Dragon Hopper, known as Jump Dragon (ジャンプドラゴン?) in Japan, is a cancelled video game that was being developed by Intelligent Systems and would have been published by Nintendo for the Virtual Boy platform. It is a platform-puzzle game, where the player could walk around various levels and jump up or down to reach new areas, as well as earn new skills along the way.
Dragon Hopper, along with Bound High, was expected to be one of the best 1996 Virtual Boy games, but the intended August 26, 1996 release of this game (at a price point of US$34.95) never became reality. However, a prototype exists, as the game was shown at Space World 1995 and E3 1996. It was even previewed by Nintendo Power magazine.
In the beginning, the protagonist known as Dorin a young Dragon Prince lived in a magical Kingdom called Celestia, where he and his family lived happily, until his family was put into jail by the corrupt prime minister. While being chased by soldiers, Dorin ran away, however he tripped and fell into a mysterious hole, landing in the Land of Faeron. From here he must climb upward while rescuing Fairy Spirits, and learning new spells, allowing him to pass through the 7 worlds to free his family and defeat the prime minister.
Players control Dorin the Dragon Prince, with whom they jump through multi-level stages of action in a direct overhead view. The game contains adventure elements like exploring the levels, interacting with helpful creatures and battling foes and guardians to find the four spirits who can help Dorin on his quest.
The big thrill of the game is the jumping, Dorin leaps amazingly high to reach platforms and new areas, or drop down to hidden areas of stages that appear through holes or at the end of paths. You have to look everywhere, collecting stars and other items, finding keys, traveling through warp gates and avoiding all of the perils that each level has to offer, before heading to the end of the level. Dorin won't get hurt if he falls to the ground unless there isn't any to land on. You can't lose sight of your dragon if he trots beneath a platform: A user-friendly feature turns all of the upper floors transparent whenever Dorin walks beneath them, so you always have a view of the action. As you jump higher and higher, the floors far below gradually fade from view. Through the game, Dorin is attended by a small fairy.
The game has 7 airy worlds crammed with staggered floors, tiny terraces and minuscule platforms. The leaps become more difficult as Dorin climbs up out of the Great Tunnel, crosses the plains of Earth and enters the Tower of Infinity. At the end of each world a guardian awaits him. Each world also has a hidden warp tile that teleports you to a magic shop. Here you can spend your hard-earned Star Coins on new spells or pay to play for the chance to win more money in a bonus room game. With battery-backed memory, a special feature called "Element of Discovery" allows Dorin to wander through each level in search of a star to take him to the next level. Adventure elements include defeating new enemies and obstacles to solve problems.
Dorin must find keys, travel through warp gates and avoid all of the perils that each level has to offer.
- "Preview: Dragon Hopper" (JPEG). Nintendo Power. No. 86. July 1996. pp. 26–27. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Nintendo Power, volume 86, pages 26 and 27 preview of "Dragon Hopper".