Monday, 21 April 2014

Kouryuu Densetsu: Elan Doree (Saturn)

So, it's a fighting game, and as was the fashion at the time, it attempts to stand out from the crowd by having a gimmick: the fights take place mid-air, with the characters riding on flying beasts (most of whom are dragons).
Aesthetically, the game is excellent, going for the always-welcome "mid-90s fantasy OAV" style. The characters are all fairly appealing, in their own ways, and though most of the characters are riding dragons, those dragons aren't just lazy re-colours, all looking slightly different, with Rubone's poison dragon standing out in particular with its smooth black skin and whale-like face. And as I said, most of the characters are
riding dragons. Marielle the magician rides a kind of flying dolphin creature, Tina the magical girl rides a furry orange beast, and Eriorna, the coolest character in the game, is a Takarazuka-inspired swordswoman who fights with the power of "estheticism" rides a large bird. The stages in which the fights take place are also worrth a mention, being as they are, huge in scale and definitely appropriate for providing the kind of gravitas you'd expect from fights between dragon-straddling warriors and the like.
As for how the game plays, it's pretty good. There's three main buttons: weak attack, strong attack and jump (obviously in this case, the human character jumps off their steed, rather than the flying beast jumping in midair). It's jumping that stops the dragon-riding gimmick from being purely aesthetic, as taking an attack midair will knock a character to the ground, leaving them prone to attack until their steed swoops down and retrieves them. Another unique point is in the way special and super moves are handled. While you might see in the screenshots beneath the health bars something that looks like a traditional super meter, it's actually two
seperate items. The number in a box does show how many super move uses a player has remaining, though this is a set amount each round, that, as far as I can tell, isn't replenished until the next round (the amount is sometimes two and sometimes three, though I haven't figured out why). The meter next to it measures a player's "dragon power", which is depleted whenever the player guards or uses a projectile attack, and fills back up when they take damage or land a melee attack. Obviously, the developers were attempting to curb projectile spamming and players that constantly guard. Speaking of the developers, this game was apparently made by a company named Sai-Mate, who, as far as I'm aware never made another game before or since, which is a shame.
Elan Doree is definitely worth playing, if only for how nice it looks (though it's not exactly a chor to play, either).

1 comment:

  1. I own this game, it's one of the more underrated hidden gems on the Saturn. It sucks that the developers didn't do another fighting game afterwards, and only made ero visual novels from then on.