Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gaming Treasures - Panzer Dragoon Orta

Panzer Dragoon Orta
Sega /Team Andromeda

Prelude – During the infancy of a new found type of Sega, as a restructure and new beginnings. Going from an inside developer, to a 3rd part shareholder with others under the helm. Orta began as a new chapter from Sega’s long running rpg series about a rider and their dragon. However it was of Sega’s past that tortured its own history, actually beginning on a failed system the Saturn (and was produced as a handheld title for the Game Gear). Panzer Dragoon began as a nod to classic fantasy and fairytale lore, later it evolved into something different. It became an adventure title like no other before, or after it.

  Its early predecessor began as an arcade title, with limited continues players were challenged to keep trying until they unveiled each mission. Successful they would be the driving force of the rider, and make their destiny known and change what could be. With enough of a foundation, Dragoon shifted towards becoming an rpg, letting players evolve their dragons through rigorous play. In doing so, the dragon would actually develop more target attacks, and be able to harness berserker power that could be unleashed towards onset enemies that enveloped the hud.

  Through its journey of becoming an adventure rpg, it enveloped around a dark world. A world where dragons were put into exile and their past was forced to be ridden by humans. But some rebelled and left the old world behind, only to be attacked by unknown forces. Humans now live in a barren wasteland determined to find what was left behind, let alone a dragon lay hidden as last of its kind (or so it was thought).

Azel to Orta – With the branching of the series, Azel was the evolution. As a hunter, whom befriends a being from a lost time. They join forces to change their destiny, along with a new dragon (the birthright of the blue dragon). Things begin to unravel as the past, present and future collides. (time shifts and Azel’s story ends)

Orta’s herald – Orta’s story takes place many years later, the old Capricorn (actually a fallen star) locked itself away to be opened by a chosen being. Abadd, an android that was kept from within escaped his cell seeks a connection to the outside world. The dragon from Azel’s mission seeks its new rider, in Orta a young woman kept away in a land lost in ruins. It is here that her destiny is barely unfolding.

Flight – A unique change in design, is that of the dragon. There are three skill types: offense, defense, and charger. Each tactic gives the dragon and its rider unknown powers that aid in its quest. But in play throughs it becomes apparent that this mission is in fact the Dragon’s last stand to protect its destined protector.

By design – With a unique art style, the world through Orta’s eyes begin as immersed in darkness. From the lost caverns, to a lost land, and many more places that both dragon and rider will find themselves. Colors begin to change from dark to light, further pushing the player to continue even after they finish playing. In addition, there are several play modes that offer a unique challenge. Easy (beginner), Normal (adaptable), and Hard (explains itself). There is also an extra hidden keepsake within Orta’s world called “Pandora’s Box”. With enough play through, those who keep seeking more will find lost history, and bestiary of the past, and the present.

  Sadly its been nearly ten years since anyone heard of this series. Some in the fan community thought it could possibly end here with Orta. Turns out that there is a forthcoming addition,  to the sleeping dragon. A new chapter called Crimson Dragon (oddly dropping the 2nd O from Dragoon as its always been called for years). So far its only been revealed that it can be played on Xbox 360’s Kinect system. Plus it will feature a variety of characters from the series. In addition, PD will also be featured within Sega and Sonic All-Stars Racing – Transformed. As a tease it was shown as a test stage, enveloping players within one of the classic terrains with a familiar BGM playing across the level (and several dragons flying by!)

  Although the original team that worked on the PD series took a break. I believe this series can make a comeback that very few series ever manage to do. Panzer Dragoon is most likely the “phoenix rising from the ashes” within the gaming industry.

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