Panzer Dragoon Orta is one of those fantastic games where you have no idea what’s going on but still manage to get through the first level unscathed. The central theme of the Sega Saturn-originated series still sees you riding a dragon and taking out everything in sight, a mixture of the PC’s Magic Carpet and the arcade’s Space Harrier, with a seriously Japansese amime twist.
According to the storyline - you are a new and shinning hope. Upon a fearsome dragon (not tank for those who like me saw the Panzer part of the title) you must fight to save the world from total destruction. Makes sense then. Well the game is so Japanese that until you’ve actually sat down and played the comprehensive tutorial you’ll struggle with what is going on.
With that in mind the X-Box copes admirably with the amount of action that happens at anyone time on the screen. However while the screen is jammed packed with action and eye candy, the gameplay is very linear.
Each level, all 13 of them, is based around you flying passed the bad guys, killing them as go until you eventually reach the end of level baddie. Once you meet the boss you then have to kill him and move on to another level with the same array of bad guys, until finally you get to the credits.
To keep you amused you have three different attack modes. Depending on the task at hand, you can choose from attack, glide or multi-purpose. Attack offers bigger weapons, but at the cost of a slower speed. Glide gives you a health generating weapon, a berserker attack mode and faster speed, but all at the cost of armour. The all-purpose mode does what it suggests and while begin never great on attack skills or speed does offer the novice a good chance at actually getting somewhere in the game.
For the hardcore Japanese arcade fans then this is manic enough to give them what they want, yet for the rest of us this game while being great of action and graphics is just too linear to keep you entertained for any longer than an hour at the most. If you get bored easily then this isn't for you.