Did you ever wonder what kind of game Panzer Dragoon would be if it didn't have those amazing graphics? If you really want to find out then here's the answer: it would be a game like Panzer Dragoon Mini; the one and only Panzer Dragoon game released for an 8-bit console. Not often has a game been so out of place on a system, as with this Game Gear version of Sega's famous flying dragons.
Of course, the most noticeable issue here is the very simplistic graphics. An 8-bit system like the Game Gear can actually produce quite pleasant images for a 2D game like Sonic and Mega Man, but this one looks downright ugly. There's never much on screen; always one backdrop a stage, and to create a feeling of actually 'moving' the underground consists out of two colored lines which frantically move, or rather blink, like a crazy assembly line. There are never many enemies on screen, and there's also no rider on the dragon. Together with the psychedelic tones that form the 'music', Panzer Dragoon Mini seems more like a hypnotic experience than an actually game. The boss stages are pretty annoying too; turning around the boss is done automatically which really narrows the player's involvement down to a minimum.
It's often said that gameplay can save a game that has been produced totally awful on graphics and sound. I think that's true. However, not many times have we heard the notion that impressive graphics can make up for disastrous gameplay. Panzer Dragoon on the Game Gear proves the gameplay of this illustrious Sega serie is actually very shallow. They are no more than simple shooters on rails without any real interaction of the player besides aiming at the enemies. If you take away the graphics, and some of the motion possibilities, as has been done in Panzer Dragoon Mini, the game turns out to be really hard to enjoy.
Overall, it's best to forget about this Panzer Dragoon port rapidly. In my opinion the new Nintendo Wii-controls are the only option to get something more out of the Panzer Dragoon series, so my guess is we'll see a Wii-port of it soon. That version has to have great gameplay, since the Wii isn't particular impressive graphically as well ...