If you've ever wondered what it would be like being a dragon, flying over the landscape roasting everything in your path, wonder no longer. With Namcot's latest PC Engine conversion you can do just that.
Dragon Spirit adds a new twist to the vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up genre with the player flying a dragon over enemy landscape. The enormous blue pyromaniac reptile is capable of spitting firey gobs at any flying enemy, and can also launch white-hot phlegm bombs to take out ground targets.
Plenty of power-ups are available, accessed by blowing up eggs on the ground and collecting the items that are released, or by blasting flashing baddies (oo-er). Up to three extra heads can be acquired for extra fire-power, and gathering red pods upgrades the dragon's armoury from gobs to missiles, and ultimately fiery breath, which is a very powerful weapon.
Other features include shrink, earthquake, mega-flames, homing missiles, shields, extra lives, bonus points and skulls, which take away all power-ups (very annoying).
There are ten levels in all, each one very long and hazard-packed. Terrain includes ice, sea, volcanic lands, a deadly valley and deserts, and each level has a giant monster at its end which is destroyed to go onto the next landscape. Some of the monsters are brilliant, with giant spiders, snakes, dinosaurs and even a huge sprite-spitting flower!
Gameplay is very tough and challenging, but remains incredibly addictive as you battle up the landscape. The graphics are simply gorgeous, with plenty going on and not a flicker in sight - the giant monsters are particularly impressive, especially the huge flower. The sound is also superb, with a brilliant stereo soundtrack on each level and good spot effects.
Dragon Spirit is a superlative shoot-'em-up - an essential addition to every PC Engine owner's software collection.