As you may have guessed from the title of this game, you play the part of a dragon. And as you may have guessed from the publisher, Strategy First, this is a strategy game. No wait, it’s an action game. Or is it an action-strategy game? Or maybe, what it really should be called is an action game so dull they call it a strategy game.
The menu that guides you into the game is done well enough. It’s just that from there the game takes a nosedive, with a clunky interface, bland graphics, sparse music and slow, repetitive gameplay. And did I mention it was slow?
Rather than feeling as though you’re guiding a fierce dragon through the skies, I of the Dragon makes you feel as though you’re maneuvering a lumbering airborne tank that can’t strafe or move backward. A tank would probably get you there a little faster, though.
Once you reach your target, the assortment of enemies that awaits you will resort to a single tactic: throwing things. Spiders that throw things, shop-of-horror plants that spew things, and zombies (yes, zombies) with excellent undead pitching arms are just some of the many mindless creatures you will get to slowly dispose of.
And by “slowly dispose,” I’m talking near-comatose-with-a-little-drool-hanging-out-of-your-mouth slow. Your primary attack will be fire, ice or acid, depending on which of the three dragons you start with. The slow process begins by charging your attack, which takes five to eight seconds. You can let it rip sooner, but the already-weak damage that it does will only burn your enemy’s noise hairs if you do, so it’s better to wait. Then it’s time to fire. Whoa! That spider plant you were attacking is down to 75-percent health! Just three more times should do the trick!
After the little creature has finally died from multiple dragon attacks, you may notice a new spider/plant/zombie “thing” has appeared from its monster generator. Every monster has a home, so off to the generator you go, by clicking a command and waiting for your lazy dragon to get his scaly butt over there.
Once you’ve arrived (and have hopefully remembered to charge), your dragon will sit above the structure and bob up and down as you charge and attack. What’s almost amusing about this is that you’ve now become a dragon piñata for every monster in the vicinity.
Everything you patiently take down gives you experience points, which lead to your lizard’s leveling up. A handful of things like speed, breath and health can be adjusted from the pool of points you’re given, and after oh-so-many levels have gone by, you may start to notice a difference your dragon’s performance. The problem is that this will take way too long for you to achieve, and even then you still will find the game too slow-paced to be enjoyable.
A fairly large selection of spells also becomes available, which you can acquire by spending your precious experience points. But of course, even these are slow. You have a little cache of spells on the right-hand corner of the HUD, which you can drag and drop into one of the active “slots” at the bottom of the screen. Spells have to charge before every use, and the more slots you have active, the longer it takes them to power up. This wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t already waiting for your primary attack to charge. But then again, what really makes the spells frustrating is their tendency to miss.
At one point, players are put on foot to battle the dull creatures over again, but rather than refresh the experience it worsens it. The graphics look much worse in this mode, the terrible controls haven’t changed, and the same slow pace of the gameplay continues.
I’m a fan of real-time strategy games; don’t think of me an impatient gamer who just doesn’t “get it.” Slow-paced strategy games are slow because you’re busy coordinating, building and organizing your forces. I of the Dragon just has you waiting to recharge. No decisions are being made, no forces are being adjusted. It’s the bad kind of slow. And in the case of I of the Dragon, it’s really too bad. As an action game, this title could have been so much more.
- Gameplay: 3
- Very slow and nearly thoughtless, attack and recharge are your choices for taking down enemies.
- Graphics: 6
- It looks like something from three years ago. The art style and menu system are good, but that’s about it.
- Sound: 5
- Most of the effects are simple and have little presence. The music, too, is unremarkable, but it does give the game some subtle atmosphere.
- Replay: 0
- After an hour you won’t ever want to play it again. If dull and mindless are your thing, other games would serve you better.
- Overall: 4
- Almost enjoyable. It’s a shame they didn’t work harder to make it the action game it so badly wants to be.
— Robert Dusseau