When I usually think of adventure games, I think about the underrated and classic adventure games. Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Same and Max, Space Quest IV, Grim Fandango, The Neverhood Chronicles, and you get the idea. Since Armikrog reached its Kickstarter goal and Broken Age is getting split into two games, I decided it’s time to review another adventure game. I already reviewed The Walking Dead and its expansion, so I think I should at least review another adventure game before Season 2 is released. However, I did not want to review just any adventure game, I wanted to review an adventure game that is unique in the sense that it was only released on a console and is based off of a cartoon from the Monty Python actor Terry Jones. If you didn’t read the title, this is Blazing Dragons for the Playstation and Sega Saturn. I decided to review this game since from what I have played through, this one has an incredibly fun sense of humor that anyone can enjoy. It is also one of the few adventure games that is fun to play through, and isn’t a huge pain in the butt to go through, unlike 90% of the genre. It does have some minor errors that come with the genre and the console it is on, but if you can find this game for cheap, you will have one of the funniest games in the genre and one of my newly favorite PS1 games.
The story revolves around a dragon named Flicker, voiced by Joseph Rye. He is an inventor in this land where dragons have swapped places with humans and are royalty. Flicker lives in a castle that is ruled by King Allfire, voiced by Jim Cummings. The king also has a daughter named Princess Flame, voiced by Kath Soucie. The king has to deal with the humans who want to enter the soon-to-happen tournament to rule over the land. The humans Allfire has to deal with are Sir George, voiced by Cheech Marin, and his wizard named Mervin, voiced by Rob Paulsen. Sir George and his wizard have a dastardly plan to enter the tournament, and it is up to Flicker and the knights of the square table, voiced by Jeff Bennet, Gregg Berger, Jess Harnell, and Roger Rose, to stop Sir George from unleashing his evil plan. The strength of the story comes from the humor and the voicework. It’s funny, even if some of the jokes are a bit “punny”, but there are a few adult jokes here and there. It is definitely aimed at a more childlike demographic, but any gamer can enjoy the story.
The gameplay is of a classic Lucasarts, Tim Schaeffer-style point-and-click adventure game, where you play as Flicker. You go around the castle and other parts of the kingdom moving the story along, solving puzzles, partaking in mini-games, and listening to some silly banter between the characters. There isn’t anything too new with how this adventure game is designed besides its setting, but it does have the basic controls and actions you can use to do everything in the game. You have a huge inventory bag where you can pick up stuff that might not matter in one area but will help you in another part of the kingdom. You have your usual grab, walk, look, and speak icons. Like I said, there is nothing too special about how this game is designed, but I say it’s better than how some games like Earthbound have a menu of commands that aren’t really needed, or how the older adventure games are set up. It is obviously designed like this because it is a game aimed at younger gamers who haven’t played the more punishing games in the genre like Disc World. Most of the puzzles you will be solving are the kind where you combine items to make new items for yourself, like taking a ribbon, some comics from the newspaper, and prunes to make a gift for Sir George, or using a candleholder and your, um, night-tailcap thing to make a steam engine to clean the dishes, just to name a few of the puzzles. The game can be a bit backtrack-y if you need to find items you might have missed before, but just do what any adventure gamer would do when they are on a new screen; find everything that you can pick up and take it with you into the next screen. Who knows when you might need a bottle of hair growth or a magic bean, am I right? The length of the overall game can be considered short, because if you know what you are doing, you can beat the game in about two hours. I know adventure games are short, and sure, maybe I should deduct points due to how short it is, but you know what? I got my copy for cheap, and I had a blast playing through the story and laughing, due to the very well written humor.
Graphically, it is on par with adventure games from the time, like Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle, and to an extent, Full Throttle. I think it might be a little more dated than some of the Lucasarts adventure games during the early 90’s, but the presentation didn’t bother me too much. Sure, some of the cutscenes could have been better animated, but they get the job done. The music is also nothing amazing or worthwhile, but it fits the mood. The best part of the sound design is the awesome voicework. They got some really good voice talent for the characters in the game, and I just love each of their performances. I think the actors that do the best job are Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, and Jeff Bennet. Even though I did pick out my favorite performances in the game, everyone does a good job.
So, what’s wrong with this adventure into the kingdom of dragons? I already said the graphics could have been slightly better due to the year this game was released, but I have other complaints. Some of the mini-games are not well explained, and I got stuck on a few before I found out by myself what I needed to do. I can see younger gamers not understanding how the mini-games work, and that is just a big no-no in my book. I also found it a little tedious that there was a loading screen every time you entered or left a room or screen. It got a little bothersome when half of my time playing the game was looking at quick-loading screens. I also found the speed your character moves at a little annoying. You have four legs and you can’t move faster than a casual walk?
Even with all the criticism I have said above, in the long run, they are all just minor gripes, and Blazing Dragons is one of the funniest adventure games I have ever played. I think it can be found for relatively cheap online since I got my copy for seven dollars, but if you can find it for no more than fifteen bucks, I would say, get a copy. I wish there was a sequel to this game because it just never had a chance. When it was released, it was a bad time for adventure games, but I do give the developer credit for making this game for a console, since it might have had a better chance being on a console that was about to be more popular than say, a PC at the time. Just get a copy and submerse yourself in a world of talking dragons and Terry Jones.
This game gets a 9 out of 10.