Written by  :  Trixter (9128)
Written on  :  Mar 24, 1999
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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An immersive world that completely captures your interest without frustrating your intellect.

The Good

Rise of the Dragon was Dynamix's first attempt at a purely graphical adventure, and it was largely succesful. While some people dismissed it as too easy, I found it quite immersive. Gameplay is achieved best with the mouse, where you use the pointer to examine elements of your location, manipulate objects, and throw switches. Its easy to learn, but it doesn't cheat--you have to equip your gun before you can fire it, for example, and if you leave your gun eqipped all the time, you run the risk of scaring the people you run into (because they can see your gun brandished).

The music is great, not because it reaches out and grabs you, but because it doesn't try to. The music is always underneath the scenes, and in some places, does a fantastic job of representing what the character is supposed to be feeling. A particular favorite section of mine is the very first scene where you're in your apartment; even with a simple Adlib card, the music you hear while exploring your surroundings not only does an excellent job of describing how you feel, but almost attempts to describe how your environment feels, if such a thing is possible.

The graphics are very good; each screen was illustrated traditionally on canvas and then digitized. While many of the themes are borrowed liberally from Blade Runner, some areas of the game manage to find their own vision.

The Bad

You would think that graphics digitized from original art would look really great, but some screens are not dithered as well as they could be, which is annoying if you're nitpicky about those kinds of things. (To judge for yourself, take a look at the many ROTD screenshots here on MobyGames.)

ROTD runs in realtime, which is normally a good thing; you can't just sit around poking at everything. But this can get frustrating as well--at one point you have to save your girlfriend while a timer is ticking down to zero in the background. This is unnecessarily manipulative.

Worst, though, is the inclusion of a weak action sequence thrown in at the very end of the game, which is completely inappropriate (and also very hard to win!). Thankfully, if you die too much in the endgame arcade sequence, the game offers to let you skip it to see the ending.

The Bottom Line

Rise of the Dragon is one of my all-time favorite games. If you haven't played it, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.