The King Of Dragons
A game that’s great for your elf
Who needs Dungeons & Dragons when you’ve got this classy Capcom alternative?
» Arcade » 1991 » capcom One of the great things about growing up in Poole was that there was no shortage of arcades to visit. When I wasn’t having to visit family or do homework, I would try and spend every waking hour of the weekend at Poole Quay Amusements and was just as happy to watch people enjoying the latest games as I was playing them myself. It’s largely home to fruit machines today, but in the Eighties and Nineties it was a paradise for new games and I would try and experience as many of them as possible.
It was here that I first played The King Of Dragons, and it made quite a huge impression on me at the time. I have always enjoyed Dungeons & Dragons, and Capcom’s game felt like an unofficial take on the franchise, which featured all my favourite monsters, including minotaurs, orcs and gigantic dragons. Hell, even the available characters are effectively standard character classes from the popular role-playing game. After depositing your credit you could choose between an elf, dwarf, fighter, mage and cleric, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and choice of weapons.
Capcom’s scrolling beat-’em-up may have been generic in its approach and style but its reliance on copying well-known mythical monsters was pleasingly familiar to me. It also helped that it’s a resoundingly solid fighter with challenging bosses, decent combat mechanics and a neat magic system activated by pressing both fire buttons together. The available characters all play differently to one another and the ability to play with two other players at the same time ensured you could create a nicely balanced party to take on all the fantasy critters that Capcom insisted on throwing at you.
Perhaps more importantly (at least from my point of view) Capcom’s game set the groundwork for its superior D&D games, which took the levelling up system of The King Of Dragons and ran with it, delivering arguably two of the best examples of the genre in the process. That later success is arguably owed in part to The King Of Dragons, and its inclusion on Capcom’s recent Beat ’Em Up Collection highlights just how entertaining it still remains to play today.