My Most Memorable Panzer Dragoon Moments

 

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Image credits: Will of the Ancients

As one of my favorite video game franchises, Panzer Dragoon contains many memorable experiences for me. From my first time flying through the sunken ruins in the original to my final battle in Saga, this series will always hold a unique place in my collection of gaming experiences.

With Team Andromeda Month winding down, I wanted to share some of these experiences. In the interest of keeping things interesting, since most Panzer games tend to end on a high note, I won’t be talking much about final stages or boss battles. I will also be spreading them across all of the games in the franchise in order to avoid favoring any one game too much over the others, as they are all worth talking about. Keep in mind this is a personal list, so feel free to chime in with your own top five moments in the comments!

Classic SEGA Ads: Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s US Commercial

 

You want to know how good Panzer Dragoon Zwei is? It’s apparently caused a nuclear holocaust. Think about that.

From what I’ve seen of them, SEGA Saturn commercials are…weird. Worse yet, they often aren’t really all that appealing. This one in many ways is kind of perfect example of that. Here they have this weird, quirky Japanese rail shooter where you destroy hoards of enemies atop a laser-shooting dragon, and what do they do? Compare dicks with the Playstation.

Of course, bit-measuring and graphics chest thumping was all the rage back in ‘90s video game advertising, but the sad thing about its use here is that it does nothing to make me want the game or the system. The commercial really is just kind of…lazy. It definitely has nothing on Japan’s iconic Segato Sanshiro campaign, or the Xbox’s Panzer Dragoon Orta commercial, which we’ll be getting to next month.

I’ll admit, Zwei is probably a hard game to fit into SEGA of America’s typical commercial formula. It has no attitude to it, and it’s very Japanese. That said, I doubt commercials like this did the Saturn many favors.

To wash the taste of this one out of your mouth, I’ve gone ahead and included the Segato Sanshiro commercial for Panzer Dragoon Saga below. It’s pretty much an abridged version of the Zwei ad, but its still got that awesome theme song!

The Future of Panzer Dragoon

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It’s hard to believe Panzer Dragoon Orta is more than 12 years old. Looking back, Orta has aged incredibly well. Its visuals are still gorgeous and its gameplay still feels just as smooth and polished as it did in 2003. In an age where all sorts of obscure games are seeing digital re-releases and all sorts of franchises and genres are finding new life in the realm of digital, I think it’s a missed opportunity that Panzer Dragoon hasn’t received any sort of new release while digital gaming has been booming.

So today I thought I’d write up an article exploring the many ways Panzer Dragoon could (and should) fit into SEGA’s renewed focus on digital and mobile gaming.

Nintendo 3DS gets SEGA Dreamcast and SG-1000 themes in Japan

The more SEGA themes Japan gets, the more I want to just import a Japanese 3DS so I can enjoy them. This month’s themes are easily some of the coolest. The Dreamcast theme is based around the system’s own menu, and even plays the mechanical whirring and VMU beeping that fans are familiar with. Less familiar is the theme’s background music, which is lifted from the Japanese-only browser disc Dream Passport.

The SG-1000 theme is pretty cool in its own right. Aside from being based on SEGA’s very first home system, the theme also displays screenshots from a variety of games in the background. The music might be familiar to any hardcore Sonic Team fans with an emulator (or the system and a Japanese television if you’re crazy) since it’s taken from Girl’s Garden, Yuji Naka’s first game. Checkout the theme below!

Both themes are available on the Japanese 3DS’s Theme Shop for 200 yen/$1.50. There is still no word on these themes coming stateside.

Year of the Developers: We take flight with SEGA’s Team Andromeda

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The SEGA Saturn’s surprise early launch in America is considered one of the most disastrous mistakes in the history of the video game industry. It angered SEGA’s third party publishers and retail partners, it allowed Sony to get the drop on the Saturn with a lower price point and it ultimately destroyed SEGA’s dominance in the American market, financially crippling SEGA permanently. The launch did have a bright spot though: it introduced the games of SEGA’s Team Andromeda to the West.

This month is devoted to the games of Team Andromeda, and to kick things off we have a developer and Panzer Dragoon franchise retrospective. Ready to take flight?

Skies of Arcadia is still one of the best RPGs ever made

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Nearly ten years ago, Skies of Arcadia completely changed the way I viewed video games. What I once saw as a passive medium, where I followed a trail of bread crumbs from point to point to see what the developers had in store for me, I now saw something greater.

Arcadia drew me into its world in a way no game has before or since with colorful characters, beautiful locales, and a sense of adventure that the game not only emphasizes, but cherishes. Even today, when I come back to the game after having experienced the likes of Oblivion, Mass Effect, and Skyrim, I still get a feeling of adventure that no other game seems able to provide in quite the same way. Naturally, there are some spoilers ahead, so if you’d prefer to go into this game ignorant, don’t read any further!

SEGA Japan shows off new Game Gear, Master System 3DS themes

 

 

 

If last month’s 3DS themes weren’t enough to make you envy Japanese gamers, this week’s ought to do it. 3DS has received two more SEGA console themes, this time centering on the Game Gear and the Master System.  

The themes are loaded with fan service, of course. The Game Gear theme is sporting the Green Hills Zone theme from its version of Sonic 2 and folders made out of 3D Game Gear cartridges, while the Master System theme features an 8-bit rendition of the Space Harrier song and 3D gold cartridge folders (which were a line of Master System cartridges in Japan).

Though I couldn’t find a price, the themes are likely going for 200 yen/$1.50 like last month’s themes. Having a Game Gear theme on my Nintendo handheld would be oh-so perfect, so hopefully we’ll eventually see their release stateside. Fingers crossed!

Check out the Master System theme below.

Tuesday Tunes: Space Channel 5’s Spaceport: Introducing Ulala and Mexican Flyer

It’s only fitting that the final Tuesday Tunes for Dreamcast month be about one of the Dreamcast’s legendary rhythm titles. Tonight’s track? A bombastic, jazzy little tune from Space Channel 5,You got to love when that awesome saxophone solo at the 2:55 mark, too. This is a real swinging, sexy piece of jazz that’d be absolutely great to dance to even outside of the game. Spaceport: Introducing Ulala. You got to love when that saxophone solo starts playing at the minute mark, too. This is a real swinging, sexy piece of jazz that’d be absolutely great to dance to even outside of the game. Definitely a great song to introduce one of the coolest rhythm game characters out there.

What many of you might not know is that one of Space Channel 5’s most iconic tunes wasn’t even made for the game! It’s actually a remix of an awesome song from the 1966 spy thriller movie “The Thriller Memorandum” called Mexican Flyer. The song itself is performed by Ken Woodman & His Piccadilly Brass, and the version Space Channel 5 uses seem to be ripped straight from the movie.

I don’t know what possessed Tetsuya Mizuguchi and the good people from United Game Artists to go with this as one of their game’s headline songs, but I’m glad they did. We can always use more jazz in gaming soundtracks, especially these days! Check out the original Mexican Flyer, which was also in Space Channel 5, below the fold.

Classic SEGA Ads: Shenmue! It’s so good, you’ll dream about it during sex!

As the Dreamcast entered its second (and final) year on the US market, SEGA moved away from their awesome “inside the Dreamcast” ads and went back to a style somewhat more conventional. These later Dreamcast ads are reminiscent of some of the better Genesis era stuff, albeit they are typically cleverer and better written.

Here, we’ve got a man who’s clearly been playing too much Shenmue. I’ll admit this is a funny ad that conveys the immersion factor of the game pretty effectively, but at the same time I can’t help but think that this would have been a game better advertised as a dramatic, epic masterpiece than as a game you’ll be thinking about in bed.

There was an ad made in this vein…though I’m unsure if it ever aired on television. It’s a direct translation of the Japanese ad and a pretty epic piece of advertisement. It features a great vocal track called “Song of the Bay”, which was only ever featured on the Shenmue orchestral soundtrack. Check out this ad below the fold!

Tuesday Tunes: Shenmue’s Original Soundtrack

When Shenmue was being hyped by SEGA as the next big step in gaming immersion, Yu Suzuki often liked to classify the game in its own genre, “Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment” or FREE. These days we tend to either call it an RPG or an adventure game, but even back then the phrase didn’t really work because it ignored one of Shenmue’s best qualities: its utterly marvelous, epic, emotional, cinematic, beautiful soundtrack. For Shenmue Week Tuesday Tunes will be doing something new: instead of posting one or two tracks, we’re posting the entire soundtrack.

The above video was put together by Shenmue Dojo. Aside from being a marvelous way to listen to the entire Shenmue soundtrack, this video was also the first request Tuesday Tunes ever received. Someone from Shenmue Dojo really wanted us to highlight it, but I knew we couldn’t just do it for any occasion. It may have taken awhile, dude, but you finally got your wish. Now please, join us as we take a musical journey through part one of Yu Suzuki’s magnum opus!