If you were a child in the 90s, you'd probably remember a fun little cartoon called Blazing Dragons. It was created by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame and was released for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. Bizarrely for a traditional point-and-click adventure, it remained exclusive to consoles never to appear on home computers that perhaps best suited to the genre.
The setting plays with the stereotypes of myths and fairy tales frequently turning them on their heads. Set in Camelhot in the kingdom of Dragondom, the dragons are the heroes here with dastardly human knights taking the role of the villains. It is also a world where everything is a pun (the catapult truly lives up to its name).
Unlike the PlayStation ports of the Discworld games, Blazing Dragons does not support the mouse peripheral and is entirely controlled by the joypad. While still perfectly functional, it is not an ideal control scheme. It is a design choice perhaps chosen due to the inclusion of several mini-games requiring the additional buttons the controller can give.
Mini-games in a point-and-click adventure usually bring tears to the eyes to any fans of the genre. Thankfully they are so brief and easy here as to be almost inconsequential. In fact, easy and brief could describe the whole game. It is the exact opposite of the Discworld games in this regard and was perhaps intentional given the slightly younger age of the target audience.
Those familiar with the show may be surprised by what they see when they boot up the game. The graphics are pleasant enough to be comparable to other PC adventure games at the time, but the designs of the characters are completely different. Take a look at our hero Flicker:
As you can see they are strikingly different. He seems to have gained a couple of extra limbs for the game and been dressed in Tudor era garment. This was perhaps a consequence of the fact that they were both conceived and in development at the same time (in fact, the game had to be pushed back from its original 1995 release date to coincide with the premiere of the show).
The voice talent used are all top-notch with many familiar names in the voice-acting world including Kath Soucie (Rugrat's Phil and Lil), Jim Cummings (everything Disney) and even Terry Jones (Help! I'm a Fish) himself. The cover also proudly proclaims the talents of Cheech Marin who was given the role of the antagonist Sir George.
If you liked the style of Discworld but were intimidated by the extreme length and difficulty, this one will make for a great alternative. Terry Jones' involvement ensures that it is constantly funny throughout. Its puzzles are simple enough that you'll rarely be stuck for long but do take enough thought that they are never boring. The only real downside I can bestow upon this fine game is the fact that there is no PC version or mouse support. Thankfully the use of emulators have made the first point moot but the lack of a pointer alas remains elusive.
It may be designed for young children, but many adults as well as Monty Python fans will find much to enjoy. Blazing Dragons definitely deserves another look.
Oh, and one last thing. I really hope it's the Queen's "fine china" their trying to hide during the show's opening song!
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses Retroarch with a Mednafen core to emulate it on PCs. Keyboard and Xbox 360 controllers supported out of the box. Keyboard controls are mapped to my preferred optimal specifications. Tested on Windows 7.
File Size: 157 Mb. Install Size: 338 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Blazing Dragons (the game) is © Crystal Dynamics
Blazing Dragons (the show) is © Terry Jones
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me