From Sega Retro
|System(s): Sega Saturn, Windows PC|
|Publisher: Sega, Samsung (KR)|
|Developer: Sega CS Team Andromeda Sega PC|
|Peripherals supported: Mission Stick|
|Genre: 3D Shooting, Shooting|
|Number of players: 1|
|Official in-game languages: |
Panzer Dragoon (パンツァードラグーン) is a 3D rail shooter developed by Team Andromeda in 1995. It was originally released for the Sega Saturn, becoming one of the flagship titles of the console, and one of the few games available at launch in North America and Europe.
- 1 Story
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 History
- 4 Versions
- 5 Production credits
- 6 Magazine articles
- 7 Promotional material
- 8 Artwork
- 9 Physical scans
- 10 Technical information
- 11 External links
- 12 References
Panzer Dragoon follows the story of Keil Fluge (unnamed in western versions), a member of a hunter party who encounters a fight between two dragons, the Solo Wing (in blue) and the Dark Dragon (in black). The rider of the Solo Wing is mortally wounded in the battle and entrusts his mission, as well as his dragon, to Keil. Keil must stop the Dark Dragon from reactivating an ancient ruin and wreaking havoc on the world.
The game is a rail shooter where the player controls a flying dragon and its rider. The player is given full 360-degree view of the game world and the ability to fire at surrounding enemies. The player moves the aiming reticle around the screen with the D-pad. The dragon follows its movement, allowing the player to dodge obstacles and enemy fire, but because the game is on rails, the overall direction of travel is predetermined. By default, the vertical controls are inverted, but this can be changed in the options before starting a game. Enemies come from all directions and can be tracked by the player using an on-screen radar. The player can pan the field of view by moving the reticle with and or can rotate the view 90 degrees at a time with and . The player can also adjust the distance of the camera from the dragon with for a medium-distance view, for a close view, and for a far view.
Two weapons are available: the rider's handgun, which can be fired by pressing , , or , and the homing laser fired by the dragon, which can lock on up to eight enemies by holding , , or while moving the reticle over them. The lock-on laser is useful for handling multiple targets from a distance, while quicker shots can be more effective against closer targets or bosses.
The dragon's health is indicated by a bar in the corner of the screen. It takes damage from enemies and from obstacles. There are no healing items, but the dragon has its health restored at the beginning of each stage. The game ends if the dragon runs out of health, but it can be continued from the beginning of the current stage as long as the player has credits remaining. At the end of each stage, the player is given an accuracy rating depending on the number of enemies shot down; the player is awarded an extra credit for completing a stage with high accuracy.
The game has three difficulty levels (Easy, Normal, and Hard), but the Easy difficulty can only be played up to the fourth stage. The Normal and Hard difficulties have different endings.
Development on Panzer Dragoon dates back to early 1994, when Yukio Futatsugi, Manabu Kusunoki and various other Sega staff were brought together to form Team Andromeda. Tasked with producing a shooter for Sega's upcoming console, project development would last for the best part of a year, and would involve a team of roughly fifteen people.
Panzer Dragoon was envisioned as an "arcade-style" shooter from an early stage, in part due to the fact that many members of Team Andromeda had migrated from Sega's arcade divisions. Core members of the team were also anxious to move into 3D, having previously been restricted to two dimensions in their earlier arcade projects. The game was influenced by the likes of StarBlade, Star Fox and RayForce, as well as Sega's own Space Harrier.
It was customary for 3D shooters of the time for the player to ride a 3D object such as a jet fighter or a tank. Panzer Dragoon's developers however decided it would be more original for the player to ride an armored dragon - a living creature which could also allow for richer animations. During development the game was casually known as "armored dragon" (kiko-ryu in japanese), although Futatsugi, feeling that this name was too bland, decided to translate it to German (a practise continued with the sequel, Panzer Dragoon Zwei).
With this basic concept in mind, the creators were given three months to define a visual identity and a setting for their game, prior to writing code and creating physical assets. A decision was made to set the adventure in a post-apocalyptic science fantasy world, complete with ruins and relics of a fallen civilisation and mankind struggling for survival, something frequently found in Japanese anime at that time. Futatsugi was particularly influenced by one of his childhood readings, The Long Afternoon of Earth a science-fiction novel by Brian Aldiss, in which one side of the earth became perpetually hot, the other perpetually cold.
The first presentation video of Panzer Dragoon featured a green dragon, in-line with traditional European/medieval depictions of the creature, however the team quickly decided make it "more sci-fi", again in an attempt to make the product more original. The dragon was made blue and covered in a white, bone-like armor - ancient flying technology originating from the ancient times, which is also depicted in the scenery. The the mix of natural and technological elements in the game's world, was chosen in order to set it appart from classic science-fiction 3D games of the time. It was largely designed by Manabu Kusunoki, inspired by Japanese anime and manga. The art direction was later pushed towards a Turkish/Ottoman style to avoid the strict European aesthetics of the early presentation video.
One of Panzer Dragoon's major artistic influences was Arzach, a comic book series created by French artist Jean Giraud, known by his alias Moebius. Moebius would contribute in the creative process of the game with original artwork (just as the Japanese/South Korean cover art). Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and David Lynch's Dune movie were also key inspirations. Kusunoki was adamant to not include giant robots such as those seen in the then-popular Gundam anime, and he avoided unrealistic character designs such as those seen in the Final Fantasy series of RPGs. Kentaro Yoshida, texturing and modelling artist of Panzer Dragoon, described the creation process as similar in style to Star Wars, in that it "made an unearthly world appear so real". Takashi Iwade, who produced the opening cutscene and character models, claimed to be inspired by antique clocks and similar industrialised products from the era, myriapods, marine mollusks and ammonite. The battleship was inspired by a rusty fishing boat.
The Sega Saturn's hardware was new to Team Andromeda, and given that Yukio Futatsugi was still new to the company, Panzer Dragoon was kept relatively simple in design. Though Futatsugi had a clear vision of what he wanted (keeping the style of the game pure). cutscenes are minimal, and enemies were created out of simple shapes, making them both easy to understand visually, and more suited to the Saturn's hardware (and likewise, levels are also relatively simplistic and barren). A surprising amount nevertheless went into an elaborate back story for the game, with Futatsugi, going so far as to create a new language for the game, mixing elements of of Ancient Greek, Latin and Russian. This choice was allegedly inspired by the anime The Wings of Honneamise which did something similar, and of which team members were fans of.
Working on new hardware proved difficult for the young team, forcing the game to miss its initial deadline given by Sega (the Japanese system launch, i.e. November 1994). This was partly due to the fact the Saturn's hardware was not finalised when production began, meaning the team lacked a useful Saturn prototype to test their progress (programmers were in fact forced to work with hypotheticals, "guessing" what the features of the system would be). Team Andromeda also created its own graphics library and mapping tools instead of using Sega's in an attempt to make the most of the new system. The game's graphics and cutscenes were produced with Softimage, and the 3D elements were programmed on SGI workstations using OpenGL.
The programmers were eventually able to transition to the debug Saturn they had received, but the process proved difficult, with the game suffering from very low frame rates (in the end, the team made do with 20FPS in some sections, much lower than the 60s and even 30s common in games today). The first two levels produced (a desert for level 2 and a forest for level 5), lacked features aside from sand and forest effects because they were uncertain how far the hardware could be pushed. Keeping CPU limitations in mind, simple tornado effects were added to level 2, to liven things up.
Work on the soundtrack began after the rest of game was complete (similar to the audio strategy seen in big budget films). The music was designed to specifically reflect each level art-style and events, the "on rail" progression system proving beneficial as the developers would know exactly where the player would be at any given time. The soundtrack was outsourced to Yoshitaka Azuma, who was composing musics for NHK TV programs at that time. It is a mix between orchestral and synthesizer tracks, and was assisted by gameplay videos, allowing for specifically timed pieces which match the player's progression in each level.
Panzer Dragoon was an unexpected success for Sega, particularly in western regions. Though the game had been mentioned briefly by the video game press of the era, the game drew an unusual amount of attention after Sega's shock decision to bring the Sega Saturn's launch date four months forward. Being one of only five launch titles in North America (with a subsequent early release on Europe), Panzer Dragoon was one of the few fully 3D video games available for the console, and the first not to be an arcade port.
Panzer Dragoon was followed by Panzer Dragoon Zwei, which despite its name is actually a prequel to this game, chronologically. Its existence has also been recognised in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
Following its Saturn release, Panzer Dragoon was ported to Windows PCs in early 1996. This initial version, similar to Virtua Fighter PC, was optimised specifically for the NV1 graphics chipset and bundled exclusively with EDGE 3D video cards by Diamond Multimedia. The NV1 release was designed specifically for the NV1 specification and thus will not function with any other graphics cards without help. It is also unknown if this version was ever released outside of North America.
Later in the year, a software rendered version was released, which requires at least a Pentium-class processor to run. The game's contents are thought to be the same, however.
While the PC version is able to output a higher resolution image, the lighting differs from the base game, frame rates can be inconsistent (particularly between level transitions) and some full motion video clips have been removed.
The Saturn version of Panzer Dragoon makes (limited) use of "fogging" to attempt to hide 3D geometry pop-in caused by short draw distances. In the PC port, draw distances are the same, but the fogging effect is removed. True semi-transparency is used for some effects in the PC version, as opposed to the checkerboard mesh patterns used to simulate alpha transparency on the Saturn.
|Language||Localised Name||English Translation|
|English||Panzer Dragoon||Panzer Dragoon|
|Korean||팬저 드라군||Panzer Dragoon|
- 二木 幸生 :
- 楠木 学 :
- 竹下 英敏 :
- 須藤 順一 :
- 中 健吾 :
- 寺沢 彰, 山田 勝彦 :
- 中西 仁, 中 健吾, 山崎 浩, 山崎 朝矢 :
- 美術監督 / ドラゴンモデル製作: 楠木 学
- キャラクターモデル製作/効果: 吉田 謙太郎, 岸本 正也, 岩出 敬
- 北村 操佳 :
- 岩出 敬 :
- セガロゴマン・デザイン: 吉田 謙太郎, 楠木 学, 北村 操佳, 岩出 敬
- 沓沢 龍一郎 :
- 林 知行 :
- 澤田 朋伯 :
- : 株式会社ピースフラッグ, ポリグラム株式会社
- : Moebius
- Special thanks to: 大場 規勝, 菅野 豊, 成田 尊, 町田 直幸, 牧野 幸文, CSハード：サターンプロジェクトチーム
- 香嶋 良昭, 前田 龍之, 岩下 剛二, 前川 司郎, やまだ かつひこ :
- 菊池 博人, 竹崎 忠, 南雲 靖士, 奥成 洋輔 :
- 二木 幸生 :
- 近藤 智宏 :
- (株)セガ・エンタープライゼス :
- Main Programmer: Junichi Suto
- Original Character Designer: Manabu Kusunoki
- System Programmer: Hidetoshi "Wiz" Takeshita
- Tool Producer: Kengo Naka
- Map Structures/Enemy Setting: Akira Terasawa, Katsuhiko Yamada
- Programmers: Hitoshi Nakanishi, Kengo Naka, Hiroshi Yamazaki, Asaya Yamazaki
- Dragon Model Designer: Manabu Kusunoki
- Character Model Production/Effects: Kentaro Yoshida, Masaya Kishimoto, Takashi Iwade
- Background Model Production: Misaka Kitamura
- Background Graphics: Yumiko Kayashima
- Main Title Designer: Takashi Iwade
- Sega Logo Man Designer: Kentaro Yoshida
- Opening CG Production: Manabu Kusunoki, Misaka Kitamura, Takashi Iwade
- Ending Illustrations: Ryuichiro Kutsuzawa
- Music Composer: Yoshitaka Azuma
- Orchestration: Tomoyuki Hayashi
- Sound Effects/Sound Director: Tomonori Sawada
- In Collaboration With: K.K Peace Flag, Polygram K.K.
- Image Illustrations: Moebius
- Producer: Dante Anderson
- Project Manager: Sarah Richmond
- English Text: Kerry Kirkham
- Lead Tester: Cristine M. Watson
- Special Thanks: Noriyoshi Oba, Yutaka Sugano, Yukifumi Makino, Takashi Narita, Naoyuki Machida, Kazuya Fujishima, James Spahn, CS Hardware, Saturn Project Team
- Voices: Yoshiaki Kashima, Tatsuyuki Maeda, Koji Iwashita, Shiro Maekawa, Katsuhiko Yamada
- Publicity: Hitoto Kikuchi, Tadashi Takezaki, Yasushi Nagumo, Yosuke Okunari
- Director: Yukio Futatsugi
- Producers: Yoji Ishii, Tomohiro Kondo
- Produced and Copyrighted by: Sega Enterprises. Ltd.
- Executive Producer: Shoichiro Irimajiri
- Producer: Toshinori Asai, Takehiko Kobayashi
- Director: Shinji Fujiwara, Tadashi Kuroi (Windows 95 Native Staff)
- Sound Director/Sound Effects: Tomonori Sawada
- Main Programmer: Tatsuya Satoh
- Project Leader And Programmer: Koue Tsukuda
- Programmers: Kazuhisa Hasuoka, Akihiko Kakinuma, Tetsuji Mukai, Takahiro Nagata, Noritaka Yakita, Kenichi Yoko
- Installer Programmer: Kei Takashima (Windows 95 Native Staff)
- Designer: Nobuhisa Tajiri
- Planners: Tadashi Kuroi, Hiroto Saiki
- Music Composer: Yoshitaka Azuma
- Testers: Tomohisa Nakayasu (Windows 95 Native Staff), Toshiyuki Fujimoto, Takahiro Hirakawa, Tomohisa Nakayasu, Kenji Shintani
- Coordinators: Satomi Kawasaki, Yasuhide Nagasawa, Chie Tokoro
- Publicity: Hiroyuki Otaka
- Manual: Ko Ariizumi, John McClain, Osamu Nakazato
- Special Thanks: Kazuya Fujishima, Namie Kawashima, Naoyuki Machida, Yukifumi Makino, Takeshi Narita, Noriyoshi Oba, Yutaka Sugano, Tomonori Saguchi, James Spahn, Koue Tsukuda
- Created & Copyright By: Sega Enterprises. Ltd.
- Published By: Expert Software Inc.
- Main article: Panzer Dragoon/Magazine articles.
|Sega Retro Average|
|PC, JP (with PC Blackhawk)|
|PC, UK (Expert Software)|
|PC, UK (Xplosiv)|
|PC, UK (Xplosiv; alt)|
|PC, UK (Fair Game)|
|PC, FR (Xplosiv)|
|PC, ES (Xplosiv)|
|PC, PL (Xplosiv)|
ROM dump status
|652,298,976||CD-ROM (EU)||MK81009-50 V1.000|
|648,406,416||1995-02-10||CD-ROM (JP)||GS-9015 V1.001|
|646,828,224||CD-ROM (US)||81009 V1.001|
This game has extra content which can be viewed when accessing the disc on a PC.
|Folder / File||Type||Size||description|
|README.DOC||TXT||7,912||Messages from the developers.|
- File:Panzerdragoon sat jp backcover.jpg
- https://sega.jp/history/hard/segasaturn/software.html (Wayback Machine: 2020-03-30 22:53)
- Press release: 1995-05-19: Sega Saturn launch takes consumers and retailers by storm
- GamePro, "August 1995" (US; 1995-xx-xx), page 48
- Sega Saturn Magazine, "November 1995" (UK; 1995-10-26), page 97
- Games World: The Magazine, "September 1995" (UK; 1995-xx-xx), page 69
- CD Player, "1/96" (DE; 1996-xx-xx), page 27
- http://sega.jp/search/result.php?page=10&pf=11 (Wayback Machine: 2017-03-04 04:29)
- http://sega.jp/pc/pandra/ (Wayback Machine: 2001-11-02 16:37)
- Press release: 1997-06-20: Sega chooses Expert Software for PC distribution agreement
- Computer & Video Games, "December 1996" (UK; 1996-11-xx), page 49
- PC Action, "1/97" (DE; 1996-12-18), page 81
- Press release: 1996-01-21: Sega PC'S Panzer Dragoon to be Bundled with Diamond EDGE 3D Multimedia Accelerators for Personal Computers
- File:Panzer Dragoon US Saturn credits.pdf
- Gambler, "6/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 41
- Gambler, "7/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 41
- Gambler, "8/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 33
- Gambler, "9/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 41
- CD Consoles, "Avril 1995" (FR; 1995-xx-xx), page 84
- Consoles +, "Avril 1995" (FR; 1995-0x-xx), page 142
- Computer & Video Games, "August 1995" (UK; 1995-07-12), page 32
- Digitiser (UK) (1995-08-22)
- Edge, "May 1995" (UK; 1995-03-20), page 72
- Electronic Entertainment, "August 1995" (US; 1995-0x-xx), page 76
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "July 1995" (US; 1995-0x-xx), page 34
- Famitsu, "1995-03-17" (JP; 1995-03-03), page 1
- Freak, "10/95" (IL; 1995-xx-xx), page 1
- GameFan, "Volume 3, Issue 7: July 1995" (US; 1995-xx-xx), page 13
- Game Players, "Vol. 8 No. 8 August 1995" (US; 1995-0x-xx), page 38
- GamePro, "November 1995" (DE; 1995-10-04), page 40
- GamesMaster, "May 1995" (UK; 1995-04-16), page 58
- Games World: The Magazine, "June 1995" (UK; 1995-xx-xx), page 64
- Hobby Consolas, "Agosto 1995" (ES; 1995-xx-xx), page 70
- MAN!AC, "05/95" (DE; 1995-04-12), page 30
- Maximum, "October 1995" (UK; 1995-09-01), page 144
- Mega, "June 1995" (UK; 1995-05-31), page 4
- Mega Force, "Octobre 1995" (FR; 1995-xx-xx), page 122
- Mega Fun, "08/95" (DE; 1995-07-19), page 78
- Mean Machines Sega, "May 1995" (UK; 1995-03-28), page 54
- Mean Machines Sega, "October 1995" (UK; 1995-08-25), page 91
- Next Generation, "June 1995" (US; 1995-05-23), page 102
- Player One, "Juillet/Août 1995" (FR; 1995-0x-xx), page 62
- Saturn+, "Christmas 1995" (UK; 1995-12-14), page 57
- Secret Service, "Maj 1996" (PL; 1996-04-01), page 67
- Sega Magazin, "September 1995" (DE; 1995-08-16), page 62
- Sega Magazine, "September 1995" (UK; 1995-08-13), page 58
- Sega Power, "June 1995" (UK; 1995-04-20), page 38
- Sega Pro, "May 1995" (UK; 1995-04-13), page 72
- Sega Pro, "September 1995" (UK; 1995-08-10), page 52
- Sega Saturn Magazine, "April 1995" (JP; 1995-03-08), page 104
- Sega Saturn Magazine, "Readers rating final data" (JP; 2000-03), page 11
- Strana Igr, "xxxx xxxx" (RU; 1996-xx-xx), page 95
- Total Saturn, "Volume One Issue Four" (UK; 1996-12-29), page 42
- Ultimate Future Games, "May 1995" (UK; 1995-04-01), page 70
- Video Games, "8/95" (DE; 1995-07-26), page 68
- VideoGames, "June 1995" (US; 1995-0x-xx), page 73
- 576 KByte, "Február 1997" (HU; 1997-xx-xx), page 13
- Arcade, "October 1999" (UK; 1999-08-23), page 89
- Digitiser (UK) (1997-01-09)
- Hacker, "06/1997" (HR; 1997-xx-xx), page 38
- PC Gamer, "March 1996" (UK; 1996-02-22), page 92
- PC Gamer, "Vol. 3, No. 5: May 1996" (US; 1996-04-16), page 114
- PC Games, "2/97" (DE; 1997-01-08), page 62
- PC Game Parade, "Febbraio 1997" (IT; 1997-0x-xx), page 91
- PC Review, "April 1996" (UK; 1996-03-15), page 72
- PC Team, "Février 1997" (FR; 1997-xx-xx), page 54
- reset, "Maj 1997" (PL; 1997-05-01), page 1
- Score, "Únor 1997" (CZ; 1997-02-01), page 1
Prereleases: Panzer Dragoon Taikenban Hibaihin | Panzer Dragoon Playable Preview (1995)
|Games in the Panzer Dragoon Series|
|Panzer Dragoon (1995) | Panzer Dragoon Zwei (1996) | Panzer Dragoon I & II (1996) | Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998)|
|Panzer Dragoon (1996) | Panzer Dragoon: Remake (2020)|
|Panzer Dragoon Mini (1996)|
|Panzer Dragoon (1997)|
|Panzer Dragoon Orta (2002)|
|Panzer Dragoon: Remake (2020) | Panzer Dragoon II Zwei: Remake (20xx)|
|Panzer Dragoon: Remake (2020)|
|Panzer Dragoon Playable Preview (1995) | Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG Taikenban (1997) | Panzer Dragoon Saga Demo Disc (1998)|
|Panzer Dragoon Orta Demo Disc (2002)|
|Panzer Dragoon related media|
|Panzer Dragoon Original Sound Track (1995) | Panzer Dragoon Original Full Sound Version (1995) | Panzer Dragoon Power Remix (1995) | Panzer Dragoon Zwei Original Arrange Album "Alternative Elements" (1996) | Panzer Dragoon Zwei Original Soundtrack (1996) | Panzer Dragoon O.V.A. Original Sound Track (1996) | Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG (1997) | Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG Complete Album (1998) | "Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu" (1999) | Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG Memorial Album (2001) | Panzer Dragoon Orta: Die Panzer Dragoons Chronik (2002) | Panzer Dragoon Orta Original Soundtrack (2002) | Panzer Dragoon Orta Official Soundtrack (2003) | Panzer Dragoon Original Sound Track (Remastered) (2006) | Panzer Dragoon (2016) | Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement (2018) | Panzer Dragoon: Remake The Definitive Soundtrack (2021)|
|Panzer Dragoon Koushiki Guide Book (1995) | Panzer Dragoon Zwei no Sekai: Panzer Dragoon Zwei Koushiki Guide Book (1996) | Panzer Dragoon OVA Fan Book (1996) | Azel Panzer Dragoon RPG Guide Book (1998) | Azel Panzer Dragoon RPG Official Guide (1998) | Azel Panzer Dragoon RPG (1998) | Panzer Dragoon Orta Kanzen Guide (2003) | Prima's Official Strategy Guide: Panzer Dragoon Orta (2003) | Panzer Dragoon Orta: Kaze to Akatsuki no Musume (2004)|
|Panzer Dragoon (1996)|