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Dragoon Might

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Released: 1995

Genre: Beat-'em-up

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Konami isn’t a big name in the fighting game business. Despite having done so much to develop the genre with Yie Ar Kung Fu, the company’s efforts to capitalise on the post-Street Fighter II popularity of the genre fell flat. So it’s with some surprise that we recall Dragoon Might being not only being pretty decent, but also reasonably innovative.

In Dragoon Might, you play as one of twelve characters seeking to unite the Dragon Medallion, a powerful relic which is said to grant one wish to its holder. These twelve each come armed with powerful weaponry, much like in Samurai Shodown, as well as their own piece of the Dragon Medallion. Just as in SNK’s series, the game relies on timing and placing damaging single hits, rather than getting combo attacks. In fact, the game seems to take aim at SNK’s fighting games in general, as the three-character team mechanic it employs is pinched wholesale from the King Of Fighters series and the camera scales in and out, as it does in Art Of Fighting as well as Samurai Shodown.

In a mechanic carried over from beat-’em-ups like Streets Of Rage 2, each fighter can utilize a unique special move for a small life cost, delivering a potentially devastating attack with a push of all three punch buttons. Additionally, each stage has hang points available, which allows characters to leap out of the fray and hang on a tree or ledge for a short while by pushing all three kick buttons. Better yet, all the bladed weaponry on offer means that those escape routes can regularly disappear as branches are cut down and light rigs fall.

It’s a shame that for its inventive gameplay, the game doesn’t have a personality of its own. While none of the characters would feel tremendously out of place in SNK’s aforementioned Samurai Shodown series, arenas have a homogenised feel, varying from scenes of nature to bustling urban areas. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, mind. A victim of poor timing for home release, no doubt – the popularity of the 2D fighter was rapidly eroding in the face of competition from the likes of Tekken – the game is well worth another look.