Panzer Dragoon Orta

a game by Sega
Platform: XBox
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
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Born into a world of dragons and biotechnology, Orta is confined in the prison of a crumbling stone tower. The game opens as a sea of Draonmares turns her prison, and refuge, apart, and a single dragon rescues her from their clutches.

Those of you who owned a Sega Saturn might remember the Panzer Dragoon franchise as a weak sister to the endless stream of first-person shooters that followed. But this latest iteration is a prime example of how a new technology can not only breath life into an old game, but can reinvent it.

Panzer Dragoon Orta is a third-person rail-shooter, and more than likely, most gamers won't have heard of this short-lived sub-genre. Basically it means you have no real control of what direction you are heading. Instead you sit atop a car, train, rail, or, in this case, a dragon, and shoot at stuff like you're in a shooting gallery. This genre disappeared with the advent of the fully controllable first-person shooter. But Orta's return to the sub-genre is a good thing, because of Sega's approach.

The game plays from a third-person perspective, allowing you to control your dragon's banking movements and speed. It also allows you to control where you are looking, in a 360-degree circle. Put on top of that the fact that you have to duck and weave through the scenery and dodge projectiles and you've got a wonderfully complex game. You'll spend half your time focusing on shooting stuff and the other half figuring out how best to shoot it. You can use Orta's basic gun by tapping the button or a homing laser by holding a button in, painting a couple of targets and letting go. You also have the ability to ram objects with the dragon or launch a special berserk attack. And if that weren't enough options, the game lets you morph your dragon at will into one of three types of mounts. The glide wing is a light dragon with weak weapons but lots of speed. The heavy wing has powerful laser blasts but slow movement and the base wing is a mix of the two. As you go through the game you will also be able to pick up gene bases which power up each of the dragon types to a stronger version of itself.

This game is truly something that could only be on the Xbox. The graphics are beautifully rendered, offering enough scenery to nearly distract from the utter chaos that makes up much of the game and the sound supports Dolby 5.1 which means a surround sound that actually helps you locate enemies in gameplay. If that weren't enough, Orta comes with 10 packed and wildly varying levels and more unlockable extras than you can shake a stick at. It includes a full port of the 1995 Panzer, stand-alone scenarios, a seven-mission side story, and tons of fun little extras like playable characters, artwork and a virtual encyclopedia.

Dragon Panzer Orta has it all. This game is a must have for any Xbox buff.

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