Silent Dragon (Arcade) (1992)
Developer: East Technology
Review by Faididi and Co.
More like Steroid Dragon
The evil Dr. Bio wants to control a city with his army of mutants, and he also kidnaps some chick for some reason. Now, it's up to four guys to save the day. There's Joe, the generic fighter; Lee, the kung fu dude; Kato, the wrestler ninja; and Sonny, the army commando. Seriously, someone needs to make a movie on this.
Gameplay: Above Average
East Technology's Silent Dragon is an action fighter that unashamedly pokes fun at its own ilk, bursting with all the camp and color associated with the genre. The heroes smash and bash their way through 5 stages, using weapons that include swords, dynamite, and even a car battery to do more damage. To drive home their macho manliness, they regain stamina by eating pizzas and drinking beer they find off the floor.
The level and enemy designs are a lot of fun, and they don't take the easy road by repeating the same material over and over again. That the stages vary from pleasant-looking waterfronts and upscale city streets to evil caverns and high-tech strongholds may not be special in themselves, but they feature an unusual array of interactive elements, including bottomless pits, an animal that may both hurt and help the heroes, a conveniently placed wall of fire, and even a humorous deathtrap that can be closed to keep everyone safe or opened to suck people out for an instant death. As for the bad guys, the common punks are paired up with menacing bosses, many of whom bluntly rip off the villains of Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star).
Perhaps Silent Dragon's best feature, however, is its 4-Player support, providing the cabinet (or linked pair of cabinets) allows it. With so many bodies flying back and forth across the screen, without any serious slowdown, things quickly grow hectic. More significantly, the heroes can gang up against the same enemy at once to deal tremendous amounts of damage, and this makes Silent Dragon bring out the spirit of team beatdowns like no other action fighter.
The controls are reponsive. Being able to perform the special attacks while moving, even while jumping, is pretty nice.
Graphics: Above Average
Can you say, upper body strength? Good guys and bad guys alike are all drawn super-buff, while the heroes' insanely rapid knee-in-the-face attacks further hammer in the game's comedic themes. However, none of that prevents Silent Dragon from showing off some of the most richly-decorated backgrounds ever, such as the changing times of day, the unique storefronts along a single street, and even the soft glowing lights in the windows of distant skyscrapers. This game also deserves mention for simulating depth by changing the characters' apparent sizes as they move nearer and away from the screen's point of view.
Audio: Above Average
The sounds of the heroes' fists and boots cracking into the bad guys' faces are plain awesome. As the characters pull off their cool moves, they yell out with plenty of kung fu gusto, although Kato's and Sonny's voices are oddly identical. Quiet certainly doesn't describe the music, which not only contains a surprising amount of samples but manages to be catchy and moving, too.
Overall: Above Average
For an action fighter like Silent Dragon, its true worth lies in the little details. While its 4-Player support already promises a rambunctious experience, its unabashedly campy characters, extra-interactive level design, vibrantly animated graphics, and rocking audio effects all come together to ensure a crazy sort of fun for every fan of the genre.