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Flame Dragon 2: Legend of Golden Castle

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Flame Dragon 2: Legend of Golden Castle is a turn-based tactical role-playing computer game published by Dynasty International Information, a Taiwanese company. It was released in 1995 and is the second game in the series. The game is still playable in DosBox under newer Windows.

It is available only in Chinese, but gained some international popularity because of its attractive graphics (in DOS game standard) and excellent game mechanics. The first installment, Flame Dragon: Demon's Seal, is relatively unknown outside of Taiwan/China and the third installment, Flame Dragon Plus: Marks of Wind, never gained the same interest due to a significantly less smooth interface.

The game bears some similarity to games such as Final Fantasy Tactics. However, it is distinguished by its combat cut scenes, which are reminiscent of Japanese manga and evoke a comic strip feel. They have caused some people to mistakenly take it for a Japanese game, however it was developed in Taiwan.

It unfolds a moderately sophisticated plot, which can be followed by reading the translation guide by Bill Lee, which can be downloaded from GameFAQs.

Gameplay

The narrative unfolds as the player progresses through 30 maps (levels). Each depicts a small battle between your characters and various enemy forces. In your turn each character may fight, cast spells, use items or rest to recover health.

The player's team begins with 4 characters:

  • Thor, the protagonist
  • Alex, Thor's friend and childhood playmate.
  • Yoni, a mysterious girl with amnesia
  • Gaia, Yoni's robot bodyguard

The size of the team expands throughout the game with one or two characters joining in many levels. There are 31 characters in all. However, the maximum number that the player can recruit is 30 because Lordsman will not join if Minnie was recruited earlier. Only 16 characters can be used in any battle (20 in secret levels).

There are 6 distinct races in the game:

  • Human - good at sword / fighting skill
  • Orcs - treacherous beings
  • Elves - good at bow and arrow skill
  • Demons - good at magic
  • Dragonoids - very mobile
  • Robots - very resilient

Each race has its own characteristics. The first four are very typical in any The Lord of the Rings derivatives. The last two are a unique feature of the game.

Character development

Each character will belong to a particular character class. Upon reaching level 20, a character may upgrade their class (e.g. from swordsman to sword master). Acquiring certain objects may allow a character to upgrade into a superior or special class, which would not otherwise have been available. It is possible to reach up to level 40 before upgrading, and doing so will create a stronger character in the long run than upgrading immediately. Once upgraded, a character will revert to level one of their new class and can reach up to level 40 of this class.

There are two player controlled characters which cannot go through a class change, but can reach up to level 99. Both these characters, Gaia and Wood, are of the "robot" race.

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