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Panzer Dragoon
パンツァードラグーン

10 Mar 1995

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Credit where it's due: Panzer Dragoon is still a feast for the senses, fifteen years down the line. It is one of the greatest 3D shooting games ever made; worthy successor to the likes of Sega's very own Space Harrier (1985).
Shunned on its release and now worshipped as a cult classic, Panzer Dragoon stunned players all around the world with its polished art direction, rewarding gameplay and breathtaking choreography. An unforgettable trilogy would follow, which in retrospect, along with Nights (1996) represent the very best that the Sega Saturn has to offer.
Panzer Dragoon's development can be traced back to early 1994, when producer Tomohiro Kondo of Sega’s R&D Dept.#1 was set the difficult task of creating a flagship '3D Flight Shooting Game' in time for the end-of-year launch of Sega's new Sega Saturn hardware. His intention was to create a structure where gameplay would be kept simple and straightforward, with exotic settings taking center stage.
For inspiration, his team turned to the works of cult French comic book artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud, known for his fantasy strips in 'Metal Hurlant' magazine, epic (and highly recommended) 'Blueberry' western serial, and concept designs for major films such as 'Willow' and 'The Abyss'.
Panzer Dragoon is directly based on a 1974 Moebius strip named 'Arzach', a series of four short stories featuring a lone pterodactyl-riding hero whose mysterious experiences journeying across vast, deserted landscapes present not only a mesmerizing world but also strong underlying existentialist themes. Each tale is spread across no more than 4 or 5 pages, told without a single written word.
Despite itself owing a lot to Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi classic Dune, Arzach caused an enormous stir in the comic book world of the mid-seventies. It proved that high quality designs, meticulously detailed environments and a deeply metaphorical storyline are all paramount in creating memorable fantasies.
Kondo knew he was onto something, and the project got under way. Moebius himself was briefly recruited during development, producing two drawings for the packaging.
The result is a mish-mash of Arzach's mysterious dragon rider, the desert landscapes (and sand worms) of Dune and a barren post-apocalyptic future reminiscent of Mad Max.
 

 
 

 
Right from the outset, Panzer Dragoon draws you in with a sumptuous introduction sequence, and the game that follows is a tremendous achievement. Sega managed to synchronize a phenomenal blend of aerial battles, pastel-colored landscapes and staged set-pieces, all choreographed by a heart-pounding classical score. The soundtrack is simply extraordinary.
The core of the gameplay feels like After Burner (1987) in slow motion, with added 360-dregree vision: pressing the L and R shoulder buttons turns the camera 90 degrees in each direction. Enemy formations appear from all around you - simply shoot down as many as possible by using either the rider's gun or the dragon's lock-on laser. Some stages present obstacles in the scenery that can only be avoided, but only when the camera is facing forwards.
It all comes together perfectly. The dragon feels fluid, responsive, and even organic as it guides you towards your mysterious destination. The gameplay itself benefits from the design work: the action is definitely enhanced by the desire to find out more about this unique, dream-like world.
Most is left to the imagination. A little more will be unveiled in the sequel Panzer Dragoon Zwei (1996) but there's no point in over-doing it. It's because the game says so little that it says so much.
There is true creative flair at work here. No fancy trickery, just a mix of fine ingredients treated simply, by a team truly on top of their art.

Rating:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 


 
Panzer Dragoon
パンツァードラグーン

SEGA SATURN
DETAILS
Format Sega Saturn
Released 10 Mar 1995
Publisher Sega
Product ID GS-9015
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Sega's Panzer Dragoon remains one of the finest releases of its generation.
The original Sega Saturn version can seem a little choppy; but it's still an essential title.

CD case, Sega Saturn CD-ROM disc, inlay, large fold-out instruction manual w/ poster on verso, spine card.

Panzer Dragoon Original Sound Track
パンツァードラグーン オリジナル・サウンドトラック

SOUNDTRACK
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 25 Mar 1995
Publisher Polydor K.K.
Product ID POCH-2219
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Official 'Original' soundtrack CD.
Includes every track featured on the Sega Saturn version along with 'S.E. Collection' track.

CD case, 21-track audio CD (58:20), 8-page colour booklet, sticker, spine card.

Panzer Dragoon Kōshiki Guide Book
パンツァードラグーン 公式ガイドブック

TELEBI LAND WANPAKU No.149
DETAILS
Format Guide Book
Released 30 Apr 1995
Publisher Tokumashoten
Product ID (no ISBN#)
Size (cm) 21 x 14.8 x 0.8 (A5)
Weight (kg) 0.22
PRICE
STATUS
Superb 'Official Guide Book' illustrated by tons of official art, sketches and concept designs.
Great help in increasing your 'Shooting Down Ratio': it breaks down every stage wave by wave.

98 pages, full colour, Japanese.

Panzer Dragoon Original Full Sound Version
パンツァードラグーン オリジナル・フル・サウンドバージョン

ARRANGE SOUNDTRACK
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 21 June 1995
Publisher NEC Avenue
Product ID NACL-1181
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Official 'arrange' album featuring 11 extended tracks from the original soundtrack.

CD case, 11-track audio CD (51:48), 4-page colour booklet, 2x2 fold-out poster, spine card.

Panzer Dragoon Power Remix D-RAM
パンツァードラグーン パワーリミックス / D-RAM

INSTRUMENTAL
DETAILS
Format Audio CD
Released 21 Sep 1995
Publisher NEC Avenue
Product ID NACL-1190
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
PRICE
STATUS
Hard-to-find 'Remix' CD from D-Ram, featuring three extended instrumental medleys.

CD case, 3-track audio CD (53:33), 2-page booklet, spine card.

Panzer Dragoon I&II
パンツァードラグーンI&II

SEGA SATURN
DETAILS
Format Sega Saturn
Released 13 Dec 1996
Publisher Sega
Product ID GS-9124
Size (cm) 14.5 x 12.7 x 2.2
Weight (kg) 0.20
PRICE
STATUS
2-in-1 Sega Saturn 'Double Pack' that includes both:
- Panzer Dragoon [GS-9015]
- Panzer Dragoon Zwei [GS-9049]

Both games are identical in every way to their original releases, they simply come bundled together inside a cardboard box featuring original art.

Panzer Dragoon
パンツァードラグーン

SEGA PC
DETAILS
Format Windows 95
Released 14 Mar 1997
Publisher Sega
Product ID HCJ-0107
Size (cm) 26 x 19 x 3
Weight (kg) 0.27
PRICE
STATUS
Two years after the Sega Saturn version, Panzer Dragoon gets itself a high resolution overhaul on PC thanks to the Sega PC range.
The intros may have lost a little clarity, but the game itself looks fantastic.

Now completely out of print, and very hard to find!

Panzer Dragoon
パンツァードラグーン

SEGA AGES 2500 SERIES VOL.27
DETAILS
Format PlayStation 2
Released 27 Apr 2006
Publisher Sega
Product ID SLPM-62718
Size (cm) 19 x 13.6 x 1.8
Weight (kg) 0.17
PRICE
STATUS
Excellent Sega Ages 2500 re-release featuring both original Sega Saturn and hi-res versions of the game, expanded 'Pandora's Box' options, illustration galleries, movie theatre (including a 100% run) and audio commentary.
Thank you Sega!

PS2 case, PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM, 'Sega Ages' note card, manual.

 




 
PANZER DRAGOON
for SEGA SATURN

Sadly the Sega Saturn version of Panzer Dragoon doesn't have a 'Save' feature,
all settings (and best 'shoot down ratio') disappear the second you press the 'Off' button.
Instead, the game features a ton of secret codes and hidden features:


MOVE SEGA LOGO MAN
When the Sega logo man appears after the initial loading screen, press
X + Y + Z + START on controller 2
[A rotates, X & Y changes light, A+B+C resets, START on controller 1 exits]


GAME OVER / RESTART

This one is very useful if you are seeking the 100% Shoot Down Ratio.
If you miss an enemy and wish to restart the level, input:
A + B + C + L + R [anytime during gameplay]


REMOVE PAUSE TEXT

[during pause] X + Y + Z


The three codes above are for general use; the ones below work from the game's title screen.
Press START to get the NORMAL GAME / OPTION prompt, and enter any of the following:


VIEW ENDING MOVIE

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


VIEW 'HARD' ENDING MOVIE

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


EPISODE SELECT

- - - - - - - - X - Y - Z


EPISODE 0

- - - - - - - - - - - - L - R


INVINCIBLE MODE

L - L - R - R - - - - (no ending)


WIZARD MODE

L - R - L - R - - - - - - (extra fast game)


ROLLING MODE

- - - - - - - - - - - -
(or just keep rotating the pad clockwise)
This one is very useful: tap any diagonal twice to perform a barrel roll - hold fire to lock-on every on-screen enemy!


SPACE HARRIER MODE

(For this to work, the Saturn's internal language setting must be set to German [Deutsch])
- X - - X - - X - - X - - Y - Z


DRAGON MODE

(Must enter MASTER CODE first)
- - - - - - - - L - R


MASTER CODE

(Enables new intro, DRAGON MODE and WEAPON POWER UP codes)
- X - - Y - - Z - - Y - - X


WEAPON POWER UP

This one is essential, especially if you want a shot at the 100% in HARD.
First enter the MASTER CODE, then press & hold any two of the following during the 'EPISODE ...' loading screen.
Repeat for every level. Y (Rapid Shot) and C (Heavy Laser) come most recommended.
X
Normal Shot
Y
Rapid Shot
Z
Power Shot
A
Normal Laser
B
Orbital Laser
C
Heavy Laser


 






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'Panzer Dragoon', 'Sega Saturn' and 'Sega' are registered trademarks of Sega Corporation
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Panzer Dragoon TM & © 1995 Sega All Rights Reserved
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