Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye

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a game by Activision, and Hot B
Genres: Board Games, Strategy/War
Platforms: PC, Sega GenesisGenesis, SNESSNES
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 7.5/10 - 4 votes
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See also: Mahjong Games, Shanghai Games

It's rather odd that I can think of only one computer version of Mah Jongg (EA's Hong Kong Mah Jongg Pro), but, if pushed, could probably name getting on for half a dozen versions of the solitaire game that is played using the same tile set. That's undoubtedly got something to do with the relative complexity of the two: Mah Jongg is an involved four-player game somewhat akin to Rummy, while Shanghai is an extremely simple and accessible game based around the removal of matching tiles from a pile. The former takes a while to learn while the latter is picked up in seconds, and is far more likely to have you playing until the early hours.

The objective of the game is very simple. The full set of Mah Jongg tiles is set out in a predefined pattern. The pattern is such that not all the tiles are accessible at the same time: some tiles have to be removed to allow others to be brought into play. On each turn, the player removes a pair of matching tiles. He continues to do so until either all the tiles have been removed or he can make no further moves because there are no more pairs available. The latter situation occurs more often than you might think because there are only two pairs of each tile and the order in which they are removed is often critical. It is not uncommon to remove an easy pair at the beginning of the game only to discover later on that the third tile is blocking the fourth.

Activision's Shanghai II made its first appearance, as a mouse driven, Dos-based program, a couple of years ago, and received a warm response because as well as offering the standard square layout, it also included 12 additional layouts based on the animals of the Chinese horoscope and eight new tile sets. Animated tiles, sound effects and a two-player option helped to lift it above a rather lacklustre crowd.

Two further additions, which give you more value for money than you might otherwise get out of this game, are a construction set in the form of a very simple utility which enables you to create your own layouts, and the two-player game, Dragon's Eye. The latter is a game based on a smaller grid which supposedly represents a dragon. In the centre of the grid are a series of special squares which form the dragon's heart, and these are the only squares on which tiles are initially placed. One player takes the role of the dragon master and the other, the dragon slayer. The dragon master has a hand of three tiles, while the dragon slayer has five or six, depending on whether or not he is waiting to play a tile. Each player takes turns placing tiles on the grid and then drawing more from the stock. The dragon master's aim is to complete the dragon and bring it to life, while the dragon slayer, self-evidently, aims to destroy it by removing all the tiles. This is quite a fun diversion from the main game, although it does tend to be rather onesided, the dragon master's task being a lot more difficult.

The Windows version of Shanghai II is identical to its dos counterpart, with the one exception that it now has all the functionality of any other Windows program, meaning you can minimize it, resize the window, switch back and forth to other applications and so on. That change alone will probably mean that Shanghai II is going to be responsible for a general decrease in productivity in a lot of offices over the next couple of months. Shanghai II is, without a doubt, a worthwhile reworking of an excellent game.

Download Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

Game Reviews

Shanghai 2 looks to be this year's mind-bender cart. Stored within this cartridge are a myriad of brain-teasing games based on the Oriental game mahjongg.

All of the included games are very fun to play! Even gamers who are not partial to these types of games will instantly become hooked on Shanghai 2's ability to befuddle your senses. If you're in the mood to give your brain a workout, you have got to try Activision's Shanghai 2!

Mediagenic is bringing the classic Puzzle game to the Super NES. You must remove all the tiles by using strategy and cognitive thinking skills. New features let you change the tiles to your liking.

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots

See Also

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