I'm a science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction writer by trade, but aside from writing, video games are my biggest passion. I also write over at Gamer Limit.
The first console my brothers and I ever got was an SNES for Christmas one year. Since then, we've owned an N64, Playstation, PS2, and an Xbox 360. I got a Gameboy Color one year for Christmas, but my brothers are more into handheld gaming than me. Every time they upgrade to the latest system I get their hand-me-downs. That's how I obtained my GBA and my two DS's. Handheld gaming for some reason doesn't interest me even though I know there are great games out there. The first console I've ever been the exclusive owner of is my PS3. The first games I ever played were Super Mario World, F-Zero, 7th Saga (which I've written about), and Out of This World.
My favorite genres are RPGs (Western or Japanese), FPS, action/adventure, and RTS (even though I suck at them).
So thereís this little game that came out a few a weeks ago. You mightíve heard of it. Itís called Skyrim and Dtoidís own Jim Sterling thought it was pretty good. I mean you can fight dragons in it. Awesome, right? Well what if I told you about a game where you can fight dragons with other dragons! Welcome to the wonderful, pixilated world of Bahamut Lagoon.
Bahamut Lagoon is a Japanese tactical roleplaying game by Square that came out in that mythical golden age of SNES RPGs. Sadly, it never made its way to American shores. I only heard about it by chance when I was surfing the Internet in college. I acquired the unofficial English translation and began an adventure that would make the Dragonborn envious.
Being a Square game, it looks gorgeous. The sprites look just as good as those in Final Fantasy III and all of the different types of dragons look different from each other. But gorgeous sprite-based artwork isnít enough. Luckily, I found the gameplay just as awesome.
The little dragon sprites are so cute! Also deadly. But then they come back around to cute.
Unlike Squareís other games, in Bahamut Lagoon battles are fought on grid-based environments, like a dragon-flavored Fire Emblem or the more modern Advance Wars. While the cast of characters all have different classes and abilities, the dragons are what steal the show. Each party has their own dragon attached to it that can level up, use abilities, and learn new ones. While you canít control them directly, you can give them commands like ďCome!Ē to set how aggressive they are. It was such a joy to soften an enemy up with my troops and know that as soon as my turn ended my dragons were going to swoop in and finish things off.
Now enemy forces also get their own dragons, so itís imperative that you keep yours in top fighting shape. And thatís where the gameís coolest mechanic comes in. Dragons are big, yes? Big things need lots of food. And apparently, according to Bahamut Lagoon dragons will eat goddamn anything. Got some extra swords and armor? Feed Ďem to Smoky, your firebreather. Oh you have some poisonous mushrooms, give Ďem to Jeff, the dark dragon. No need to worry about counting calories in this game!
By feeding your dragons equipment, books, items, literally anything, their stats go up. And then once you hit certain benchmarks they will evolve into other forms. Pokemon, who? Bahamut Lagoonís got you beat (by like two and a half weeks). It was a lot of fun to experiment with feeding my dragons and seeing what they would evolve into. Granted itís possible to just play random skirmish battles over and over, by certain items, and then make your dragons completely overpowered, but who cares?
To be honest, I donít remember a lot about the story. There was something about a group of rebels led by a spunky youth with a destiny trying to save the world from an evil empire. Typical JRPG fare, but it definitely didnít detract from my enjoyment. I mean itís not like other dragon-based games are known for their earth-shattering main quests.
If youíre a fan of dragons, Square, or strategy RPGs from the SNESís Golden Years, you gotta play Bahamut Lagoon. Youíre all Internet-savvy people, Iím sure you know how to find a copy. It just goes to show that pretty much any videogame genre would benefit from a healthy infusion of dragons.