Panzer Dragoon Orta

Panzer Dragoon Orta Reviewed on Xbox  @
Panzer Dragoon Orta Reviewed on XBOX

Whether or not you have played Sega's Panzer Dragoon in any of its previous incarnations or not you are in for a real treat as this classic fantasy shooter arrives on Microsoft's Xbox console. This game has real pedigree and fully deserves its place in the gaming hall of fame. This installment takes the best of the previous versions and brings the title up-to-date with some outstanding graphics, lush scenarios and lots and lots of frenetic fighting.

You play the role of a small girl named Orta (I know) who's spent her short life imprisoned by an evil empire. When her prison comes under attack she is freed by a strange looking dragon that becomes her weapon and her vehicle for escape from the empire and its evil fleets of mecha dragons, battleships and many other weird and wonderful creatures and vessels.

Orta's destiny unfolds as you progress through the 10 incredible levels and is acted out in some quite amazing looking animated cut scenes. The story is well portrayed but doesn't interfere with the action in anyway.

Panzer Dragoon Orta Reviewed on Xbox  @

Panzer Dragoon Orta runs on quite an old fashioned game engine it is basically a rail shooter. You are pulled through the levels on a track, kind of like being on a rollercoaster. Because "where you are going" is not a major issue your main task is to shoot everything that moves. From the saddle of your Dragon you can shoot or look in any direction including up and down and backwards so the battle really is going on all around you as your dragon charges through some amazing looking surroundings. Ammo is not a problem. You have unlimited rounds and can blast away with either your machine gun or your homing lasers. The more skilled player will use the two in tandem.

Controlling Orta and her dragon is pretty easy although perfecting attacks and fighting the bosses takes some practice. The tutorial mode is quite extensive for this genre of game but is thoroughly worth completing. After learning how to target multiple enemies, speed glide out of trouble, slam on the dragon brakes or morph between three types of fighting-dragon all with differing strengths the scale and potential of this game will really become apparent.

Graphics as I keep mentioning are second to none and it's actually hard to imagine any other console on the market being able to deal with them anywhere near as well as the Xbox does. Characters in Panzer Dragoon truly are characters beautifully animated and full of life the almost Star Wars-like creations are original and wonderful at every turn.

Sound-wise Panzer delivers, Supporting Dolby 5.1 you can easily loose yourself in the battle. The sweeping classical/electro soundtrack mixes incredibly well with the sounds of battle and a real atmosphere is created.

Overall Panzer Dragoon Orta is a very good game. Bringing together amazing graphics, sound and design into frenetic battles that are easy to grasp but get even better once your skills have been refined. If you like shoot 'em up games then this is probably the best for a while, if shooting games are not your penchant Panzer Dragoon Orta is still worth a look as it is almost so good it transcends its genre.

8.5 out of 10