Dragon Climax – Review
Follow Genre: Sidescrolling action platformer
Developer: SEEP
Publisher: SEEP
Platform: PC
Testen on: PC

Dragon Climax – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: A lot of retro visuals and sounds are spot on
Bad: Very poor mechanics and gameplay
User Score
6.9
(9 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.9/10 (9 votes cast)

Do dragons even climax? How do dragons procreate? Could it be the typical 80’s Asian movies that inspired the title and this game itself? So many questions. Looking at the artwork, the game at least seems to have some heavy influences from old movies and early games. Dragon Climax lets you relive some of those times as you follow Shinya and Kasuga on an adventure.

Dragon Climax logo

Story

A city that’s in turmoil by a recession. Tamotsu Iwata, who is Shinya, Aoki and Kasuga’s dad, started a dojo amidst this chaos where people could train to defend themselves. Tamotsu fell ill, and despite the past where Kasuga had a fallout with her dad and left, she came running back when she learned their little sister Aoki has been kidnapped by the mafia and has been brought God knows where. In a rather clueless effort to find her, Shinya and Kasuga try their very best, starting their search in the ruined city they live in. Hopefully, they will be in time before Tamotsu meets his end, or worse, before something terrible happens to Aoki.

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Graphics

Visually, the game exhales retro air with every breath it takes. It’s not all too consistent, but still well done. It’s like somebody grabbed some of their favorite games from the SNES, Gameboy and SEGA Genesis, and mixed them all together in a giant blender of the mind. What comes out is a passionate sauce of somebody who clearly cares about what they were making. It’s also the main reason why it’s not all too clear what the game wants to be. Is it a parody? Look at the main menu title with its quirky font and humongous boobs. A parody right? But the rest of the game feels like it wants to be serious about everything. It’s a problem that also appears when looking at the gameplay due to limited mechanics. It’s like the mechanics don’t fit the game that has been published. But more about that later.

Sound

The sound design can be discussed in details, but at least it fits the graphics and the type of game that has been tried to recreate. The adorable Asian voice saying the title of the game and announcing various other amounts of things you click on is a good example of originality that works and lives. The soundtrack itself might not be too memorable, but still, its well made. There’s not really a point of criticism to be given here.

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Gameplay

Dragon Climax can be classified as an action platformer. It has the premise and air of a retro beat ‘m up side scrolling game like Streets of Rage, but actually plays much more like a Mario game mixed with some clunky karate moves. Yes, gameplay-wise it’s almost as bad as it sounds. Not because you wouldn’t be able to enjoy yourself at all while playing the game, but because the mechanics limit your gamer’s instincts and wishes a lot due to the fact that other similar games have been made much better. As an example, if you play a game such as the classic Streets of Rage, you get a rather smooth sensation when you try to kick ass and combo enemies into their demise. In Dragon Climax, your only skill is hit and run. Meaning that if you try to hit an enemy with 3 hp more than once or twice in a row, he will definitely hit you back at least once in between. You could see it as a lack of programming skills, in-game depth or lazy developing, it’s a lack of something either way.

It’s like the mechanics don’t fit the game that has been published like mentioned earlier. Either you want to make a beat ‘m up, a sidescroller or an adventurous platformer. Combining all these genres with limited depth for each single one creates something that doesn’t feel good while playing.

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To demotivate players even further, each time you die you are game over and forced to redo the mission you were on. The game allows you to grow stronger in-between failures by spending experience points and gold to buy items and train your stats, but for a lot of people, it will still feel like you are being held back rather than encouraged to try again. Again, mainly because of the lack of proper gameplay.

You alter characters between missions. The male character is the worst to play with considering his variation in a simple punch, a simple kick, or a special attack which shoots a ball of energy out his hands. Special attacks are limited up to about 4 shots until your ki is drained. The female character fits better into the game because she throws ranged kunai (ninja throwing weapons) that feel a bit smoother. Levels where you can play as her also have slightly better enemy AI because of, as an example, pre-programmed flight patterns of a swarm of bats coming towards you. It’s better thought through and also more enjoyable.

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Besides missions, there are some jobs you can do that earn you a bit of experience and coins depending on how well you do. Jobs are little mini-games that barely offer any challenge because of the lack of gameplay mechanics. When trying them, they seem to have some promising ideas, but once again a boring execution. Also, there is little to work for when it comes to coins. Experience will come in handy as long as you didn’t improve all your stats yet, but coins can mainly be used to either replenish your one-use-per-game items or to customize the colors of your character. It’s not really worth the trouble in any case.

Conclusion

Even though at first sight Dragon Climax seems somewhat of a parody as well as a proper retro game, it’s really just the gameplay and the mechanics that keep the game from rising through the Dojo from apprentice to master. There’s nothing bad to be said about the graphics or sounds for what the game is supposed to be, but the bad overall design makes every piece of hard work that clearly has some passion in it disappear into nothing but a pile of B-grade retro games.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.9/10 (9 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
Dragon Climax - Review, 6.9 out of 10 based on 9 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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