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Rise of the Dragon Reviewed by Tom Lenting on . Rating: 85%
Rise of the Dragon
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Rise of the Dragon is a very special game for me personally. It is one of the very few adventure-games I actually finished WITHOUT consulting a walkthrough. I admit, it almost took me two years, but hey, not everybody had the internet in those days, and with that I was just a kid: I couldn't understand half of the mature humor in the game yet. Nowadays, it seems strange to me it took me so long, because once you know what to do; you'll be able to play through the game in about 10 minutes. But before I get to any kind of conclusion, let me first tell you what the game is all about.

You play private investigator (though you're usually less flattering addressed as "private dick") William "Blade" Hunter, a guy with a big mouth but also a lot of humor. Anyway, the Major wants you to rescue his daughter out of some drug conspiracy. He consulted William and not the official authorities, because he won't like it when his name will be linked in one way or another to illegal drugs! While it might seem that William just has to find the Major's daughter, it turns out to be all a lot of a bigger conspiracy than one could ever have thought of.

Rise of the Dragon is an adventure where you largely play in a first-person perspective. There are some "action" parts (two, to be exact), but that's about it. Your inventory can be found at the bottom right side of the screen. It takes a little while to get used to using the inventory, because it's a bit laborious, but it isn't too much trouble (though I'll never get used to playing this kind of games with a joy pad instead of a mouse).

Rise of the Dragon can be a very frustrating game; there are a lot of ways to get stuck. First of all, there are a lot of ways to die -- getting kicked by some filthy night porters, drop off a platform, getting electrocuted by plugging connecting wrong wires and so on -- which leads you to the "game over" and you need to start the game from the beginning again. However, more frustrating is that when you say something wrong (especially to your girlfriend or a guy in the bar nicknamed "The Jake") the people around you won't talk to you anymore. You'll find out that without their help you are unable to finish the game, unfortunately you'll waste a lot of time before you figure this out.

As I said, when you know what to do the game is very short. But it is re-playable for some time, because there are different possibilities to end the game (e.g. save your girlfriend or not?). I really liked the puzzles (though the bit in which you have to connect wires can be frustrating as hell - save game!!), the dark atmosphere, the excellent music, and the adult humor of the game.

Of course, there are some major differences between the Sega CD and the PC/Mac versions of this title. First of all, there is voice acting here. The voice of Hunter is done by someone called Cam Clarke, a guy I have never heard off. Secondly the color pallet of the Sega CD isn't as broad as the PC-version, so it looks a bit like all the surroundings have been grown over by a lot of moss - or had some sort of Matrix-recycling. I mean it's really green. But the atmosphere is still there, so I'll forgive all that.

Two other changes are less forgivable. The "action" sequences (a bit crappy platform bits) could be avoided on the PC-versions (if you died a few times, you could pick "skip sequence"), but here you actually have to finish them on your own! So, adventure-gamers, prepare for a little bit of compulsory platform shooting. However, though the action bits aren't all that great, I'll admit it's a nice alternation on the typical adventure stuff (asking questions, searching and stuff like that). Worst of all is that Rise of the Dragon on the Sega CD has been censored (e.g. some mid-sequences of a 'French kiss' and an implied sexy night which Blade spends by his girlfriend have been left out). I understood that this was done because there was a lot fuss about violence and "inappropriate content" in videogames in those days, but it's kind of strange, since the game was intended for a mature audience (it received an MA-17 label by Sega of America, so why bother!?).

Overall, Rise of the Dragon on the Sega isn't as good as the PC version, but it's a decent port of a solid adventure game. If you like thrilling adventure games you really should check this out.
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