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Game info

Dragon Spirit

Dragon Spirit
GenreAction Shooter
Reviewed byndial
Dragon Spirit is a vertical scrolling shoot 'em up game released by Namco in 1987 and licensed to Atari Games. It was later converted to the Amstrad CPC, Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, PC (DOS), Atari ST, Sharp X68000, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 and ZX Spectrum platforms.
In the kingdom of Mitgult, a serpent demon named Zawell escapes after a thousand years imprisonment and kidnaps Princess Alicia. A soldier named Amul is chosen to rescue her and kill Zawell. So the hero points his sword skywards and transforms into a powerful blue dragon that can breathe fire and drop bombs, as well as collect up to thirteen additional power-ups during his challenging journey. Amul must fight nine of Zawell's mightiest beasts, one at the end of each stage, before confronting Zawell himself. If you miss three points from your life-bar, you lose a life. Your basic weaponry consists of limitless bombs and the ability to spit fire-gobbets, but the projectiles can be enhanced by bombing eggs on the ground (!). The Blue eggs give you an extra head, and the Red ones give you an extra power unit (getting for instance a powerful flame-thrower). Your dragon can blast flames at flying opponents or drop bombs on enemies on the ground. A couple of unusual bonuses include earthquakes that reduce any ground-based enemies to rubble and a small dragon pill which transforms you into a mini-dragon ideally suited for dodging through a burst of closely spaced bullets. The difficulty level is rather high, especially as you progress in the game, but Dragon Spirit is a good shoot 'em up and can certainly keep its fans blasting happy with the only drawback being the lack of further depth.

The graphics on the X68000 conversion look and move nicely, though they are not arcade perfect! The sprites and the backgrounds are colorful and the animation is great. Overall, the Sharp's Dragon Spirit is pretty close to the coin-op version (as most conversions are actually). This conversion is definitely better than the Amiga and the Atari ST, offering faster action and more details taken directly from the original. The Sharp's sound is almost identical to the coin-op's sampled sound effects of blasting and shooting enemies, while there are also some nicely composed in-game tunes.
  • Dragon Spirit
  • Dragon Spirit
  • Dragon Spirit
  • Dragon Spirit
  • Dragon Spirit
  • Dragon Spirit
Gameplay sample
Hardware information

Sharp X68000

Sharp X68000CPU: X68000 (1987) to SUPER (1991) models - Hitachi HD68HC000 (16/32-bit) @ 10 MHz OR XVI (1991) to Compact (1992) models - Motorola 68000 (16/32-bit) @ 16 MHz OR X68030 (1993) models - Motorola MC68EC030 (32-bit) @ 25 MHz
Also there is a Sub-CPU available (Oki MSM80C51 MCU)
MEMORY: 1-4MB RAM (expandable up to 12 MB), 1MB ROM (128 KB BIOS, 768 KB Character Generator), 1056KB VRAM (512KB graphics, 512KB text, 32KB sprites)
GRAPHICS: GPU (graphics processing unit) chipset: Sharp-Hudson Custom Chipset
Color palette of 65,536 (16-bit RGB high color depth) and maximum up to 65,536 colors on screen (from 256x240 to 512x512 resolution), up to 64 colors (from 640x480 to 1024x1024 resolution)
Graphics hardware: Hardware scrolling, priority control, super-impose, dual tilemap background layers, sprite flipping.
Graphical planes: 1-4 bitmap planes, 1-2 tilemap planes, 1 sprite plan
It supports 128 sprites on screen (16×16 sprite size), 32 sprites per scanline, 256 sprite patterns in VRAM.
SOUND: Yamaha YM2151: Eight FM synthesis channels
Yamaha YM3012: Floating point DAC with 2-channel stereo output
Oki MSM6258: One 4-bit ADPCM mono channel @ 22 kHz sampling rate
The Sharp X68000 (default) color palette
16bit RGB 65,536-colors palette (16 to 65,536 on screen)
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