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The Legend of Dragoon Review

Very few games have come close to beating out the Final Fantasy series. However, only one stands out in both design and popularity and that one is Legend of the Dragoon. Released for the PSX on June 11th, 2000 and more recently on the PlayStation Network, LOD took over 3 years to develop despite having a team of over 100 members. Initially, it was dubbed the “Final Fantasy killer” by Sony, but we’ve pretty much seen where that went. Granted, LOD and most games from the Final Fantasy series share a few similarities, such as: Random battles, turn-based fights, experienced-based level up system and other basic RPG elements. However, what sets LOD apart from the rest is it’s unique battle system, which I will touch on later. But, what is the background of the story, you ask? Well let’s get to that, shall we?


The game takes place on the fictional continent of Endiness. It is a geographically diverse land, with each climate zone being home to a different nation. The game begins in Serdio, a temperate region that is undergoing a civil war at the beginning of the game. West of Serdio is the desert nation of Tiberoa, west of Tiberoa is the barren desert known as the Death Frontier, north of Serdio are the icy regions of Gloriano and Mille Seseau, with Mille Seseau being a forested mountain, while Gloriano is a snowy desert. The story begins when Dart, the protagonist, is heading home from a 5 year long journey to pursue the black monster, who killed his parents and destroyed his birth city, Neet. On the way, he is attacked by Feyrbrand, a mantis-like dragon controlled by the Sandora, a rebel faction in the Serdian civil war. Dart is saved by a mysterious female heroine named Rose, though they soon part ways. When he arrives at his hometown, Seles, he discovers that it has been destroyed by Sandora, and that Shana, Dart’s childhood friend (and later in the game, his love interest), has been taken away. Dart sets out to rescue her. Throughout the game, he is periodically joined by people that he helps along the way and what a cast of characters they are!

Dart Feld – Dart is the protagonist of the game. was one of the few survivors of the tragedy that befell his home town of Neet, in which a mysterious “Black Monster” attacked and almost obliterated the town, killing everyone he knew. Dart possesses the Red-Eye Dragon Dragoon Spirit and is of the Fire element.

Rose – Rose is a mysterious woman who aids Dart at the beginning of his adventure, she is the first to recognize that Dart wears a currently inactive Dragoon Spirit. She is the only character to have an active Dragoon Spirit when she joins the party, however because she joins the party at the same time that Dart becomes a Dragoon, he is listed as the first Dragoon in the game. Rose possesses the Dark Dragon Dragoon Spirit and is attuned to the Dark element.

Shana – Shana is a young woman, only 18 years old and the childhood friend of Dart Feld. She lives in the town of Seles as the Mayor’s adopted daughter and grew up to live in relative peace until the Sandoran raid where she is targeted for unknown reasons and kidnapped. Shana eventually obtains the White-Silver Dragon Dragoon Spirit, which is part of the element of Light.

Lavitz Slambert – Lavitz is the first party member that joins Dart Feld in The Legend of Dragoon. He is the leader of the First Knighthood of Basil, serving under his longtime friend King Albert and is a total bad-ass! He eventually comes into possession of the Jade Dragon Dragoon Spirit with is attributed to the element of Wind. BLOSSOM STORM, BITCHES!

Albert – Albert is the King of Serdio and of Basil, also a playable character in The Legend of Dragoon, replacing Lavitz after his death. He is a smart and swift person in the game. Usually referring to historic facts and his love for knowledge such as libraries. He knows quite a bit of information over Dragoons, Winglies, virage, and other things. Like I stated, Albert gets inherits the Jade Dragoon Spirit after Lavitz dies and is pretty much a carbon copy of Lavitz, save for a different in technique.

Haschel – Haschel is one of the party members in The Legend of Dragoon. He is the Master of the Rouge School of Martial Arts and is looking for his daughter. I COULD tell you more, but it would spoil a lot of the story. Haschel beats dat ass with punches and kicks, as opposed to the weaponry used by the other party members. Eventually, he comes into ownership of the Violet Dragon Dragoon Spirit with is connected to the Thunder element, thus increasing his bad-assary!

Meru – Meru is the cheerful, perky young dancer girl who joins Dart and the other Dragoons on their quest. She is also a mood maker for her team after she joined the team even without the team’s complete agreement. Meru will eventually possess the Blue-Sea Dragon Dragoon Spirit, which is of the Water affinity.

Kongol – Kongol is originally a boss that appears at Hoax and then Kazas. He is once again encountered at the Home of Gigantos and from here on out he remains in your party. His brutal strength and gigantic size are a deadly combination. Through 2 different events(Your choice), Kongol can come into ownership of the Golden Dragon Dragoon Spirit, which is of the Earth element.

Miranda – Miranda or Second Sacred Sister Miranda is is the final character to join the party in Legend of Dragoon. She replaces Shana in Disc 3 when the later feels her Dragoon spirit rejects her as its host in the chamber of the Signet Sphere. Despite her abrasive personality, she is also a healer, and tended to the sick and the wounded even before she joined the party. She is the character of choice for using magic attack items, with the highest Magic Attack of the party she joins.

Definitely a cadre of characters from all walks of life uniting for one common purpose…which is pretty much the staple in any RPG nowadays. So, now you know the characters, but what exactly do they do? What can they do? Well, that takes us into the mechanics of the game’s unique battle system called Additions.

Like some RPGs from that time period, the battle system of LOD takes place on a 3D field that complements the current field map. Turn-based battles occur in this between playable characters and CPU-controlled enemies. Standard actions such as attack, magic, defend, item and escape are present and implemented in various ways. Pretty standard stuff, right? Of course, choosing the “Attack” option doesn’t exactly have Dart run forward and give a single slash with his sword, oh no no no no! No, this is where the “Addition” system comes into play and it was this very system that was supposed to “kill” the Final Fantasy series. Additions work like this: When you pick the attack option from the battle menu, two blue squares will pop up, one in the center and the other on the outside edge. When the outside square reaches the center square you press the X button and if timed correctly the center of the square will turn white and the addition will continue and you will repeat the process. If you miss it, the center of the square will turn one of two colors. It will turn Blue if you were too slow and will turn Gray if you were too fast. During the longer additions there will be a chance for the enemy to counter. When it does the squares will turn red and there will be a sound in the background. Instead of hitting the X button you must hit the O (circle) button and if timed correctly the addition will continue counter-free. But if you happen to miss the counter, the party member will be thrown back receiving some damage. Something like this…*points at screenshot below*

Now, the other cool thing and pretty much the main reason for correctly pulling off Additions is because they level up! That’s right kids, once an addition has been completed, its use counter will increase, as can be seen on the Menu screen. When it has been used and completed enough its stats will go up. For some additions, only one stat or both stats may go up. Once you have used it at least 80 times you will have maxed out the addition and may move on to the next addition if you wish but it is not necessary to max it to move on. Getting new additions is easy: Just level up your character. However, Shana/Miranda do NOT get additions, as they only use bows & arrows. Now, the Dragoon portion of battles is done very differently than its counterpart. Dragoons can’t be activated all the time. Instead, they need a stimulant known as SP (Spirit Points). SP can be filled by doing additions or with some accessories SP can be recovered a bit by receiving enemy attacks. Upon obtaining the Dragoon Spirit, the Dragoons must fill the SP bar first. When it’s full a new command will appear in the right end of the command bar, called as dragoon with the dragoon spirit icon. With new levels, dragoons can stay longer but the SP needed to fill dragoon spirit to the maximum will also increase. Each level of the bar require 100 SP to enable a dragoon transformation.

When transformed, there’s only two options open to the dragoons, they lose items, guard, and escape. The options open for use are, D-Attack, Dragoon attack, and Magic. D-Attack displays a rotary dial, and successfully activating an attack all three times the indicator moves around the dial unleashes a combination of the three attacks plus a bonus attack on the opponent. It’s different from addition, but timing system precision remains. The timing signal turned from the box system to a “Dragoon Spirit Time-Dial”, when the light reaches the mark at the top, that is the moment to press X. The standard attack is pressing it each of the four (or three, in Kongol’s case) times it goes around. However, if you press X a fifth time, with absolutely precise timing, right as the light stops at the top, you will do a “Perfect” attack, which involves a powerful explosion of elemental magic. This attack combines Physical and Magical Attacks strength. Lastly, when all characters in the team are at maximum SP and in normal form, any character can initiate a Special Dragoon transformation(shown as a yin-yang symbol). The playfield begins to glow the color of the Dragoon Spirit initiating transformation, attacks of that Spirit’s element are given a bonus, and attacks of the opposing element are weakened. The initiating character gets the highest number of physical attacks automatically, without having to use the Dragoon attack dial.

Just judging by the mechanics alone, it’s no wonder why this game was supposed to stomp out Final Fantasy. But alas, the Final Fantasy series is still going on strong and Legend of the Dragoon is just a remnant on our shelves. On April 11th, 2012 it was revealed that there was supposed to be a sequel to the game, but was cancelled by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan prior to its announcement. But this is what bugs me…the game has a massive fan-base, damn near cult status…so, why not out out a sequel? Or a prequel considering there is more than enough story prior to the events in LOD to sufficiently produce a working sequel? If not that, than at least give us a full-on, PS3-exclusive remake! Oh, I can only imagine how gorgeous it would look in a remade environment…ah, oh well. One can only dream, right?

9.5 out of 10

Until next episode…

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