As many Strategy/RPG fans know Sega makes some of the best games in the genre. Dragon Wizard is a prelude to the better known and well received Dragon Force, the game is a Sega CD exclusive that's a bit difficult to find but is fairly cheap (as is the hardware). There are a lot of similarities which originated with Dark Wizard. The game takes place in the golden lands of Cheshire where you play the part of an army leader whose job is to rid Cheshire of the Dark Forces which killed the Queen. The game centers on turn-based strategic battles between your army and various others. Another aspect of the game is to take over castles, towns etc to earn income so you can hire more soldiers.
The graphics are pretty basic, 2D 16-bit stuff, but it works. The game's cut scenes are nicely animated and help set the stage. The battles are animated, but aren't nearly as attractive as the ones in Shining Force, you'll probably just want to toggle over to text mode.
Everything in the game is accomplished through an easy-to-navigate menu system. Whether you're buying weapons, moving, summoning, hiring, saving, searching, using magic, attacking or checking stats -- the menus in Dark Wizard work well. Your leader must be over a castle to hire warriors or summon beasts. All this will cost you money too, which you earn by taking over cities and castles as mentioned earlier.
During battles you can go into cities and talk to people in shops, taverns, town squares, inns, churches and at the mayor's house. Once a unit passes level 5, then he will automatically increase a class (assuming the given unit can do so). You're usually given a choice of classes. For instance, when an Elf increases class, you get a choice of Fighter, Priest or Mage. Naturally, unit attributes increase as levels do and magic spells are acquired as well.
The music is good but like many older games particularly of this time and genre it's a bit repetitive. At least it's CD quality, back in the day it would have been truly impressive I imagine. You'll hear orchestral hymns which sound the battle cry and vary depending on whose turn it is. The sound effects are also decent. You'll mostly hear various cues, magic effects and voice narration.
Thanks to games like this, I'm a fan of Strategy/RPG games for life. Sure the battles can get repetitive, but I never seem to get tired of thinking in order to win (which of course, I always do!). There are four rulers to choose from when you begin: Armer IX (Prince), Robin (Cavalry Leader), Amon (Puppetmaster), and Krystal (Sorceress). No two games are ever the same, which helps the game's replay and overall value making it a must own for Sega CD owners and fans of Strategy/RPG adventures.