Sunday, 1 March 2015

Game 51: Rise of the Dragon - Lost!

Written by Ilmari

Blade Hunter’ secret diary, part 1: I’ve (once again) screwed things up with Karyn. I think it’s best if I lay low for a few days in my apartment.

Just look at these pictures! Don’t you feel you are reading a good comic book?

I’ve not yet played the game much, but merely toyed with the interface a bit. What little I’ve seen of the plot seems promising. We already know that there's something fishy going on in the pleasure domes, where mayor's daughter was killed. The introduction shows a young woman purchasing some illegal substance, which instead of giving her good time disfigures her body - a similar story was told in the comic book that came with the game. We also see two sinister figures, straight out of a Sax Rohmer novel, discussing a mysterious plot, by which the city will be brought to its knees in three days, some prophecy will be fulfilled and everyone will learn to fear the name of Bahumat again - typical bad guy chitchat.

The main villain and a henchman, I presume?

After the intro, I am dropped into Blade Run… I mean, Hunter’s cozy little apartment, somewhere in LA. Occasionally some helicopters fly outside, but otherwise the neighbourhood seems peaceful.

A bigger person wouldn’t even fit here

Moving the mouse around I note that near Blade’s computer the pointer changes from an arrow into a magnifying glass. Clicking opens a close-up view of the computer. I instantly note a blinking light and a remote control. Clicking on the remote lets me cycle through three messages on my computer. First is from the mayor, who tells me new kids have been found dead in the same condition as his daughter, Chandra. After that he suggests that I visit Pleasure Dome and Chandra’s friend called Jake, who is the last known person to see her. He also says he will send a picture of his dead daughter to me.

Is that under the camera an old-fashioned rotary dial?

Second message is an ad from a hovercraft company, which doesn’t appear that helpful now. The final message is from Blade’s girlfriend Karyn. She is obviously pissed, because Blade forgot their date. Karyn also tells that she has Blade’s keys and that she will be at the Bureau of Records, if he wants them back.

Do I see a beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Playing with the computer for a while, I find the picture mayor promised and my ID that is apparently required for getting access to the computer. Getting an object is not as easy as clicking on it. Instead, I have to drag it to the picture of a person standing on the lower right corner of the screen.

Getting away from the computer, I start to investigate Blade’s apartment. Left-click operates objects, right-click gives a description of them - seems simple enough. After a little bit of investigation, I’ve found Blade’s clothes, his trench coat and a gun, which Blade keeps under his pillow. There’s also a small cabinet over a sink, but I don’t have the keys for opening it.

So convenient that kitchen, bedroom and home office are in the same room

I also check my inventory for the first time. The inventory is seen by left-clicking the picture on the corner. Right-clicking the picture opens also the inventory, but in addition a picture of Blade, who is currently wearing only some underwear. If I want to make him wear something else, I have to drag the clothes on him in this screen.

Boy have you been training!

I also notice that in some points of the screen, the pointer turns into an exit sign - there seems to be two different ways out of this room. One of them leads to a small shower/WC -combination. Here I find a medical kit and and an aerosol can.

Improvement on old pepper sprays

The other exit leads outside. I naturally tried taking a walk with nothing but underwear.

You call walking in underwear indecent?
Wait till you see my lawyer, Mr. McCormick - he is a dedicated naturist!

I also noticed some arrow buttons in the inventory screen. I first thought they’d just scroll the inventory back- and forward, but pressing them had an effect on time - they were buttons for waiting. Since the game provided me this opportunity, I decided to skip all the way through to the end and see what happens if I don’t do anything at all.

And soon the city was full of mutants and those, who preferred whisky over water.
The latter noticed no difference, since they were used to seeing weird creatures.

Well, I guess this means Blade must really get going and save the city. Perhaps next time I’ll get to venture outside also!

Session time: 0.5 hours
Total time: 0.5 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. Congrats on finishing so fast! Now get some clothes so you can do something else than procrastinating.

    Man, that bad ending would be quite creepy if that dragon_068.gif wasn't so goofy-looking. I also wish that the graphics hadn't gone through dither hell.

    1. So, is it something about the screenshots and not the original graphics? The only thing that's supposed to be done to what got out from DosBox was changing the aspect ratio (unless I clicked something wrong in the process). Well, you'll just have to endure these type of pics for the rest of the RoD show, I'll try to do better the next time I play some game...

    2. I didn't mean to imply it was your fault, it's the original graphics. They were obviously painted by hand then scanned and became artifacted in the process decades ago, in the hands of the creators of the game. Ever tried to save a 32-bit colour image in 256 colours?

      I remember reading somewhere that at LucasArts, Monkey Island 2 was the first game with scanned hand-painted graphics, and it was all dithery too. Then later they got cleaner results by doing their paintings in black&white and colourizing them in the computer afterwards.

    3. Ah, yes, I see what you mean - the images are a bit granular, especially the shadowing. I guess this will be a common error in the first few VGA games.

    4. Dithering: I imagine that this version of the game was distributed on floppy; two years later there was a CD-based release for the Sega CD, and I imagine that with extra storage space, it might have presented better-quality graphics. (Maybe not, though!)

  2. I stand corrected -- the Sega CD graphics, as judged by Mobygames screenshots, don't appear to be a measurable improvement. As far as DOS goes, you get undithered computer-coloured graphics in EGA mode, which on some level is an improvement from the VGA spotty colouration!

  3. Ah... it's good to know that my nephew will grow up to be a lawyer in the future.

    1. Yes, I can definitely see the family resemblance.

  4. And wow... that apartment looks... familiar.

    1. Yeah, but at least Rise of the Dragon cannot have been influences by Fifth Element - and I somehow doubt that Luc Besson knew the game.

      When I saw the apartment, I instantly thought of this:

      ...but I somehow doubt that the producers of the game have read obscure French comics.

    2. Luc Besson is a French director though... so....hmm...

    3. The apartment in "The Blues Brothers" is not much more spacious...

    4. I have got to see The Fifth Element, I keep hearing sweet things about it.

  5. Oh man, I know I'm late but I'm looking forward to this. Dark story, nice art style, yesssss.