Only the other day I was trying to work out how many shoot-'em-ups featuring dragons I've seen and I came up with three - Thalmus (ancient), ST Dragon and Dragon Breed. A few days later, yesterday in fact, whilst on the toilet I wondered "what made them so good?" Whilst on the loo later that day I realised that it was because you actually used parts of the dragon to help you - its firey breath to flame baddies, its tail to curl around you and protect you or to whip nasties with.
So imagine my surprise when Dragon Spirit popped through my door for reviewing. I immediately loaded it up, had a few goes, sat on the lav for inspiration, and came up with this analysis.
Dragon Spirit isn't as successful as all the other games with dragons in 'cos the dragon has nothing to do with the game. You simply scroll vertically up the screen, shooting other dragon-related things whilst flying over the sort of scenery you'd imagine dragons to fly over. In the arcade, the graphics would probably make the game look quite innovative, but here it looks identical to about fifty other shoot-'em-ups including Flying Shark and Gemini Wing, the only major difference is the redefined graphics. Fans of this sort of thing can't go wrong 'cos the game's got some neat touches and plenty of power-ups. But all in all Dragon Breed gets neatly filed away in the box at the corner of the shed marked 'vertically scrolling shoot-'em-ups that are all the same', where one suspect's it will stay for some time. Hardly the thinking man's shoot-'em-up.
And Lineker passes to Bull, who passes on the inside to the dragon. The dragon rushes up, staying on-side, and blasts over the mountains to get into fantasy land, where he can exercise his shooting skills...