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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

Dragon’s Breed by em | Motion, $14.95
Reviewed January 2003

Many games let you kill dragons; Dragon’s Breed will let you breed dragons. Developed by em|Motion and published by Simusoft3D, Dragon’s Breed is a graphical fantasy adventure game that sets in the ancient land of Zun where dragons are the conquerors and hold the magic to the future. With beautiful graphics, polished game design and stylish sounds, Dragon’s Breed provides its gamers with a unique experience. The only requirement though is that you must study the game manual and the spells.

The story is that in ancient times, a mighty wizard broke the talisman into three pieces and concealed each piece in a remote location in Zun's countryside. The talisman's legend says that only dragons would be able to find and keep its pieces and that its owner would be granted entrance to the promised land. Your goal in this game is to find and hold all three shards with your dragons.

Dragon’s Breed is a turn-based game. There are 3 players available and you can choose 1 or 2 or no computer players. You each take your turn to attack villages or search for shards. You will start with 1 dragon and a number of dragon eggs. You must breed at least 3 dragons to complete the game since there are three pieces of the talisman. The longer you breed the eggs, the stronger your dragons will be. You can also cast spells to help breeding the dragons, and it will cost you Ruug (money in Zun) each time you breed an egg. Other than breeding the dragons, you will also need to fight battles, cast spells and trade goods. The battle system is turn-based, while casting spells and trading can happen anytime you wish as long as you have the items to make a spell and a trader outside of your castle. Generating money is very important since it’s expensive to breed and keep dragons. You can make money by collecting taxes from the villages you’ve conquered and trading goods with a trader. When two villages are fighting, you can also get rewards from one village by fighting the other village.

The most difficult thing to do in this game is the spells. You can cast a spell on just about anything: dragons, villages, eggs or yourself, but making these spells is another story all together. There are three types of ingredients that you can mix to make spells, each having different effective levels on various targets. It could take 4 potions to make an effective spell, and you must know which one is the director, which one is the affecter, and what side effects they have as well as what to use to counter the side effects. The charts of these ingredients look like chemistry charts and you’ll have to spend a long while studying them. My spell notes were two pages long!

The still graphics in this game are beautifully done and are highly styled with a good amount of detail. Every player has a main screen where they can access the battles, inventory, dragon eggs, dragons and traders outside of the castle. You will see a set of still images when you send your dragons to explore and animations when they attack the villages. While the game developer paid a lot of attention to the graphic details on every screen, the interactions are just simply not enough. For example, if you cast a spell on yourself, the only message you will get is the spell was cast successfully. But you have no way to easily find out what effects the spell has generated on the target.

The background track is very nicely composed stringed orchestral music and the sound effects are plentiful. Both music and FX help to create the game environment along with the images. Dragon’s Breed runs smoothly on both ARM and Xscale devices.

While the nice story line, beautiful graphics and well composed music and sound FX will attract a good number of gamers, the complexity of the spell system and lack of instructions and interaction make the game unnecessarily hard. If you wan to explore this ancient world of dragon’s breed, study your spells!

Playing Hint and Tips

Check out which villages are fighting before sending out your dragons. If you are going to attack a village, you might as well get rewards for it.

Enhance your dragon’s eyesight as much as you can. This will help the dragon to find things you will need and the shards to win the game.

I know it’s not easy, believe me! But learn your spells!!!

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Beautiful graphics, very nice details.
Sound If you like the stringed orchestra music featured in old Hungarian movies, you will love the background tracks. The sound FX are excellent.
Fun Meter It’s not everybody’s cup of tea to study for his or her games. The spell system is too complex to attract the casual gamers. Lack of clear instructions makes the game hard to master.
Addictivity If you can get past the obstacles, this game is actually quite addictive.

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