The Let's Play Archive

Panzer Dragoon

by nine-gear crow, Blind Sally, TravelLog

Part 6

Well here we are, the last proper Episode of the game. Hard to believe the LP’s nearly over, huh?

Now this is where the game flies headlong in to :stonk: territory in terms of horrifying shit happening just off screen.

This level opens with a cutscene.

Sestren detects the Dark Dragon approaching the Tower and activates all the dormant Pure Types in and around the Tower. The Pure Types spring into action and quickly overwhelm the Imperial detachment stationed around the Tower itself. With the Tower perimeter secure and readied for the Dark Dragon’s arrival, the Pure Types fan out and begin attacking the nearby Imperial Capital.

This is where Kyle and Lagi enter the picture, in the midst of a massive off-screen holocaust of innocent Imperial citizens dying in droves as the capital is blown up by bio horrors. It’s the combination of this and what happens in the ending cinematic that essentially cripple the Empire for the rest of the series until Edge, Azel and Lagi deliver the deathblow to it in Panzer Dragoon Saga. Then a new dynasty arises from its ashes in Panzer Dragoon Orta and proclaims itself the “New Empire”… and goes right back to work doing the same shit that got the Old Empire in trouble: namely digging up ancient ruins filled with existential horrors and experimenting with things beyond their understanding. Would it shock you if I said the New Empire collapses because something they unearthed backfires and blows up their new capital? Because that’s what happens at the end of Orta.

Anyway, everything about this level is about keying you up for the endgame which is what’s coming up next time. The level is one giant running battle between the Dark Dragon and the Pure Types, and Kyle and Lagi with the Empire haplessly caught in the middle. The Dark Dragon weaves in and out of the stage, but while it’s targetable, it’s also invincible. All you can really do to it is shoot down its seeker missiles and avoid the potshots from its drone.

The level is very fast paced, you are constantly getting shot at, and the music is very high tempo’d and emphatic as well. The track is even called “The Imperial District Goes Up In Flames,” so that right there confirms that we’re flying through a massive slaughter that we don’t see because it’s a rail shooter on a console of limited capabilities meant to be played by children Kyle is laser-focused (no pun intended) on stopping the Dark Dragon from getting to the Tower and unleashing an even greater slaughter, no matter the cost. Also, what could he do? He’s one guy on a rake-thin dragon the size of a bus, Lagi is good at taking out Pure Types, but not that good.

Still, I can see why after Panzer Dragoon Kyle just disappears from the series and is never referenced again. Being forced to fly through a senseless genocide and being powerless to stop it in one way or another would really weigh on a guy who was used to living in a yurt and foraging in a desert without any greater concerns than not starving to death before this all began. …That or he was a throwaway cipher who never actually says anything and is easily overshadowed by the protagonists in the series with actual personalities.

Take your pick.

One last thing: I love how as you get into the tighter corridors of the level you actually start flying through peoples’ clotheslines. That’s a nice unexpected touch and helps make this place seem lived in, even though we don’t encounter a single other physical human being in the entire game.

I also like to imagine Kyle and Lagi zipping through one of these stretches and either Kyle being literally clotheslined off of Lagi, or having him emerge with someone’s bra on his head Looney Tunes-style or something.

Because if anything is the perfect accent to a supposedly serious and horrifying event, it’s obtuse comedy. Don’t believe me, just ask George Lucas! [Insert Star Wars Prequel joke here]

And now here’s WotA’s summary of the stage:

The Will of the Ancients posted:


The last obstacle between the dragon and the Tower was the Imperial Capital itself; this city was the heart of the Empire, an overcrowded metropolis that stretched out along vast and murky waterways beneath a contaminated sky.

The Tower had become fully active by now, and the hordes of Pure-Type monsters that had slept within its walls for millennia had been unleashed. These creatures laid waste to the Imperial city, carrying out their ancient duty of reducing human populations by force. This bio-engineered army - along with the remnants of the Imperial fleet, and the Dark Dragon itself - fired upon Kyle from all sides as he sped down the waterways of the city.

Like I say in the video, this thing… whatever it is, is not the boss of this level. You don’t need to beat it to move on to Last Episode, the game just moves on as soon as you clear the stage. For the longest time, I thought this thing was invincible like the Dark Dragon was in this stage, but lo and behold, I discovered through a combination of the invincibility and extra weapon cheats that you can actually kill this thing. It’s just incredibly hard to do because it has such a high hit point threshold.

I think these things are supposed to be the Pure Type equivalent of an Imperial battleship. They’re practically living lift engines that look like floating heads that shoot plasma blasts at you. It’s a shame these things only appear for this level and the preceding cutscene because they look so damn badass.

Azel (A human-like drone created by the Ancients, rider of the Atolm Dragon, awakened by Imperial traitor Crayman, aided the mercenary Edge in defeating both the Empire and Sestren. Mother of Orta)
Edge (A human mercenary formerly employed by the Empire, host of the Divine Visitor, rider of the Heresy Dragon, fought against the Empire and Sestren in Panzer Dragoon Saga. Father of Orta)
Orta (The first and only human-drone hybrid. Child of Edge and Azel, held hostage by the New Empire for most of her life, fought against the Empire and the evil drone Abad with the help of another incarnation the dragon ridden by her father)

Imperial Capital (Seaside seat of power of the Old Empire, a sprawling canal city of over 100,000 inhabitants)

The Old Empire (The incarnation of the Empire seeing Panzer Dragoons Eins (ie: this one!), Zwei, and Saga. Dissolved after the events of Saga)
The New Empire (Successor state to the Old Empire, re-established under the Eight Emperor. This incarnation of the Empire is seen during Panzer Dragoon Orta. Dissolved after the events of Orta for being too stupid to take a fucking hint already)