Once upon a time there was a sci-fi pinball game for the TurboGrafx-16 called Alien Crush. It didn't bother with realistic physics; instead Alien Crush gave players the kind of pinball experience you can only find on a game system. Naxat quickly readied their horror-themed
follow-up, Devil's Crush. Together these two pinball games are celebrated as two of the best titles on NEC's short-lived console.
Naxat decided to keep the "Crush" spirit alive with a remake and a sequel. Devi's Crush was ported to the Sega Genesis as Dragon's Fury, allowing a brand new audience a chance to experience the bizarre mixture of medieval fantasy and pinball. Then came Jaki Crush, a Super Famicom exclusive that never made its way to out of Japan. Having tackled three different consoles and multiple types of demonic monsters, Naxat was done with "Crush" and ready to move on.
But just because Naxat is out of the picture doesn't mean the story is over. In 1993, not long after releasing Jaki Crush in Japan, Tengen decided to make their own follow-up to Dragon's Fury. The result is Dragon's Revenge, an inventive sequel that brings back everything you love about the "Crush" games and adds new bosses, hidden areas and bad guys.
Much like Devil's Crush/Dragon's Fury, Dragon's Revenge is a medieval-themed high fantasy pinball game. The entire board is built around a woman's face, presumably trapped underneath the table itself. As you build up points, she turns from an attractive young lady to a hideous dragon. Fitting, as the rest of the table is filled with demons, monsters, monks and other dragons.
What makes Dragon's Fury so much fun is that it doesn't bother with recreating a true pinball experience. This is the kind of game that could never have been made by Midway/Bally; it's far too complicated and packs in a number of elaborate boss battles. The table is not only multiple screens high, but also has tricky areas hidden on the far left and right sides. There's a lot happening on the table, which is one of the reasons playing through it is so much fun.
Even when the game has problems with physics, the rest of the table is so interesting that you'll hardly care. Most of the weird gameplay quirks worked out in my favor, throwing me into an incredible bonus stage or boss encounter. The visuals are also sharp, making Dragon's Revenge a real treat to look at. There's also a fun two-player mode, but that's a given in a pinball game.
Dragon's Revenge doesn't quite hit the same highs as Devil's Crush and Jaki Crush, but it does offer enough thrills to make it worth seeking out. There aren't many games like this, even in a day and age when there are multiple competing pinball games on current systems. The graphics are ghoulish and the gameplay is solid; Dragon's Revenge is the real deal.