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'Atomic Battle Dragons' First Impressions (PC)

Submitted by thankeeka on January 9, 2006 - 8:22am.

It's like the old arcade game Joust, but with dragons. Notice the sarcasm when I say, "Joy!"

Let me precede this Atomic Battle Dragons preview by saying I don't like the game Joust. I never have and I never will no matter what type of glossy coat you slab over it. For some reason, I could just never grasp the gameplay mechanics needed to flap a bird higher than another bird so that I could win a battle.

Atomic Battle Dragons takes the exact same formulaic gameplay as Joust and puts it in a medieval setting with dragons instead of ostrich riding knights. You've got two play modes: Story Mode and Arcade Mode.

The Story Mode of Atomic Battle Dragons details the plight of the citizens from the evil three-headed dragon known as Belzom. The land's knights have gone to slay the beast, but they are all laid to waste with ease. Hearing that the dragon is still alive and wreaking havoc, Cain takes it upon himself to ride into battle and slay the evil Belzom. Cain isn't alone in his endeavor, as his female elf pal named Briannah offers to help him in battle by providing him with powerups. So, Cain and Briannah begin their adventure, but soon they learn that they need three mythical objects to properly slay Belzom. Thus begins your quest to go to these different lands, slay all those red dragons and bugs in your way, so that you might acquire these objects and rid the land of Belzom once and for all.

The game follows a simple formula in both terms of narrative and gameplay. You will always see a text cutscene (Briannah at the top and Cain at the bottom) where the two talk about any recent developments and where exactly it is they need to go to next. The two friends might debate where to head, but you never actually pick your destination based on what I saw. Instead, the two of you will typically come to a mutual understanding, and then the next level will load up on cue as to where you should be in the story.

As for the gameplay, the arrow keys of your keyboard will move you from left to right on these mobius strip side-scrolling levels, with the space bar being the button that makes you flap your dragon's wings and get altitude. If you've never played the arcade game Joust, the idea is to flap your ride higher than the enemies' ride, so you can get a hit in and kill them before you do. You've completed a level after you've eliminated all the enemies. The mechanics, as said, are simple and ease to pick up on, but I felt they were hard to actually execute. Too many times my dragon would slide around after landing or would simply fly too fast and would seemingly go out of control and crash into another objects. Also, when I fly straight upwards, I shouldn't be able to pass through solid rock

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