Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: DragonStrike is a pretty underrated game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1992 and developed by Westwood Associates. You’d normally associate a role playing game with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but this game is actually a shoot em up where you control a dragon! Neat idea, but let’s check out how it was executed.
Story : Not much story to speak of here. You’re a heroic dragon fighting evil all over the realms. With a game like this you don’t need a story, but being able to control a dragon is cool enough to make you really get into the fantastic atmosphere of the game.
Graphics : If you’re a D&D fan, there’s lots to love in this game graphically. First, the dragons all look great and have many frames of animation. The enemies are also great looking, though not as good as the dragons for obvious reasons. The bosses are very big and colorful, and the level design is pretty interesting especially when you get to the final levels. The coolest thing to note here is that many of the beloved D&D creatures made it into this game. I won’t ruin the surprises, but they look great and are a fun to fight against.
Sound : There’s nothing special in this department of this game, but there’s nothing bad either. The sound effects are all pleasant and unobtrusive. The music fits well and is arranged equally well. The compositions are good enough, putting you into the world but not being very catchy in the grand scheme of things. Overall, a mediocre effort sound wise.
Game play : The controls are very good. Though they’re simple, it’s important to have solid controls for any shoot em up and in this area the game delivers. The level design is nice and straight forward. Fly towards the boss, fight enemies along the way, kill the boss. Some levels are different and force you to kill special enemies within the level before you can see the boss.
One thing in this game that you don’t see in many others on the NES is the ability to change altitudes! You can fly high or low, which is nice for figuring out your own playing style.
Re playability : There’s difficulty levels but those won’t let you see anything new in the game. However, there’s three different dragons you can control with different elemental types and different play styles. So this game actually has quite a bit of re play value if you like it enough to beat it the first time with one dragon.
Overall : 5/10. A solid shoot em’ up, but there’s better ones on the NES. For a D&D fan however, you can’t pass this up.