My gaming hobby officially started in the winter of 1990, when my mother purchased a Nintendo Entertainment System as a Christmas gift for me. I loved that system, and I’m sure I must have put hundreds of hours into my small collection of games. Like many other people, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Final Fantasy were among my favorites. There were others, though, Faxanadu, Captain Skyhawk, Iron Sword II, and Dragon Spirit: The New Legend that gained an equal amount of my attention, and it’s that last one that we are going to talk about today.
For those of you unfamiliar with this title, Dragon Spirit: The New Legend is a vertical shooter that plays in a similar way to 1942, 1943, and Tiger Heli. The most noticeable difference is that this time instead of controlling a military aircraft the player controls a fire-breathing dragon. This version of the game was a port from an earlier arcade title to the NES. The game was published by Namco and this port was developed by Now Production. Like many arcade ports of the era, the developers were forced to make significant alterations to the game to get it to work on the far less powerful home console.
The game does have a plot, which according to Wikipedia is as follows… “In the kingdom of Mitgult, an ugly serpent demon named Zawell escapes imprisonment after a thousand years and kidnaps Princess Alicia. A soldier named Amul is chosen to rescue her and destroy Zawell. He points his sword skyward and transforms into a powerful blue dragon. He can breathe fire and drop bombs, as well as collect up to thirteen additional powers during his journey. Amul must fight nine of Zawell’s mightiest beasts, one at the end of each stage, before facing Zawell himself.”
As a kid though I didn’t know or really care about the storyline, I just loved this game because it let me fly around as a dragon. That and the fact that Dragon Spirit: The New Legend has one of my favorite soundtracks from the NES era, which I still listen to even today. The soundtrack from the original arcade version is arguably superior in quality, but given the option, I still prefer the NES version. Something about it just sounds better to me, although it might just be due to nostalgia. I’ll even include a link below so you can hear it and see how awesome it is for yourself.
Of course playing the game when I was so young I failed to appreciate just how much work must have been put into it. This game can hardly be called a port at all; Now Production had to rebuild this game from scratch with all new programming and assets. These days’ people complain about how easy it should be to play PlayStation 2 games on a PlayStation 4, the technology of the late 80s and early 90s made this anything but an easy process.
The arcade game has seen re-release as part of several compilations over the years, but this version has more the most port remained in the past. Which is a shame, as Dragon Spirit: The New Legend is absolutely worth a play-through. If you have the opportunity to experience this title for yourself I encourage you to do so, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Brian Cowan loves playing video games, football, Magic, and pretty much anything else that he can use as an excuse to waste time. When he is not doing the above or working, he is usually writing or reading.