Dragon’s Crown is an exploration in hyper-, whether it’s strength, sexuality or activity this 2D side-scrolling role-playing game reminds me of the vintage Dungeons & Dragons arcade game from the 90’s. Designed by George Kamitani, we see the natural progression and evolution of the side-scroller, or “beat ‘em up” game by integrating RPG elements, outlandish characters, and beautiful hand-drawn graphics. This medieval title supports up to four players as you blast your way through dungeon after dungeon tracking and hunting down adventure. One of the key features includes the ability to share save files between your PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, but the cross-play feature has gone out the window. Both versions of the game provide online capabilities to match up with similarly-talented dungeon crawlers.
Meet the Team
The roster sports six playable characters with enough diversity to fit any play-style while you’re crawling with friends. If you’re looking to play the role of the heroic and valiant knight, striking up defensive postures and protecting your comrades you can take on the role of the Fighter. His paradoxically heavy top-half makes him an invaluable asset when facing powerful enemies. His one-handed sword and blocking abilities eventually upgrade to help everyone in the party.
If you’re not interested in blocking any attacks, the Amazon provides a scantily clad female warrior with a bodybuilding physique and large two-handed weapons that can launch devastating melee attacks to all enemies within proximity. Her male counterpart, the bulwark Dwarf charges around dual-wielding and using his herculean strength to pick up enemies and throw them like projectiles. He’s an experiment in chaos and fun.
If you prefer to bend the elements and wield destructive magic then you’re blessed with the option of the (male) Wizard and his area-based attacks or his (female) counterpart, the Sorceress that can provide conjured food, polymorphic abilities, and summoned skeletons to help in battle.
Lastly, the classic ranger, or rather “Elf” provides a nimble bow wielding warrior that is limited by the arrows you can find from fallen foes, making it one of the more complex but fun characters to play. Although the arrows sound limiting, the consistent resupply only encourages accurate shots and not frugal elf syndrome.
Playing the Game
While the game splits the long tale into segments of adventure, all resulting in a quick trip back to town, the bulk of the game plays like an elaborated arcade game with heavy role-playing game elements when it comes to skill development, equipment, and lore. The story itself is unilateral, and although there are side-quests offered along the way for bounty, they are for the most part irrelevant. Fortunately it does break up the story if you’re looking for a change.
Between every mission you’ll be visiting one of many fine establishments in town; whether its the tavern to choose your character and companions, the temple to revive and bury the dead, the shop to appraise and sell, the tower to peddle magic wares, or the adventurers guild and castle where the bulk of your quests will lead. It’s a cozy setup, and one you’ll become quite familiar with. Fortunately hitting select will give you the chance to fast travel through town and out.
The internet has been abuzz with complaints that the game is poised as a wild adolescent fantasy, or a belligerent disrespect of gender roles. What’s curious is that in the direction of the art style it bends both genders into hypersexualized and hyper-accentuated features. Whether it’s thighs like mountains, a bosom that challenges axial dimensions, or men with muscles that betray the laws of physics and human anatomy.
Whether the game is attempting to make a statement, exploit sexuality, or bounce off the artists natural talent and style, one point is clear: People are talking about the game, and gamers are fascinated.
The reason people are talking about this game in the end is a rather irrelevant point, if you’re looking to pick the game up then there’s only one real question you have to ask yourself: Is the game fun? The short answer is yes, it’s a nostalgic and classic title that would make any side-scrolling fan happy. It comes at you with a unique art style, simple but refined gameplay mechanics, and enough quests to keep you busy for a while. It’s only downside is that it struggles to capture my attention for prolonged periods of time.
This is the type of game that you’re either going to love or hate, and you just have to take it for what it is.