Dragon's Fury
Sega Megadrive
A conversion of the highly acclaimed PC Engine title Devil's Crush, Dragon's Fury is a pinball game with a difference. Featuring scenery that wouldn't look amiss in a horror flick and tables teeming with demonic footsoldiers, druids and dragons, sometimes the ball and flippers are the only things bearing any resemblance to a pinball table.

The majority of the action takes place on a vertically-scrolling table dominated in the centre by a huge angelic head which, after a few hits with the ball, turns into a demon. Instead of the usual pinball components such as bumpers and spinners, on this strange table you'll find yourself bouncing the ball off of dragon's eggs, around castle towers and in and out of the mouths of dragons and evil looking skeletons. As you would expect from a pinball game, there are all sorts of crafty little tricks you can pull off to increase your score and up your bonus multipliers and some of these tricks will help you reach the 6 bonus stages which must be completed to finish the game and defeat the devil himself.

You eyeballing me?

The trick here is to aim the ball for the chute top-right - if successful, a barrier forms between the flippers

Bonus Stages:

Bonus Stage 1
Five fire-breathing dragon heads must be destroyed to complete this bonus stage. Dragon eggs surrounding the heads deflect the ball making matters more difficult.
Bonus Stage 2
Rather bizarrely, three evil-looking jugs take centre stage in this round. Destroying the jugs is made difficult by the group of bats flying about getting in the way.
Bonus Stage 3
Two druids surrounded by protective orbs are your target in this stage. But wait there's more - do away with the two druids and a huge lightning-shielded dragon makes an appearance chucking projectiles and generally making a nuisance of itself. Destroy the scaly beast to clear this round.
Bonus Stage 4
Three unintentionally comical looking skulls throw missiles about. Decimate the boneheads while laughing raucously.
Bonus Stage 5
Mysterious cloaked men appear from two doorways and scurry about. The floor is embedded with black circles which light up when the cloaked men are hit with the ball while standing over them. Once all the circles are lit up, a central doorway must be demolished.
Bonus Stage 6
Yikes! A horrible looking demon spews from it's mouth a long 'worm' made out of lost souls which must be hit many times before it is destroyed. Once the worm has been disposed of, the demon's head becomes your target and throws out fireballs to protect itself. Destroy the head to finish bonus stage six.

Pinball videogames are so difficult to get right and there are so few that do. First of all, the ball movement must be spot-on, and, despite only having flippers to manipulate, the player must feel in total control of the game - otherwise losing the ball becomes a case of bad luck rather than lack of skill and the game starts to feel too random. Finally, why restrict the game by including features that could only possibly show up on a real table? The one advantage video pinball has over the real thing is that it is not limited by the physical world and almost anything can show up on a video pinball table - the only limit being the designer's imagination. So, Dragon's Fury - does it meet these tough criteria? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Oh, and yes. Fluid, faultless ball movement, eye-popping graphics and almost perfect gameplay - need I say more? The tables are exceptionally well-designed and seldom are balls lost due to reasons beyond the player's control. The six bonus stages are also brilliantly designed and give something to aim for besides a huge score. A brilliant slice of surreal pinball action and en exceptional game in it's own right. A must-have for Megadrivers.

Graphics: 91%

Sound: 80%

Gameplay: 95%

Overall: 94%
Stunning gothic environments and superbly constructed creatures contribute to the game's dark horror-flick style. The devil on stage six and the central demon head are particularly stunning. Perhaps a more eerie soundtrack would have suited better, but the upbeat music fits in with the game's frenetic pace and the sound effects are nice and varied. Do pinball games come much better than this? Superbly playable and extremely addictive. Exceptionally playable, great-looking and highly addictive. Enough said.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S
Psycho Pinball

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Revenge of the Gator (Gameboy) • Kirby Pinball (Gameboy) • Devil's Crush (PC Engine) • Battle Pinball (SNES)

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