Monday, 2 September 2013

Dragon Egg! (TurboGrafx-16)

Here's another requested game for you: Dragon Egg! on the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine console, released in 1991. Actually it's only really for the PC Engine as it was never localised for the West.

I imagine that the TurboGrafx would have been on the way out in America at that point seeing as the SNES had just launched the month before and the poor console had already been getting enough of a thrashing from the Genesis and NES. It got beaten so badly in fact that its successor, the PC-FX, wasn't even released outside of Japan, which might have actually been a good thing considering that...

Sorry, right, I'm supposed to be playing this Dragon game. I'll go do that then.

"Once upon a time..."

Sorry that's all I've got, I have no idea what the rest of the text under these images says. Though I'm sure I saw the word 'dragon' mentioned a few times if that helps!

Also I'm definitely getting the impression that these two don't get on.  

Ah, it seems that the warrior and the dragon eventually got over their issues and teamed up to wage war on the sinister skull demons. Man, this would all seem a lot more metal if the music wasn't so light and cheerful. It's totally ruining the mood.

Ah now the soundtrack's switched to something more appropriate as Whirlwind Cloak-man makes his shocking appearance! Be careful friends not to stare directly into his cloak's hypnotic eyes or it may sap away your willpower and leave you as an empty shell.

That's probably what happened to that decomposed dragon down there. He got so caught up watching this animation loop that he forgot to eat, drink or breathe. The sinister cloak-wearer must have kept the effect going a few years longer just to make sure that the dragon wasn't just faking it.

But it appears that the dragon left behind an egg! Actually, the more I look at it the more I think he's really about to go bowling. You can see him lining up the shot in his mind.

Either that or it's a bike helmet and he's about to attempt some crazy BMX shit. In the middle of the night.

"A dragon egg, for ME?" No translation necessary for that one.

Hang on, haven't I seen this girl in some other game before?

Syd of Valis (Mega Drive/Genesis)
Hmm close, but not quite. I guess giant Navy blue hair must have been in fashion for anime women in the early 90s.

Equipped with her shiny goggles and with the dragon egg in her backpack, our hero boldly strides out into the wilderness for some reason, and so the game begins. 

Wait, what are you doing? When I hit the action button I thought you were going to pull out a sword or something, not clobber the skeleton over the head with your precious dragon egg! You lunatic!

Man, she's even worse than Yoshi for mistreating unhatched eggs. Actually that was a stupid thing to say, I take that back.

C'mon, just pick up one of of their swords or something! This is just... well put it this way, it's a damn good job she wasn't entrusted with a puppy.

Still, the egg does seem to be getting the job done. Blue skeletons go down in one hit, brown ones take two, and they leave behind a shiny golden coin for me to swipe when they go down. Of course this is video game money so I gotta grab it fast as it only lasts a few seconds in direct sunlight before flickering out of existence.

Hey, if I'm collecting money, do you think that unmarked shed could be a shop?

Hey he's saying "Welcome"! I've finally been able to understand something in this game! I don't understand what he is, but at least I know what he's saying.

Fortunately his wares are labelled in English, so that makes things easier for me. He's selling barrier, boxing glove up, dragon breath up, life, cure and death. Well I took a little damage earlier so I'll grab the cure and maybe some boxing glove up too.

Well I've still got 1.5 hearts of health left, the same as I had before I went shopping, so the cure was absolutely no help at all. What a waste of 3 gold.

Some good news though: one of the skeletons dropped a fire orb instead of a coin and collecting it filled in the box on the top left of the screen. No idea what it's for, but I like collecting things.

Dragon Egg! status screen inventory
Aha, I stumbled upon a status screen and the mystery of the cure potion is solved! Well, I guess I should use it then. Funny how this is all in English, though I'm not complaining.

Those icons above my inventory have some interesting implications. Especially considering I was expecting this particular egg to grow up to be an omelette the way our hero keeps smacking monsters with it.

I grabbed another fire orb and the egg hatched! Well, sort of. It's just the head right now. It seems I have to bribe him with three more orbs until he'll come out of his shell entirely.

But this has already made a massive difference to the range of my attacks, as I had to be practically leaning against the enemies earlier before I could hit them.

Crap, there goes one of my lives. It's my own dumb fault really as I let go of the pad for a second at the end of the last stage to write down some notes, unaware that I was going to get a fire arrow fired at my head at the start of the next one. By the time I'd picked up the controller again she'd already lost most her health and couldn't quite make it over the skeletons to get to safety.

The really annoying part of this is that I've lost my dragon, it's back to being a shell again, so I'm back to having to get right in my target's face before I can hit them.

Oh that's just cruel: a surprise falling block on the bridge to the shop. Now I have to climb all the way back up the tree again!

This sucks because now I have to put up with this music even longer! I mean it isn't terrible really, but it seems to loop way too soon and it's seriously wearing out its welcome.

This time around decided to invest in a 'life' item from the shop, because I was on the last of mine. Turns out though that the item actually adds an extra (unfilled) heart to my hitpoints on the top right.

This actually worked out for me though, as I immediately went and accidentally got the poor girl killed again and ended up using a continue. This filled up my three hearts, gave me back all my lives. and even put me back on the same level. But the best part of these continues is that I seem to have infinite of them, so I am safe from ultimate failure (as long as I have the patience to complete the game in one sitting.)

Aww crap, the exit took me to right into a boss fight. The guy's armoured all of his vital areas though making him immune to my dragon fire so I'm not sure what I'm even supposed to do here, besides dodging his boomerang when he throws it over.

Oh duh, I just have to hit him a few times from behind! Well that actually wasn't so bad.

Dragon egg! world map Königst
And so our hero burns everything in her wake and journeys onwards to world two. Man, if that's the whole game map then I'm going to have to quit soon before I accidentally finish it.


Oh crap, there's no way I'm going to be able to fight these fly monsters balanced on a ledge armed with just an egg, it's not really an effective weapon for dealing with aerial attackers (or anything else for that matter). Back down to the bottom again then.

By the way, it turns out that the mysterious pink waterfalls are not actually made of raspberry milkshake, in case that was something you were wondering. The substance pouring out of the cliff is more like a kind of flesh dissolving acid that takes off half a hit point heart if I accidentally brush against it. But it doesn't harm the enemies though, that'd be ridiculous.

Man I wish I had my dragon back. Our blue haired egg-wielding hero gets around with finesse, but I'm still cautious about moving close to enemies in case I move a little too close and end up colliding with them (which of course hurts me and not them). Two more hits here and I'll have to replay the whole cliff from the start.


So this must be where all the pink liquid is coming from. Apparently the architects of this facility decided that the most efficient way to provide maintenance access to the pipes would be to stick floating platforms everywhere that constantly slide from left to right. It probably works out cheaper than installing stairs and walkways, and who needs all that anyway when it seems that the staff can fly.

I got my next dragon upgrade and now I'm riding the thing! It can't quite fly yet, but it can spit out fireballs, which basically changes everything. Instead of creeping up on enemies, I'm blasting them from the other side of the screen.

Hey, let's voluntarily stroll right in between the mecha-dragon's titanium jaws, that can't possibly lead anywhere bad.

It led to a shop! Unfortunately all the life heart upgrades in there are sold out now. I guess four must be my limit, annoyingly.

Alright then, it seems that I'm climbing up over the outside of the dragon using these rungs.

Oh crap, how did end up sealed inside its stomach? I was jumping around on the side of it!

I really hope shooting this face here is enough to open the doors and let me out because there's turrets on both the top corners and I'm feeling kind of pinned in. I'm just lucky I have the dragon with me, as trying to do this with just the egg would probably be a real pain in the ass.

I exited through the rear exhaust port and ended up right back in the same boss room I was in before, only this time I'm fighting these bouncing creatures that can split off and multiply.

I'm using a technique here I picked up from taking on the turrets inside the robodragon: sitting in a corner and blindly firing across the screen, and it seems to be working! The enemies can't even get near me, never mind fight back, this is just a slaughter. It's awesome.

Though it's starting to become disturbingly clear that I'll be totally screwed if I ever lose this dragon, and with only half a health heart left it'd only take a single hit.


Flickering electricity barriers, just what I like to find blocking my path when I'm creeping around with a single hit point.

But the flickering is following a pattern, so all I have to do is get my timing right and I'll be able to slip through the electricity entirely unharmed. I've just killed a boss, this should be nothing to me.

Crap! Well there goes my dragon then.

The good news is that it looks like I've got a whole lot more of these to get past before I'm out, so I'll have plenty of opportunity to practice my timing. Yay.


I've never been too fond of teleporter door mazes and I'm not a huge fan of trying to jump on platforms when there's turrets on every wall firing off bullets in eight directions either. At least they have to turn before firing at a new angle and it doesn't seem like they're deliberately aiming at me. It's just something that happens.


That was pretty fast, it felt like only two stages before I was back in the boss room again.

This guy's a lot tougher than the last fight though, as he can float right at me and pin me in to a corner and I can't even figure out how I'm meant to hurt him.


Alright, I think I've got this guy figured out now. It's the orange energy whip that I'm meant to be hitting, not the spiky hurtball. He always floats directly towards me, so I need to get him to move as far up as I can, then I hit the whip with my egg, drop through the platform, and run across the screen to do it all over again on the other side.

The whip takes two hits before dissipating and being replaced by another one on the next side, so considering the thing has four sides I just have to repeat this eight times.

I'm really starting to miss my dragon about now.


Oh for fuck's sake. I've had enough practice now to get rid of the energy tentacles without taking a hit, but I cannot hurt this guy's core without losing health. In fact I usually lose two hit points every time I attempt it as my invulnerability time after taking damage is so short that I'm still in contact with his sprite when it wears off.

I'm sure it's technically possible, if you're not inept like me, but it's obvious that I'm supposed to be shooting at it with a dragon, and there's no way I can get that back without replaying the whole game. So... bollocks to it, I'm turning the thing off now.

In the end I didn't hate Dragon Egg!, though it seemed to hate me at times. Mechanically it feels very solid, giving you precise control over the character and she has a decent jumping arc, but her attack range is pitiful at first and you've got to go around and attack everyone you see with this pitiful egg attack to get cash and dragon upgrades. It's a little bit like a Gradius-style shooter in that if you get killed and lose your weapon upgrades then you're stuck playing on ultra hard mode until you've collected enough orbs to get them back.

Also it's seems like a really short game. I was playing it cautiously, screwing up jumps, using up continues, and I spent most of the game stuck hitting enemies with just the egg, and I still managed to get to the halfway point in half an hour. Someone who knew what they were doing and who wasn't pausing to write down hilarious and insightful observations every 30 seconds could probably finish the entire game in 20 minutes. And yet the music would STILL get old.

Well I don't want to continue with it so I can't give a star, but I feel a bit guilty about giving it nothing as it's a pretty well made game. I know, I'll award it... an egg.
Does nothing, signifies nothing, cannot be resolved into a percentage score on metacritic... but it tastes great with some bacon or toast and if the game's very lucky it might even hatch into a dragon someday.

Comments are welcome! Share your thoughts, reveal your opinions, inflict your feedback etc.


  1. You should have given it a "Gets an Egg!" label.

    Great review as always! :D

    1. Yes, "Gets an Egg!" would be cool.

      Nice review. If you play through the game again, you'll probably beat it.

      Thanks for another TurboGrafx review.

    2. Thanks man!

      I would give it a label but I don't want the other games to get jealous.

  2. Playing it, I found the game had the same issue as R-Type for me. Once I lose my ability to really inflict damage, I get discouraged and I don't feel like pushing forwards to get it back. Quite frustrating.


Semi-Random Game Box