Panzer Dragoon II Zwei

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Panzer Dragoon II Zwei
Panzer Dragoon Zwei II Boxart.jpg
Developer(s)Team Andromeda
Publisher(s)Sega
Director(s)Tomohiro Rondo
Producer(s)Tomohiro Kondo
Designer(s)Kentaro Yoshida
Yukio Futatsugi
Manabu Kusunoki
Programmer(s)Junichi Suto
Artist(s)Kentaro Yoshida
Writer(s)Yukio Futatsugi
Katsuhiko Yamada
Composer(s)Yayoi Wachi
SeriesPanzer Dragoon
Platform(s)Sega Saturn
Release
  • JP: March 22, 1996
  • NA: 1996
  • PAL: May 10, 1996
Genre(s)Rail shooter
Mode(s)Single-player

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei[a] is a 1996 rail shooter video game for the Sega Saturn, published by Sega and developed by Sega's Team Andromeda studio. It is the second entry in the Panzer Dragoon series, and a prequel to the first game. The game follows Jean-Luc Lundi, who raises and later rides a dragon he names Lagi. The player moves an aiming reticle (representing the dragon's laser and Lundi's gun) and shoots enemies while the dragon flies or runs through 3D environments on predetermined tracks.

Zwei began development in early 1995 alongside Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998), with a staff of twenty people and little assistance from Sega. In response to player criticism, the team lowered the overall difficulty and expanded the story elements. The music, composed by Yayoi Wachi, would go on to influence the musical direction of later entries.

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei released to positive reviews from journalists, with many praising it as superior to the original Panzer Dragoon in its gameplay, graphics and narrative. A remake for unspecified platforms is currently in development, handled by Forever Entertainment under license from Sega.

Plot[edit]

Gameplay[edit]

As with other Panzer Dragoon games (apart from Panzer Dragoon Saga), Zwei is a rail shooter.[1] As in the first game, enemies can be defeated with either the rider's gun or the dragon's lasers. There is also the berserk attack, which is a rain of lasers from the dragon which automatically attack all enemies on screen for several seconds, during which the dragon is invincible. To use the berserk attack, the player draws on the accumulated energy in the power meter, which is filled by killing enemies.[2] A radar in the corner of the screen displays the location of nearby enemies.[3][4][5] Zwei is considerably more in depth than Panzer Dragoon, with alternate routes to be taken and a dragon that evolves based on the player's performance.[6]

Development[edit]

In 1995, following the release of Panzer Dragoon, developer Team Andromeda split into two teams; one team worked on a new role-playing game later titled Panzer Dragoon Saga, while the other developed Zwei as a standard rail shooter sequel.[7][8] The two projects were meant to share team members, but due to the work overload this created, Saga was put on hold until Zwei was completed.[8] In response to player criticisms, Team Andromeda worked on making the game less difficult and more story-intensive than the first Panzer Dragoon.[9] Series creator Yukio Futatsugi originally oversaw both projects, but as his attention shifted onto Saga, Zwei became the responsibility of Katsuhiko Yamada. Due to their next planned game being an RPG, the team decided to reference RPG mechanics in Zwei with the branching paths and dragon evolution. Rather than a direct sequel to Panzer Dragoon, Futatsugi designed Zwei as a prequel, creating a thread which would run from Zwei through Panzer Dragoon and into Saga through the connection between rider and dragon.[10] According to designer Kentaro Yoshida, the team went through multiple dragon designs, with the final designs being finalized by original designer Manabu Kusunoki. The dragons were inspired by different creatures and machines from classic science fiction. The programmers kept segmented wooden fish on their desks so they could reproduce lifelike movements for creatures in the game.[5]

The team received no help from Sega's technical division on Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, and did not use any Sega-developed tools such as the Sega Graphics Library operating system; instead, Team Andromeda's programmers created all the development tools used to create the game.[9] The team also refined the design elements created for the first game, pushing for a higher and more stable frame rate.[5] A notable element was the water effects, which created created using a combination of parallax scrolling and layers, allowing a look impossible on the 3D-focused PlayStation without exceeding the hardware limits of the Saturn. The Pandora's Box mode was created by a single programmer and it was included later in development after getting the team's approval.[10] Music composition was led by Yayoi Wachi. Additional tracks were composed by Tomonori Sawada, Junko Shiratsu and Teruhiko Nakagawa.[11] In contrast to the purely orchestral and electronic score of the first game, Zwei added ethnic elements.[7] Panzer Dragoon Saga composer Saori Kobayashi attributed Wachi's shift away from the first game's musical style with shaping her future compositions for the series.[12]

Panzer Dragoon Zwei was released in March 1996 in Japan.[13] Releases in North America and Europe followed the same year.[4][14] It was shown off at the 1996 Electronic Entertainment Expo.[15] While Panzer Dragoon was ported to later platforms and PC, Zwei remained exclusive to the Saturn for many years.[16] A PC version was originally planned for release on GameTap, but this never materialised.[4][17] A remake of Zwei was announced in 2018 alongside a remake of the original Panzer Dragoon. Sega outsourced publishing rights to Forever Entertainment, who wished to preserve the atmosphere while updating the graphics and gameplay for a modern audience.[16]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings87.50%[18]
Review scores
PublicationScore
EGM8.25/10[19]
Maximum5/5 stars[20]
Next Generation4/5 stars[21]
Sega Saturn Magazine95%[22]

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei received generally positive reviews. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly applauded the game for its multiple routes, differing dragon transformations, and "some of the best graphics ever seen on Sega's 32-bit powerhouse". However, they criticized that the game's low difficulty leaves it with little longevity.[19] In GamePro, Scary Larry asserted that Panzer Dragoon II Zwei "blows away anything resembling a shooter on the PlayStation thus far, in both graphics and imagination." He criticized that the game is much too easy, though he noted that the ability to choose from multiple paths increases the replay value in addition to making the gameplay more interesting. He also complimented the way the music reflects what is going on in the game.[23] A reviewer for Next Generation said that while the gameplay makes only minimal innovations to the restrictive on-rails format, the game keeps the player hooked though its gorgeous visuals and absorbing story. He summarized, "In a surprising victory for art and plot direction, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei proves that visual sophistication and compelling storylines can sometimes overcome less than revolutionary gameplay."[21]

Rob Allsetter of Sega Saturn Magazine praised the impressive attention to detail in the graphics and the multiple routes. He concluded that it "belongs up there with VF2 and Sega Rally as the standard-bearer for its genre."[22] Maximum's Daniel Jevons concurred with Scary Larry that the game "positively laughs in the face of any competing PlayStation 3D shooters." He pointed out that the much-maligned on-rails format is necessary to create the experience the game offers, noting as an example that it allowed the developers to synchronize the soundtrack with what is going on. He also praised the animation, 3D graphics, high frame rate, absence of pixelation even on the heavily detailed bosses, precise controls, lock-on attacks, and the ability to adjust the game's difficulty by choosing different routes.[20]

Panzer Dragon Zwei was a runner-up for Electronic Gaming Monthly's Shooter Game of the Year (behind Alien Trilogy) and Best Graphics of the Year (behind Super Mario 64).[24]

Entertainment Weekly gave the game an A.[25]

IGN staff writer Levi Buchanan ranked Panzer Dragoon II Zwei fifth in his list of the top 10 Sega Saturn games, saying "The original Panzer Dragoon that flanked the Saturn at launch was nothing short of revelation. But this sequel improves on almost everything, offering better graphics, smoother animations, changing dragon forms, and branching routes."[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Return of Panzer Dragoon!". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (3): 114. January 1996.
  2. ^ "Panzer Dragoon Zwei: Sprechen Sie Harden Coren?". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (5): 102–114. April 1996.
  3. ^ "Panzer Dragoon 2". Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. p. 73.
  4. ^ a b c Kalata, Kurt (April 2008). "The History of Panzer Dragoon". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. p. 4. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Torres, Ricardo (July 1, 2005). "GameSpot Presents: The History of Panzer Dragoon". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on September 20, 2004. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Guise, Tom (February 1996). "Double Dragoon". Sega Saturn Magazine. Emap International Limited (4): 30–37.
  7. ^ a b 『AZEL』アレンジアルバムは生で一発録りの曲も! 『Resurrection: AZEL-パンツァードラグーンRPG- 20th Anniversary Arrangement』インタビュー. Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain. March 9, 2018. Archived from the original on March 9, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG Official Strategy Guide. Japan: SoftBank. 1998. ISBN 978-4797305579.
  9. ^ a b "Panzer Dragoon: The Maximum Inquisition!". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (6): 42–44. May 1996.
  10. ^ a b Mielke, James (September 11, 2009). "Panzer Dragoon Zwei: Interview with Yukio Futatsugi". 1UP.com. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  11. ^ Sega. "Panzer Dragoon II Zwei Original Soundtrack booklet." (in Japanese) PolyGram. April 25, 1996. POCX-1026. Retrieved on .
  12. ^ Greening, Chris (September 7, 2015). "Saori Kobayashi Interview: Cultivating an Ethtronic Sound". Video Game Music Online. Video Game Music Online. Archived from the original on September 28, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  13. ^ セガサターン専用CD-ROM(セガ発売). Sega (in Japanese). Sega. Archived from the original on August 8, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  14. ^ "Checkpoint". Computer and Video Games. EMAP (174): 66. June 1996.
  15. ^ Buchanan, Levi (May 19, 2009). "Remembering E3 1996". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  16. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (December 10, 2018). "Panzer Dragoon remakes in development". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  17. ^ Klepek, Patrick (13 April 2007). "Panzer Dragoon and Sequel Coming to GameTap". 1UP.com. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  18. ^ "Panzer Dragoon II Zwei". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Panzer Dragoon II Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 82. Sendai Publishing. May 1996. p. 32.
  20. ^ a b Jevons, Daniel (May 1996). "Maximum Reviews: Panzer Dragoon Zwei". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. No. 6. Emap International Limited. pp. 124–5.
  21. ^ a b "Off the Scale". Next Generation. No. 19. Imagine Media. July 1996. p. 81.
  22. ^ a b Allsetter, Rob (May 1996). "Review: Panzer Dragoon 2". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 7. Emap International Limited. pp. 70–71.
  23. ^ "ProReview: Panzer Dragoon Zwei II". GamePro. No. 93. IDG. June 1996. pp. 62–63.
  24. ^ "The Best of '96". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 92. Ziff Davis. March 1997. p. 90.
  25. ^ https://ew.com/article/1996/06/14/panzer-dragoon-zwei-ii/
  26. ^ Buchanan, Levi (2008-07-29). "Top 10 SEGA Saturn Games". IGN. Retrieved 2013-04-03.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pantsā Doragūn Tsuvuai (パンツァードラグーン ツヴァイ)

External links[edit]

Official website