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Dragon Buster (ドラゴンバスター) is an arcade game that was released by Namco in 1984. It runs on Namco Pac-Land hardware, modified to support vertical scrolling. The game was ported to the Famicom in Japan, which was later released for the Virtual Console in the same region on November 18, 2008. Dragon Buster has been ported for the PSP and is available as part of Namco Museum Battle Collection. It was followed by a Japan-only Famicom sequel, Dragon Buster II: Yami no Fuuin, and was later followed by the PlayStation game Dragon Valor. It was one of the first arcade games to feature a life meter (called "Vitality" in-game).
In the beginning, a prince name Clovis was born the son of the kingdom's chief bodyguard to the royal Lawrence family. As a young child, Clovis was very mischievous and undisciplined, so his father thought it might be best to place him under the care of a monk who lived in the woods far from the kingdom. Under the monk's care, Clovis began to learn various aspects of knowledge, including how to be a superior swordsman. When word reached the monk that King Lawrence's 16 year old daughter Celia had been abducted and held by a fearsome dragon, who wished to break the kingdom's spirit and coerce the kingdom to do his bidding, Clovis felt a sense of duty to chase after the dragon and rescue Celia in the name of his father. In order to save his sister, he trained daily with the monk and learned to withstand injury, whether cut by swords or burned by flame, and still be just as capable a fighter as ever.
The player must guide the hero Clovis through each round on to the castle to rescue his beloved Princess Celia. There are multiple Princess Celias in the game, one in every few castles. The goal is to reach the true Celia at the end of the game at the final castle. Celia wears a different outfit each time she is rescued. As you progress throughout the round you must choose various paths to take on to the castle. There are many paths to choose from and the number of these increase as you get to the higher rounds. The paths take you to the individual levels of the round. There are multiple bosses on each level and many less powerful enemies scattered throughout the level. You must find the boss that contains the exit on each level to proceed through the round to finally reach the castle. Clovis's vitality restores itself by 25% after each level is completed. Until like most arcade video games where the player has a set number of lives, the game will be over when Clovis' vitality reaches zero.
There are 5 different types of levels: The Cave, The Tower, The Boneyard, The Mountain and The Ruins. Each of these levels boasts more of a type of monster than the others, for example The Boneyard boasts lots of the boss Skeleton. The Cave is a mostly linear level, with mostly only descends and horizontal movement. It boasts lots of bats and snakes. The Tower is notable for having many floors, you must do a lot of climbing in this level. The Boneyard is probably the hardest level for having many enemies and lots of forks and ways to go, you will most likely end up defeating every boss in the level before you find the boss that contains the exit. The Mountain has the player dropping down most of the time as you start at the top of the mountain you must work your way down. The Ruins is a standard level with a little bit of everything the other levels contain. And finally there's the Castle at the end of each round. Every Castle is the same, it starts with a very long drop that takes you to the Dragon's room and from there you must fight the Dragon.
There are 4 different types of bosses. Skeleton, Bishop, Wizard and Fafnil which resembles a Brontosaurus. Skeleton Wields a sword and has one basic attack throughout the game. Fafnil only breathes fire but every round you progress through will extend the duration of its fire making it very dangerous to get caught in a corner with. Wizard uses magic to fight you from a long distance and has multiple flying swords to attack you head on and make sure you keep your distance. Bishop uses a halberd to stab you making it difficult to attack from the air or from close range. Bishop also shoots magic balls like Wizard.
The Dragon is the main boss and resides in the castle at the end of each round. Each dragon has a weak point that you must uncover to be able to defeat it quickly. The Dragon breathes flames much like Fafnil but with a bigger area of effect, the Dragon also swings its tail around causing lots of damage.
The Purple Dragon is a special dragon that appears rarely after you defeat the Dragon of a castle. The Purple Dragon steals the princess before Clovis can rescue her. Then you must reach the next castle in the next round to slay the Purple Dragon and rescue the princess you should have rescued in the previous castle.
Besides the main bosses there are multiple enemies scattered throughout each level. These include Golem, Bat, Snake, Will o' the wisp (actually spelled Will-O-The-Wisp in the game), Inosai, Testoll, Coleo Crawler, Crawler, Leapen, Eyeful, Stingray, Slime and Cave shark. Some monsters have variations. Examples include Snake and Bat. Some monsters merely have a pallet swap, while others are a new entity entirely. With the increase in the number of defeated dungeons, the speed and toughness of the enemies greatly increases making the game much more difficult with each cleared round.
There is a special monster called Cave Shark. This monster leeches on to you and drains your life and is extremely troublesome to kill. Your best bet is to exit the level immediately. It appears when a player is standing idle for a long period of time, or most notably when the player finds the exit and chooses not to leave at that moment.
There are very few items in Dragon Buster. Every item is dropped by a boss. The most common of these is the Fireball. Using it will shoot a fireball straight through the screen damaging minimally every enemy it touches besides those immune to it. A rare item is the Fireball Special which shoots 3 fireballs which start revolving around the player and continuing outwards until they leave the screen. This is most notable for heavily damaging large enemies such as the Dragon. The Fireball and the Fireball Special get stocked in the players possession to use by pressing the magic button. A maximum of 20 can be stocked with new fireballs overriding the oldest ones. A very rare item is the vitality extender which will extend your maximum vitality by 16 points. The Potion is a blue bottle and will restore some lost vitality, you cannot store the potion for later use, it is automatically used when you obtain it. The Poison resembles the potion but is red in color, obtaining this will drain some of your vitality.
Aside from the most common items there are a set of special items.
They are, Shield, Super Sword, Scepter and Crown. The Super Sword will power up your sword making you stronger. The Shield will block projectiles and some enemy attacks and is most notable for blocking Wizard's flying swords and magic.
The hero Clovis has a minimal arsenal of moves. The most simple is the basic sword swing which is performed by pressing the attack button on the ground or in the air. Clovis can also use magic he acquires from bosses, the Fireball and the Fireball Special by pressing the magic button. Clovis can also jump by moving up on the joystick. Moving up at the peak of Clovis's jump will result in a double jump. Dragon Buster was the first game to feature the double jump. It has since become an iconic video game mechanic.
The Downward Stab is performed by double jumping and holding down while you press the attack button as you descend from the jump. This attack is most notable for being able to defeat the boss Bishop in one hit.
The Thrusting attack is performed the same way the Downward stab is performed, the only difference is it must be executed on the first jump as opposed to the double jump. Both the Thrusting attack and the Downward Stab can do over twice as much damage as a basic attack.
When the game was ported to the PC-8801 computer by Enix, the game featured an introduction to the game and a whole new ending featuring cinema screens showing a battle-torn Clovis and a teary-eyed Celia. A harder sequel called Dragon Buster 100 was created for a Japanese TV Plug-in-play game along the original. It had horizontal levels with 4 enemies and a dragon (the last one) on each one. Once all 100 enemies are beaten, the game repeats back to level one.
Dragon Buster was also included as a hidden minigame in Tales of the Abyss.
techno music has been made of Dragon Buster, by Arika, as well as many other Namco games