Look, I'm not perfect. I've made a few mistakes in my brief time as an internet game reviewer. Although I'm not an accredited member of the gaming press and I have no degree in literature or journalism, I haven't let that stop me from espousing some controversial opinions regarding games that could be considered indie darlings. I may have even, on occasion, blamed my technical incompetence on a games programming, then left it in the review because I thought it was a funny joke.
That brand of gonzo game reviewing ends now. And by now I mean right.... NOW.
This marks a decidedly more serious chapter in my unfortunately unpaid side career. It begins by making amends to you, the unwitting reader. A promise to stop wasting your time with endless pleasantries and, seemingly unrelated to anything, introductions. More importantly I've decided to do you a favour. BOTH OF US a favour really... I've decided to introduce you to great game you've never heard of, and do myself a favour by NOT talking about a game that makes me want to put my head in a microwave.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...
In a gaming landscape now filled to the toilets brim with the rainbow coloured, red bull flavoured vomit of the critical press' adoration for 5 star indie releases every year, It seems that thousands of smaller games slip by undetected and unappreciated.
Do you like Contra? That is less of question and more of a test of sanity, of course you do. Have you played Blazing Chrome? Well I'm sure you have, since we've established you aren't a raving madman. My point is that Dragon Bros follows a formula we should all be rather familiar with, and much like the games in the preceding sentence it reaches a level of craftsmanship and excellence that should not be ignored.
Following the Contra formula and changing a few details to stand out in the crowd should be a simple formula for success, but for every Blazing Chrome we get two Guns Gore and Cannoli's, proving you can turn gold into shit. Dragon Bros gameplay sticks to the standard 8-way aiming with a button to lock your fire while standing still which is a good start. You will quickly notice our little dragon friend cannot jump very high at all, just enough to clear the height of most enemies, so fortunately you can also perform a roll by pressing B, which offers a quick escape from danger and a brief window of invulnerability. By collecting coins dropped from enemies or crates you can fill your Hyper gauge and pressing Y will massively power up your current weapon until it runs out. Along with limited weapon powerup drops this will be your lifeline.
Finally, and it's hard to notice except in a few levels, certain traps and enemy patterns get triggered by the beat of the music. It seems kind of half baked, but when you face the swarm boss and after repeated deaths the music finally gets in your head, it really clicks. Just a shame it isn't even a factor 90% of the time.
Here are the basics. Infinite lives. Fair and frequent checkpoints. Variable difficulty select before each stage. Achievements are a breeze, besides finishing each stage at 5 star difficulty.... but its not bad with practice and also it seems like you can skip a couple stages and still unlock it.
Great soundtrack. In fact I still have a track stuck in my head years after finishing the game. Everyone has different taste in music, obviously... but take my advice and lube up your ear holes because Dragon Bros is going to impregnate your eardrums with bouncing baby chiptunes.
Upfront I want to suggest they give the person who animated the explosions a massive raise. Great character\enemy designs, some gorgeous animated backgrounds, Dragon Bros is real nice to look at for a modern 16-bit clone. Lube up your eye holes while you still have the bottle out...
ONE nitpick, is the lame character portraits between stages and in the intro, they do clash with the rest of the aesthetic.
If anyone made it this far, listen.... uhh Dragon Bros isn't perfect. It crams in levels that clone Breakout and Space Invaders, that while fun, seem like padding because maybe the team couldn't make even more stages on their budget. The interactive musical hazards seem like an idea that should have been dropped or expanded upon. But none of that could be considered a deal breaker.
Dragon Bros is a tightly packed joyride that lets you control a dinosaur with a machine gun on a quest to destroy thousands of robots, and at the end of the day that's always been the dream hasn't it?
Give it a shot, what are you waiting for?
Trust me, I told you I'd be doing you a favour. Your thanks are enough of a reward.
(Thanks may be paid in US dollars. Western Union, Money Order and all major credit cards accepted.)
(We do not accept Discover card)
4 out of 5 stars