Never Played: PANZER DRAGOON II ZWEI
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei released in 1996, just a year after Panzer Dragoon. The developer was Team Andromeda, part of Sega’s studios at the time. Though it is the second game of the series, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei is actually a prequel. It shows us what happened in the game world before the original game’s protagonist discovered dragons and set out on his quest. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei features protagonist Jean-Luc Lundi and shows how he’s potentially the first human to discover a dragon. After raising it to adulthood he rides it into battle in pursuit of a ship that destroyed his homeworld. The game is an on-rails shooter but allows the player to move slightly to dodge attacks (similar to Star Fox) and also allows you to rotate the camera 360 degrees to destroy enemies from all angles. It had tremendous reviews but not many copies sold in the U.S.
The cover art for Panzer Dragoon II Zwei is awesome, how badass does that dragon look? If only the actual gameplay looked half as good. I found myself struggling to make out what some things were even supposed to be while playing this. At the time of launch this game was considered to look realistic, but going back now it is blurry and incomprehensible. Cutscenes actually weren’t bad though, for the most part I was impressed with how defined the characters looked in them for a 20 year old game. The music didn’t disappoint though. Its one of the few soundtracks on the Saturn that I have really enjoyed. There are moments in the game that are very intense and the music does a fine job of accentuating that.
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. I was able to forgive the shitty resolution and low polygon counts because I was enjoying myself so much while playing. This game is like Star Fox, but with cooler boss fights, a dark atmosphere, tons of back story and many fun levels which each have very different landscapes and even have different mechanics from the last. I love the ability to turn around 360 degrees, it adds more intensity as you have to cover all angles. I also love the level variety. At first I ran through the level on the ground, dodging explosions, rocks and fire while shooting down invaders. Over the next few levels I found myself traversing forests, caves, clouds and more. The levels have multiple discoverable paths too. I can’t follow the story at all but who cares about story in an on-rails shooter.
This game was very ambitious. I almost forgot to mention that your dragon evolves throughout the game based on your performance in each level. The developers had amazing ideas, were excellent at designing the levels and put in a lot of effort on backstory. Its just a shame this franchise can’t be revived, or at the very least that this game can’t get remade in the HD glory it deserves. Panzer Dragoon games may be expensive these days, but in my opinion they’re worth every penny.