Dragon: Marked for Death proves pixel art isn’t always ‘retro’

Guest starring lewd-loving Gal*Gun girl

Some poor shlubb recently went off on a well-known indie game publisher for putting out Minit, stating that — among other things — the game’s retro graphics were evidence of its irrelevance. To me, that’s sort of like saying that the acoustic guitar is “retro” or irrelevant.” Neither are exactly state of the art anymore, but neither of them ever went away. Bands have used the acoustic guitar on a pretty consistent basis since the dawn of pop music, and there has never been a time when there wasn’t at least one or two popular games on the market using pixel art. 

During the PS1/N64/Saturn era, most of those popular pixel art games were on handhelds, specifically the GBA. That’s where Inti Creates really made a name for itself with the popular Mega Man Zero series. It later moved forward with the Mega Man ZX games, and, after that, Mega Man 9 and 10. A few years after that, it was Azure Striker Gunvolt, Blaster Master Zero, and Mighty Gunvolt Burst. Formed by former Capcom employees from the NES and SNES days, Inti Creates has kept pixel art current for more than 15 years now, and it shows no signs of stopping. 

Dragon: Marked For Death marks the reunion of the original Mega Man Zero team, many of whom worked on one or more of the games listed above, making it a sort of culmination of everything the studio has done so far. The melee combat that was at the center of Zero‘s gameplay is back in full force with Dragon, with the ability to cancel jump attacks into standing combos, juggle enemies, and generally slaughter enemies in rapid succession. The big difference is, Dragon is an online multi-player co-op action RPG with different character classes. In this demo, it almost felt like a 2D Monster Hunter at times, with most of the enemies being weird beasts or big animals, though Inti Creates’s Matt Papa tells me that the full game will have plenty of humanoid enemies to take on as well.

Thanks for the video, Matt. You too, happy woman. 

Jonathan Holmes
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1 "I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes