Even those players who are familiar with the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons series of games (such as Curse of the Azure Bonds and Champions of Krynri) may be surprised by the new direction SSI has taken in DragonStrike. Although Dragon-Strike continues the legend of the brave Solamnic Knights of Ansa-Ion, it is primarily a flight simulator —albeit a flight simulator with flying dragons, rather than the latest fighter jets in the U.S. Air Force.
You play the role of a dragon pilot trainee, a lowly squire apprenticed to the Solamnic Order. Beginning with a relatively lightly armed (and fortunately, docile) dragon, your first missions are limited to aerial guard duty around castles or delivering supplies to troops ravaged by the onslaught of the invading Dragonarmies. Even these "milk runs" can be deadly, however, if you haven't been properly trained in the flight characteristics and weaponry of your dragon.
Using your weapons, especially if you're a novice, is an exercise in patience and prudence. Your dragon's main weapon is its breath, which can either hurl or repel lightning. Unfortunately, it takes about a minute to recharge after each use. You can also fight with your lance, and with your dragon's claws and wing talons. However, these are very short-range weapons which require both patience and timing to be used effectively. Each dragon is equipped with a crystal ball for detecting enemies, and you can also acquire a Featherfall Ring, which substitutes for a parachute in case you lose your grip during a high-G maneuver.
As you progress through the ranks toward the lofty goal of becoming a High Justice Knight of the Rose, you'll get increasingly better mounts. You'll also be able to use more weapons, and even magic, in the 22 missions you'll ultimately undertake.
DragonStrike is a beautiful game, especially if you have a reasonably fast computer with VGA graphics. And although the setting of the game is ancient and magical, fans of present-day fighter simulators should feel right at home.