Challenge of the Dragon (NES)

Challenge of the Dragon Box Art

Challenge of the Dragon

System: NES

Release Date: 1990

Developer: Color Dreams

Publisher: Color Dreams

Genre: Beat ‘em Up

Challenge of the Dragon is the first Color Dreams game we’re going to see this year. They’ll be back as Bunch Games and Wisdom Tree, as well. This one doesn’t have anything to do with the buxom warrior lady riding the fire breathing dragon on the cover. You do get to fight that skeleton, though. The story goes that while you’re out on a hot date with your lady Ninita, the evil necromancer Deniwind decides to show up and kidnap her, leaving you to cry like a little baby. Unfortunately for Deniwind, you are Sir Burkelot, master of Kung Fu and Swordsmanship. Use your Dragon Style on your way through ten levels of butt kicking action to save your girl.

Levels scroll to the right and the screen stops when you encounter enemies. You have to beat them up with pushes of the B Button. Depending on your distance from the enemy, you may swing your sword, throw a knee butt, or thrust a super kick. Jumping with the A Button allows you to use your flying dragon kick, which the manual says is your strongest attack. If you hold down the B Button, you go into a super run, which allows for a shoulder butt.

Enemies come at you in increasing difficulty through the level. Where you might fight one enemy in the first screen, you will fight two or three further on in the level. Your life is replenished with white jars you find. The life meter caps out at five, but I think it holds all extra jars you collect. Black jars allow you to throw some screen affecting magic with the Select Button.

Raiden shows up and tries to fry you with lightning. Mages turn into dust to avoid you. Doppelgangers confuse you by looking similar, but with daggers instead of swords. Giants smash the ground and cause boulders to drop down from who knows where. Ninjas throw shurikens at you and it took me awhile to realize I could reflect their bombs back at them.

The final boss takes up the final level. You have to avoid little demon guys on the bottom level and bouncing obstacles on the top level. Then there are some floating platforms that are difficult with the floaty running and jumping physics. Then you meet Deniwind. He attacks and then turns into a whirlwind. The screen now starts scrolling to the left and you have to avoid the obstacles again. I threw magic at him, but don’t know if that hurt him. It took a couple flying dragon kicks to finally take him out and save the girl.

Graphics: 3.0

The sprites aren’t very good, but the backgrounds, effect, and animations are pretty good.

Sound: 1.0

The music isn’t impressive and the sound effects are poor.

Gameplay: 2.5

The fighting works, but it’s shallow, there isn’t any blocking capability.

Difficulty: 2.0

I think there are unlimited continues. The final level is pretty garbage and I time traveled my way through it.

Fun Factor: 2.5

It really wasn’t a terrible time, probably one of the more fun Color Dreams games.

Overall Grade: 2.2

Challenge of the Dragon earns a C+. Surprisingly fared better than I thought it would going in. This isn’t a top tier game by any means, but it’s certainly playable.