Dragon’s Curse (TurboGrafx-16)

40967_frontYou would think mixing Wonder Boy and Zelda 2 would result in a fantastic game. Dragon’s Curse attempts to do this and it doesn’t fail, it just crashes about halfway through. What was once fun and entertaining soon became a test of nerves. Sad to say the game won. It beat me. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun before tossing in the old white towel.

Dragon’s Curse is an action platformer with light RPG elements. In short you get cursed by Dragons and you must find the Salamander Cross which is a “powerful antidote” as the game puts it. Your main weapon is a sword but there are sub weapons such as fire balls, boomerangs, and arrows to name a few. Along the way you’ll come across shops that sell new swords, armor, and shields. Be sure to collect every piece of gold you come across. You’ll need it. Other than that it controls like a Wonder Boy game. Nothing bad here.

Main Menu. You select sub weapons here as well.

Main Menu. You select sub weapons here as well.

After a boss fight you get turned into something different. Of course you start as a Dragon who can shoot fireballs. The second thing you get turned to is Mouse-Man who can cling to and climb walls. Third is the Piranha-Man who can swim and last was the Tiger-Man who can swing his sword up and down rather than just jabbing. After awhile you’ll find a platform (usually hidden) that allows you to switch between any form. It would have been better if a button allowed for this as going back to one of these platforms is tedious. Sometimes they are far away. The game lacks any form of fast travel so you’ll be trekking through the same areas often.

Creatures you get turned into.

Creatures you get turned into.

Shortly after becoming the Piranha-Man Dragon’s Curse started to show its true form. I got lost. There isn’t any story other than at the very beginning. I actually had to look up a FAQ to figure out what to do and what you have to do is so darn cryptic. I’m talking Castlevania 2’s “Stand next to a wall with a crystal” cryptic. You have to have the Dragon Armor equipped and have collected 30 stones to be able to cross lava. 30 stones that are a complete and random drop! Luckily I found an area with what seemed to be a higher drop rate. I made a video to better explain and to show the exact location.

I got as far as the Ninja Castle before giving up. The enemies just seemed over powered and death came quickly. I’m sure I played in a role in that. After all I only had four hearts total. And I know for a fact I didn’t have all the swords or different types of armor. Some of the shops are hidden. If you come to a dead end be sure to walk slowly while pressing up. I’ve found some hidden shops and I’m sure there are a lot more I missed. The game just gets so hard and cryptic I got frustrated and gave up.

Dragon's Curse (USA)-004

I know it sounds like I didn’t have much fun with Dragon’s Curse but that’s not true. The controls are simple although using sub weapons is odd. You have to be pressing down while tapping the attack button. The physics are a little slidey. Almost like you are on ice but you’ll soon adapt. The graphics are nice and like most games on the TG-16 they are colorful. I’ve also caught myself humming the music long after I’ve stopped playing. It’s just that huge spike in difficulty that killed the fun I was having with the game. Perhaps I’ll return someday to remove the Dragon’s Curse.

Final Verdict:

  • Nice colorful graphics
  • Catchy tunes
  • Back-tracking gets old fast, no fast travel
  • Big difficulty spike halfway through
  • Some parts are ridiculously cryptic

Score: 3/5






6 thoughts on “Dragon’s Curse (TurboGrafx-16)

  1. I found the master system version a bit easier to control. Dragon’s Quest ranks among the top games on the system. Love it to bits but can understand how the controls can feel a little weird. Especially in the sections where jumps need to be precise.

    Great review man. Other games in the series that are on the turbo are worth looking at too.

  2. I need to play this game. You compared it to three of my favourite series and, in particular, two of my favourite games from those series. I know a lot of people hate Zelda II and Simon’s Quest, but I love them, so I may just love this one.

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