Panzer Dragoon Saga is a game made for the Sega Saturn by Team Andromeda and published by Sega. It was released in Japan on January 29, 1998, and in the United States on April 30, 1998. Panzer Dragoon Saga is the first and only RPG of the Panzer Dragoon series. The game spans four discs. Notably the entire first disc of the game was released as a demo in the PAL region.
Due to the failure of the Saturn and the fact that PDS was one of the Saturn's last releases, the company did not produce many copies. Only about 30,000 copies were produced in total, making the game very expensive to come by today.
The game is notable among console RPGs of its era in that every line of dialog is fully voice acted, mostly in Japanese. At the start and end of the game, the voice acting is done in a language made up for the series, often referred to as Panzerese.
The protagonist of the story is Edge, a young mercenary employed by the Empire. During the game's opening sequence, Edge is guarding an excavation site where ancient artifacts are being recovered for use by the Empire. After helping to fend off an attack from a wild mutant creature within the ruins, Edge discovers what appears to be a young woman buried in a wall. Before Edge has time to react the site is attacked by Craymen, the leader of a Rebel faction known as the Black Fleet. Craymen orders his troops to seize the girl, and Edge and his companions are shot. Edge falls into an underground reservoir deep within the ruins. Edge floats lifelessly in the reservoir until a mysterious light falls from somewhere into the water, reviving Edge. Confused but alive, Edge attempts to find a way out of the ruins. During his escape, Edge is rescued by a dragon that seems to be able to communicate with him using telepathy. Edge, incensed by the killing of his comrades, decides to take the dragon and exact revenge on Craymen. He is unaware of the magnitude of the events into which his desire for retribution has thrown him.
Gameplay is Panzer Dragoon Saga is split into three distinct sections. When exploring towns and villages, the player takes control of Edge. The game uses a target system (similar to the previous entries in the series) to allow you to examine items and converse with people. When exploring environments outside of the towns, the player takes control of Edge's dragon. While these sections use very different controls to the on-foot sections, they utilise the same targeting mechanic to manipulate obects, open doors, etc. During flight sections, a radar display appears at the bottom of the screen. This display will change colour depending on how many enemies are nearby.
All battles, excluding boss fights, are random encounters. However, Panzer Dragoon Saga's battle mechanics differ greatly from other contemporary Role Playing Games. All battles are fought in the air, which allows you to circle around your enemy. Many enemies have weak points that can only be attacked from certain angles, or special attacks that can only hit you from certain positions, so strategic positioning is important. In order to attack or use items, the player must use the action gauge, a bar at the bottom of the screen that charges when the player is stationary. Each attack or item will use between one and three action bars, depending on how powerful it is. This introduces an interesting dynamic to the battles, since players have to remain stationary in order to charge their attacks, but must move in order to dodge enemy attacks.
Positioning plays a very important role in almost every fight in the game, from the lowliest random encounter to the mighty Atolm Dragon fights. The game provides you with a radar in the center of the battle menu, comprised of four areas. Each area will be colored (or not) to indicate the threat the enemies pose to the player in that location. A segment may be red, which indicates danger as the enemy is a strong threat, and will hit the player with a powerful attack. Alternatively the segment may be clear, in which the enemies pose moderate threat, and may unleash a light attack on the player, and finally green, in which the player is safe. Mixing up the system some what nearly all enemies will move around the player's dragon, making combat a dangerous vie for advantageous positioning.
At the end of a battle the player's performance is ranked, based on how long the fight took and how much damage the player suffered, ranks vary from Excellent (the best rank) to Narrow escape (the worst). The rank attained by the player is stored in the bestiary alongside an entry on that opponent.
The music in Panzer Dragoon Saga was composed by Saori Kobayashi and Mariko Nanba and is one of the most praised aspects of the game. Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu, used in the end credits, featured vocal work from Eri Ito, a known Japanese singer and voice actress who has worked on the Japanese dubs for various Disney animations. The soundtrack was released in a variety of formats, the first was a disc that was included with a Demo Disc of the game released in 1997. The complete soundtrack was released in March 1998 along with the release of the game. A reissue was released in 2001 which include several remixes.
|Track Number||Track Name||Length|
|01||Ecce Valde Generous Ale (Behold the Precious Wings)||1:34|
|03||Noble Rebel Army||2:07|
|04||A Holy Nation of Deceit||1:19|
|07||Seperated for Eternity||1:51|
|08||Premonition of War||5:10|
|10||Chaos Amongst the Silence||2:32|
|14||Breath of Life||1:45|
|15||The Blue Ruins||0:47|
|18||Pure Blood Seed||3:24|
|19||The Black Fleet||2:20|
|20||Rendevous with Destiny||0:30|
|22||Spirit of the Dragon||2:16|
|Track Number||Track Name||Length|
|02||Path to the Being||3:48|
|05||Giant Creature II||2:09|
|07||Source of the Protective Flame||3:02|
|09||Sleeping Iron Ingot||3:29|
|10||Imperial Air Force||3:43|
|14||A Century Gone By||2:35|
|18||Village of the Seekers||2:44|
|19||The Forest's Cry||3:37|
|20||The Red Ruins||1:40|
|21||Into the Promised Land||1:45|
|22||Overture to the End||3:31|
|27||The Final Battle||2:24|
|28||Soni Mi Areru Ec Sancitu (Art Thou the Holy One)||4:11|