Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye
Description official descriptions
Dragon's Eye is an installment in the tile-matching game series initiated by Activision. Players try to remove mahjong tiles in pairs from a set pattern. Different versions of the game have up to eight different tile sets, twelve patterns based on the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and a layout editor for creating patterns.
In addition to the standard mode, the game also features "Dragon's Eye", a two-player Shanghai variant. Players take turns adding and removing tiles from a small field with one player attempting to remove all the tiles and the other trying to position tiles to make this impossible.
- スーパー上海ドラゴンズアイ - Japanese spelling
Credits (DOS version)
50 People (33 developers, 17 thanks) · View all
|Original Design by|
|Dragon' s Eye Design by|
|Shanghai II Design by|
|Programming assisted by|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 78% (based on 21 ratings)
Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 2 reviews)
I first played this game in the 90s and years later, after having discovered there is such a thing as emulators, I started replaying old DOS games and kept looking for this one. I had little success because I thought the word "mahjong" should be in the title - many Europeans, including me, don't realise at first that mahjong solitaire is not the same as mahjong. Anyway, after some time I found it, but this little story can show some of the sentiment I have for this game.
There are several layouts (based on the Chinese zodiac) and several tile sets in the game. Each layout has its own melody and some of them are quite a pleasure to listen to. However, the real highlight are the tile sets, at least the best of them - the original Shaghai set, Hanafuda, Fantasy, Animals, Sport... And the best thing - there are little animations for some of the tiles, shown as they are removed from the board. For example, some weapon pieces in the Fantasy set crack as if hit by such a weapon, drops of water splash on the watersport tiles in the Sport set (and a few others, for example the mermaid in the Fantasy set), spinning Earth appears on the United Nations tile in the Flag set... My favorite is the grey vortex, accompanied by a beautiful fading sound, for one of the tiles in the Shanghai set. Yes - these tiles also have their sound effects. Some may get boring (for example the cheering crowd sound, featured on too many tiles from the Sport set), some are inaccurate, but generally it's a very nice feature. The Hanafuda set probably has the least monotonous sounds altogether. Generally - the diversity of these tile sets and layouts keeps this game from getting boring. And the sets look very colorful, especially the Animals set.
I guess I should at least pay lip service to the fact that the game is actually "two in one"... To be honest, I tried the "Dragon's Eye" mode and found it both puzzling and boring - the solitaire mode is enough for me - but surely some other players may like this feature a lot.
Three of the sets are quite a throwaway for me. The Hilo and Lohi sets consist of images taken from playing cards - they are monotonous... and even eye-straining with all these tiny images. The Alphabet set at least looks colorful, but has very few "special effects" - mostly just sounds. Even worse - mostly just the same sound over and over. Only a few tiles have a very nice effect - images of animals beginning with this letter appears (L-lion, B-bird, F-frog, P-pelican, C-cat, D-dog, S-snake), all taken from the Animal set, but with slightly different colors (easiest to notice in case of the lion). The "Z" tile has its own different animation, playing on the association between this letter and sleeping - the tile fades to black and a snoring sound is heard.
Another drawback in the area of tile sets - I mentioned that some sound are inaccurate (for example in the Animal set: cheetahs and pumas don't roar, this ability is limited to the four big cats in the strictest sense: tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard; even though pumas can be substantially bigger than leopards, they aren't big cats in this sense), but it's most irritating in the Flag set. There are several sounds here and some are phrases spoken by a slightly artificial-sounding female voice. The problem is they don't match the countries at all: a Japanese-sounding phrase in Canada, an English-sounding phrase in several European countries such as Germany... No way, these sound effects must have been chosen by someone either drunk or stupid...
The game also features a layout creator - which is great (and allows you to include layouts known from countless other mahjong games) - but what about creating tile sets? This is only possible for people who know a fair deal about programming... I realise it couldn't be as easy as making layouts, I just regret there aren't more sets... Some other sets are even found in different versions of the game - it's a pity they weren't included here as well.
The background is plain and boring - you can only change the color. Some nice backgrounds are found in other versions of the game - on the other hand, I don't know if it's necessarily good. Colorful tiles on a colorful background can create quite a bad effect - everyone should decide for themselves if it looks nice or not, but certainly it is visually less comfortable, the tiles don't stand out like they do on a plain background.
What I didn't like at all are the "fortunes" that appear after solving a puzzle. No "wisdom of the East", nothing in the "I Ching style", rather "corporate humor" (based on the assumption that adult people play this at work) or things suspiciously similar to the infamous Murphy laws... Nope, it doesn't work for me. Too philosophical quotes could be perhaps too "heavy" for this game, but these quotes are just too smartass and too pessimistic for me.
The Bottom Line
Mahjong solitaire games are great fun - sometimes even more than European card solitaires because of the beautiful tiles. So it's certainly a nice idea to have such a game... While I doubt in fact if this game can have any popularity outside of the circle of vintage game fans today - countless newer games of this type are available, some of them online - I personally keep a sentiment for this particular game despite some of its shortcomings.
However, be prepared: this game - not a big game at all, one that would fit on a single floppy disc - can be surprisingly tough on the computer, at least on some "weak" computers. Another personal note: my computer is a "crowded" laptop which tends to overheat, however my cousin told me of an astonishingly easy way to "save" it: the energy-saving mode. The drawback: while earlier the computer overheated a few times while playing this particular game (probably the only DOS game which caused this reaction in my computer! - however, earlier I considered this accidental), now the game doesn't run very smoothly. Its beautiful melodies are distorted, they get slower for a while, they "stutter"... It's quite a pity and something I certainly wouldn't expect - why should this game be different from all the other DOS games, including much bigger ones in terms of disk space? Fortunately, I'm not planning to be a laptop-only user forever...
DOS · by Nowhere Girl (8679) · 2015
stimulating to the memory, challenging, different levels will let all ages play, like the choices of tiles and shapes to choose from. like that when you get stuck you can reshuffle so as not to get too discouraged. kids like it , not violent, not too noisy.
animal sounds are not real or wrong animal sound
The Bottom Line
easy to medium, esteem builder as you get better at it and progress, not overly challenging, anyone can play, artistic,
Windows · by Deanna King (1) · 2003
|Missing tilesets again||Nowhere Girl (8679)||Jul 19th, 2017|
|Custom tilesets?||Nowhere Girl (8679)||Oct 27th, 2014|
Some copies of Shanghai II came with a pouch containing two Chinese "Dragon's Eye" marbles for therapeutic rolling in the hand.
- Power Play
- Issue 02/1992 – Best Puzzle Game in 1991
- MobyGames ID: 2055
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by ClydeFrog.
Wii added by Charly2.0. SNES, Windows added by Corn Popper. PC-98, Sharp X68000, MSX added by Infernos. Apple IIgs added by hoeksmas. FM Towns added by Sciere. Windows 3.x added by Zovni. Genesis added by monkeyislandgirl. Macintosh added by Terok Nor.
Game added July 27th, 2000. Last modified October 11th, 2023.