPPC+68040, hard disk




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