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Dragoon Might (Arcade) artwork

Dragoon Might (Arcade) review

"Konami's 4th unknown fighter!"

Looking at their history, Dragoon Might is Konami's 4th attempt at the 1-vs-1, 2d fighting genre. Konami made 2 fighters back in 1985 (talk about old), which were: Galactic Warriors, which you could select between 3 robots, and the more known fighter, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, for which you could only use Oolong, but was the first fighter that had multiple stereotyped characters, which later, Capcom (like with Final Fight) would later improve upon with Street Fighter in '87, and in '91 releasing SF2. Like Data East, who had created Karate Champ in '84, the developers must have seen that this kind of genre did not generate the kind of revenue they needed, so they designed other games like Rush'n Attack and Contra (both of which were huge hits). Then in '93 (and most likely seeing how successful SF2 was), Konami designed their 3rd, 2d fighter, Martial Champion, which was anything but great. Then in '95, Konami designed Dragoon Might, which is a cross between SF2 and Samurai Shodown. So how does DM compare to the other Great fighters?

The story for DM is pretty much like most other fighters. You travel across the world looking for pieces of the Dragon Medallion, that are scattered about. Which, coincidently, each one of the contestants have a piece of.

Even with some of the new ideas Konami thought of and put in DM, they just aren't enough to make it one of the few fighters not to be labeled an SF2, Samurai Shodown clone. DM has super moves, which only a selected few fighters had at the time, but instead of doing your double fireball motion, or a more insane SNK, Raging Storm motion, you simply pressed 2 punch buttons simultaneously, but this will also use a small portion of your health bar, to even out being so easy to do.

Dragoon Might (Arcade) image

DM also has Final Attacks, which are pretty much desperation moves. Not counting Super and Desperation moves, most of the characters have between 3-5 special moves, which for the most part, 50% of these moves look pretty average and generic looking, with only a few looking interesting and thought out. But, most of the special moves have some cool looking effects to them, like with Yamoto, which you'll see (and hear) a Dragon's head in most of his moves, just little things like this, here and there.

Something unique to DM's play mechanics, is being able to hang on one of the overhead limbs, whether it's a tree branch or a pipe, which you can also cut off. This is an interesting feature, which adds some Depth to DM's play mechanics, it's just a matter of players using them and creating technique's to do so. Something else fighters need to have is, combos?. You don't actually need them, but if you want your game to stand out, and players talking about your game, then you need them in there (along with unique play mechanics, responsive controls, cool and interesting characters etc...), it's just a matter of putting a limit to what you can do, and how many times you can do it, as the one thing that can easily ruin a good game are infinite combos.

Most of the combos I've done in DM are your typical 2-in-1's. In example, jumping attack, followed by a ground attack, and usually finishing with a special move, nothing really fancy (that I've seen at least) like you can do in games like Primal Rage, EC-CD, 3rd Strike, KofXI and Killer Instinct to name a few. Something that DM lets you do is choose between a 1-vs-1 or a KOF style 3-vs-3 fight, for which you'll get an additional power bar at the bottom of the screen. The 3-vs-3 feature has a Rage Explosion, which a character will do if they take too many hits, that will push your opponent away from you. You can also lose your weapon and attack your opponent as they're on the ground (ala Last Blade/Night Warriors).

Dragoon Might (Arcade) image

The controls are solid and smooth (much better then Martial Champion), and is very responsive to the player. The set up is like SF2, you have your control stick and 6 buttons, 3 for punch/slash and 3 for kick. In reality, Dragoon Might feels more like Dark legend by Data East.

Everything in DM is drawn very well and clean, from the backgrounds to the characters themselves. Konami even put in a few little touches, like when you're in Tekkamen's Ice-cave background, you'll see your characters breath from the cold, as well as see your distorted reflection in the ice, to falling leaves. The sprites are illustrated nicely, have a clean edge to them and are animated pretty fluidly. DM also has the scaling effect that SNK used in Art of Fighting and the Samurai Shodown series, which moves pretty smoothly with the 2-5 layers of parallax scrolling found in the backgrounds. The Characters? Most are original in design?....But a few tend to mimic your basic stereotype designs.

You have your ninja (or ninjas) Tekkamen and Kodama (who are pretty much a palette swap, sigh), your female, Layla, Ryan and Suiko are both monks, Tsunami is like Mizuchi from SS2, Yamoto is your typical shoto, Zack is a young boy who uses a heavy sword, Jaoh is an armored samurai, Drake uses a staff, Samumaru acts like a monkey and walks on his blades that are attached to his feet, Reggie is a huge Aussie-like character who, you guessed it, uses a large knife and finally, Dogma, who I'm guessing is the last boss (at least I hope he is, as if he's not!!) suffers from a major case of SBS (SNK boss syndrome). All in all, the characters are an espy bunch, you just might not like the cheap shortcuts some companies use by palette or head swapping, to create another character?. The fire and mist effects are nicely done as well.

Dragoon Might (Arcade) image

As I said earlier, Dragoon Might is a mix between Samurai Shodown and SF2, almost feeling identical to Dark Legend, but there is a big difference between the 2 games (mostly in the combo department). Dragoon Might came out in the middle of the 2d fighting era, where almost every company wanted to make their own 2d fighter, with most not bringing anything new to the genre. There's nothing really hardcore about DM, the game moves at a steady pace, and is not as fast as games like Guilty Gear X, SF2 HF. Plus not being made by Capcom, SNK or Midway, most players overlooked this game. Should you play DM or buy the Jamma if you see one? Well that depends. Yes, as it's a pretty solid game, and it never hurts to try a game once?

Actually, sometimes it does, but this is one of those times it doesn't. DM is a solid fighter at best, it's not a bad game, but if you're looking for a more fast paced, combo-heavy game, then you'll most likely want to play one of the games I mentioned earlier. All in all, Konami, like Taito, never took this genre as seriously as companies like Capcom and SNK did, with companies like Sega, Midway and Data East making excellent and unique well playing fighters, but not many players giving them any real attention that some deserved....


Community review by DEATHSCHILD (March 15, 2017)

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Nightfire posted March 17, 2017:

Thanks for covering this obscure title. I visited the arcades a lot in the early 90s, and I never saw this game even once. I think the arcades were probably banking on the SNK and Capcom titles to bring in the quarters instead.

This was a very thorough review; great screenshots, too. It has some technical issues though. For instance, there is some strange use of capitalization, a period should never go after a question mark, et cetera. Some edit passes might've caught these things.

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