The King Of Dragons (ザ・キングオブドラゴンズ) is a side-scrolling hack and slash arcade beat 'em up game developed by Capcom and released in 1991. Players choose from five characters (Elf, Wizard, Fighter, Cleric, and Dwarf) in order to travel through the kingdom of Malus and defeat the monsters that have taken over, as well as their leader, the red dragon Gildiss.
The setting is very similar to that of Dungeons and Dragons and other medieval fantasy worlds, with familiar monsters such as Orcs, Gnolls, Harpies, Wyverns, Cyclopes, and Minotaurs. The game has 16 levels, though many are quite short. It was ported to the SNES and is also included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
Much like Capcom's Knights Of The Round, The King Of Dragons features an RPG-like level advancement system. Points scored for killing monsters and picking up gold count towards experience, and the character gains levels at regular intervals. With each level, the character's health bar increases, other attributes such as range improve, and the character also becomes invulnerable for a few seconds. Along the way, different weapon and armor upgrades for each character may also be picked up.
The King Of Dragons features a simple control system that consists of a single attack button, and a jump button. By pressing both buttons, the character unleashes a magical attack that strikes all enemies on the screen (its strength varies according to the character used) at the expense of losing energy. The fighter, cleric and dwarf can also use their shield to block certain attacks by pulling back right before the impact.
- Meteor - Rains destruction on enemies with a meteor storm.
- Thunderbolt - Thunder strikes the enemy.
- Fire Wall - Burns the enemy with fire.
- Frog - Turns the enemy into a frog.
- Jewelry - Turns the enemy into jewels.
For over a hundred years, he had descended like a vulture on the land of Malus and left nothing behind but a scorched ruin where the creatures of darkness could reign. After much pleading by the farmers and townspeople, the armies of Malus were gathered and sent to do battle with the mighty red dragon known as Gildiss. Not a single man returned.
In desperation, the King sought guidance from his wizard, Guindon. Guindon told the king that he could cast a spell that would put Gildiss to sleep for one year, but if and when Gildiss awoke, he would be more powerful. Looking out over the suffering that had befallen his kingdom, the King decided his people could take no more. And so he commanded Guindon to put Gildiss to sleep.
Now the year has almost come to an end and darkness has once again befallen the kingdom of Malus. In the last year, the King has sent forth hundreds of knights to find and destroy Gildiss as he sleeps. None have been heard from again.
Now, as the creatures of darkness stand ready to plunge the land of Malus into the abyss, a new band of adventurers plans to set forth before Gildiss awakes...
- Ravel (ラベル, 175cm, 60kg, Elf) - The elven archer has the greatest range and speed of all the characters. However, he can not equip a shield and he suffers from low defense and weak attack strength. Furthermore, Ravel's defense never increases throughout the course of the game and his jump is slower than that of both the Fighter and Wizard. By obtaining better bows, Ravel increases the speed at which he fires arrows and their range, while arrow upgrades increase attack strength.
- Leger (レジェ, age 28, 173cm, 60kg, Wizard) - The wizard wields only a magical staff. He has fairly low defense and speed, but the best magic and the second best range. His attack power is weak early on, but extremely powerful later in the game. The speed at which Leger attacks does not improve, but is alleviated by the multi-hitting ability of his later staves. Defense is improved by various magical upgrades such as rings and amulets.
- Derek (デレク, Age 26, 183cm, 90kg, Fighter) - The Fighter has the second strongest attack power. His range and speed easily outperform the other shield-carrying heroes (Cleric and Dwarf) and his jump is faster and higher. Derek gains HP the fastest and his speed can make his defense almost as good as the Cleric's. The main thing he lacks is magic, at which he is the weakest.
- Aldo (アルド, age 34, 203cm, 109kg, Cleric) - The cleric is the largest hero in the game. He has fairly good magic and attack strength, as well as the best defense, although he is a bit slow and has the worst agility of the bunch, able to make only short, and slow hops. He also carries a shield and gains levels much faster than anyone else. His recovery, after using the shield, is the fastest in the game. Aldo is the personal favorite of most players. However, he is slower than the Fighter, and most of the Cleric players have switched to Fighter, due to the faster attacking, and much better hops Fighter has to offer to the aggressive and advanced players.
- Vargas (バルガス, 120cm, 70kg, Dwarf) - The Dwarf, as his name suggests, is the smallest target of the five. He has the quickest melee attack speed and the second strongest defense, is fairly quick, and also has a shield. Vargas has also the longest jump; however, he has fairly weak magic and the worst range: every third strike is a ranged strike (unlike the Cleric and Fighter who alternate between a close and ranged strike).
- Gildiss (レッド・ドラゴン・ギルディス) - The main antagonist and red dragon. He has awakened and unleashed his monstrous horde across the land.
Stage Bosses Edit
- Level 1 - Orc King - Orc Village
- Level 2 - Minotaur - Treasure in an Old Castle
- Level 3 - Wyvern - Battle on a Mountain Peak
- Level 4 - Hydra - Cave of the Hydra
- Level 5 - Troglodyte Brigand - (mini-boss) - To the Nord Isle
- Level 6 - Cyclops - The Giant in the Shrine
- Level 7 - Giant Spider - Trent Woods
- Level 8 - Dragon Rider - To the Castle
- Level 9 - Black Knight - In the Castle
- Level 10 - Wraith - Underpass
- Level 11 - Great Dragonian - Battle in the Fort
- Level 12 - Royal Knights - Castle Garenos
- Level 13 - Dark Wizard - Dark Wizard
- Level 14 - Frost Wyvern - Cave in the Woods
- Level 15 - Cyclops Brothers - Underground Labyrinth
- Level 16 - Gildiss the Red Dragon - Golden Limestone Cave
- In the SNES version, the music played during the boss in Stage 15 is the same music that plays during the fight against Cyclops in Stage 6. In the original version, it is the same music that plays during the fight against the Orc King in Stage 1.
- In the arcade version, there are often skeletons of deceased soldiers laying around in the background. They can be attacked for hidden treasure. There were removed or replaced with treasure chests in the SNES version.
- The arcade version rewards points when an enemy's projectile is countered. The SNES version does not.
- The point total for each treasure is shown in the arcade version, but not the SNES version.
- In the arcade version of the fight with the Hydra in Stage 4, all three heads attack at the same time. In the SNES version, only two heads can fight at once with the third head coming in after one of them has been defeated. Also, the American arcade version shows the hydra's heads' necks being snapped off of its body, whereas in the SNES version, they are simply shown falling to the ground as if it were still attached to the body due to Nintendo's censorship.
- In the arcade version, when treasure lingered around without being picked up, a thief would rush over and pick it up to steal it. He can be stopped by attacking him. He'll drop the treasure and leave behind a satchel of his own ill-gained goods. He was removed from the SNES version, where the treasure simply just vanishes.
- Little rabbits flee in the beginning and end of the first stage in the arcade version. They're not shown in the SNES version.
- The fight with the Black Knight in Stage 9 was harder in the arcade version. During battle, he has two extra dragons to aid him in battle. They were likely taken out of the SNES version because it was deemed too hard or the cartridge didn't have enough memory.
- The pictures of the characters the player(s) meet have lip sync to match their dialogue in the arcade version. The SNES version has still pictures of the characters.
- A couple of background features were left out of the SNES version and shown only in the arcade version. For example, the nighttime sky moves in the background as if time were passing in the fight with the Cyclops at the end of stage 6, and there's a firewall blocking the courtyard at the second dragon rider in stage 9.
- In the arcade version, if a character dies but then rejoins, after a stage is cleared, the player have the option to change their character or stay with the one they originally selected. In the SNES version, they play as the character they originally selected throughout the whole adventure.
- What happens after the epilogue is different in both versions. In the arcade version, there are credits of the staff who worked on the game. Fairies fly by and present the names and Gildiss will either smash them with his fist or blow them away with fire. In the SNES version, there is a recap of all the bosses that appeared in each level.
- Derek, Ravel, Leger, Vargas and Aldo all returned in the Japan-only release Capcom World 2.
- This was one of many Capcom games to feature the spinning Yashichi power-up item. In this game, there are three hidden throughout the game, each giving the player an extra continue.
- The cover art for the Super Nintendo version of the game was painted by Julie Bell, who, around the same time, did the US cover art for Demon's Crest.
Arcade Version [Game Masters] Edit
Based on their known roles, a proper staff roll would closely resemble the following:
Planner: Chin, Tomoshi, Tolaya, Gyo
Scroll Design: HK, Yama, Mikiman, Miyao, Iwai
Object Design: SSS, Mizuho, Hayashi, Manbou, Guych, Dany
Programmer: Blbon, Ogachy, Hirabe, Wakio
Presented by: Capcom
The King of Dragons, like many other games during this era of gaming, credited its staff in its default Score Ranking Table, which is as follows:
- 1st 100000 Blb
- 2nd 80000 Wak
- 3rd 50000 Ogt
- 4th 10000 Sat
- 5th 5000 Sad