Drake of the 99 Dragons
Drake of the 99 Dragons is a third-person shooter game developed by Idol FX and published by Majesco Sales for the Xbox in 2003, and Microsoft Windows in 2004.
The PlayStation 2 version and the European release of the Xbox version were planned but cancelled for unknown reasons.
Drake, an undead assassin, must avenge the death of his master and his clan by getting back the Soul Portal Artifact which was stolen by Tang who plans to use it to fuel a robot army with souls to conquer the world.
Drake wields two guns at all times. He obtains various abilities over the course of the game, such as double-jumping and slowing down time. He regains health by taking the souls of his fallen enemies. In the Xbox version Drake auto aims while in the Windows version, there is an aiming reticle.
Why It Sucks
- Very poor controls that cause fake difficulty.
- The ability to slow down time is too easy to activate by accident. Slowing down time is also useless since Drake is affected by it as well.
- Poor graphics and animation. The game was claimed to have cel-shaded graphics, though this can only really be seen on Drake. The rest of the graphics just look bland and dull. Even The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which was made eleven months before this game, had better-looking graphics that involved cel-shading.
- The camera moves too fast; it's difficult to make it stay where you want it to.
- Aiming is horrible due to the both the crosshair and the camera being controlled with the right thumbstick (the PC port of the game uses a standard keyboard + mouse setup as well as having a crosshairs in the center of the screen (although it is quite blurry), making it the definitive version of the game but still not good). Also, the auto-aim feature almost never works.
- The game does allow you to center the camera on enemies when the crosshair appears over them by clicking the right thumb stick, but this information can only be found in the instruction manual and it doesn't fix the aiming problems.
- On top of all that, wherever you aim is not where you'll shoot, you shoot in the direction of where Drake's arms are aiming, which makes it very hard to shoot enemies since his arms are flailing everywhere when he's moving.
- The voice acting sounds phoned in.
- Pre-rendered cutscenes in which the developers were too lazy/under the gun to even animate the character's faces when they talk (most of the time). Some people jokingly state that the characters have lockjaw because their mouths don't move when they talk.
- Floaty jumping.
- Every time you die, the game goes into a loading screen, and then you are forced to wait ten seconds to respawn while the spirit gods mock you. When the timer runs out, there is another loading screen. On top of that, in the final stage, the game ditches the ten-second respawn, letting the player respawn immediately instead... only for it to be brought back in the final boss battle.
- You can die from falling a great enough height, which is a problem when one of the early levels requires you to drop from a high rooftop down to street-level.
- That same level has you shoot and track down a courier by following his blood trail, however, at one point in the level, it suddenly splits into two blood trails, forcing the player to take a 50-50 chance on which way is right.
- Poor AI (for example, in the first level, one enemy jumps off a ledge for no reason and dies).
- Numerous glitches.
- Instead of reloading his weapons, Drake just drops them and takes new ones literally out of nowhere. Because of this, every weapon in the game has unlimited ammo. The only challenge the game provides is from how broken and unfinished the whole thing is. Also, how does Drake avoid getting caught by the authorities when he drops his guns that are covered with his fingerprints all over the place?
- For a game that's supposed to be about an assassin, there are no elements of stealth. In fact, Drake doesn't even fight like an assassin, he just bangs into a room full of enemies with guns blazing.
- Most abilities are worthless (see 2) and some are difficult to use. For instance, you obtain the ability to draw in or detonate souls, but in order to activate it you need to respectively hold down the white or black button while shooting the enemies (information which again, can only be found in the instruction manual). If you try using it after an enemy dies nothing happens.
- Some things in the game make no sense and its story is full of holes, such as:
- When Drake kills Tang's hologram.
- The spirit gods wasting their time creating a Drake avatar rather than bringing his original body or create hundreds of Drake avatars to make the job easier.
- Drake in his spirit form carries his master in a physical form.
- His master somehow having his whole body intact.
- Drake and his master got killed at the beginning of the game with another Drake seeing this; who is this Drake supposed to be?
- The purple-haired lady somehow kills Drake with a single dart when it takes more than that during the game to kill him.
- Drake charged headfirst into a room, he suddenly got turned around.
- Some souls of Drake's clan members end up hurting him.
- The Ghost Assassin giving the soul portal artifact to the courier rather than taking it straight to Tang.
- A truck appearing in a portal that Drake got dragged in.
- Drake is an unlikable character and an idiot: In the opening cutscene, he is in a dojo playing with two unloaded pistols, ProJared says "It's like a 10-year-old who got into his dad's gun cabinet.". Not only does he have internal monologues in almost every cutscene, but when he first gets his power of immortality, the first thing he does is throw himself out of a window and kill himself. He gets killed enough times throughout the game that the Spirit Gods finally give up and make him use his original, bullet hole-riddled body which ends up disappearing later. He is also a hypocrite, as when he discovers the villains' plans about harvesting souls, he decides to stop them; yet, he spends the rest of the game shooting people to harvest their souls. Every time he runs, he flails dual pistols in the sky like he's really excited for nothing, X-Play's Adam Sessler describes this as "Drake chaotically throwing his arms every which way like at sub-homicidal semaphore session."
- The production values are so low that not only does a female boss use the same death sound as the male enemies but the sound for when doors open was stolen from AOL Instant Messenger sign off.
- In fact, the story is nothing interesting or special and relies heavily on clichés and stereotypes. Drake can be mistaken for an undead Neo with a Bruce Wayne chin sporting a "cool" look with a "badass" long coat, but suffers being an idiot spewing bad dialogue ("you must be out of this world"). The Master is a typical old bare-chested man with a funny beard. Tang is a typical evil rich man wanting to take over the world and is in contact with a supreme lord. There are no interesting characters and only so few forgettable characters. The story is that Drake is the last of his clan and he must get back a stolen item which is a common theme found in many stories. Even Drake's backstory was rushed and uninteresting.
- In the final level, the player is required to do a large amount of platforming, which is made near impossible due to the bad controls and floaty jumping.
- The final boss is based almost entirely on luck due to the randomness of the fight. Also, this is considered the hardest fight because of the culmination of every single broken mechanic of this game into this stage itself, as said by Projared.
- False advertising: The box art features giant robots that never appear in the actual game, other than the robot that attacked Drake in the dojo at the beginning of the game which was human-sized.
- The continue feature does not work until much later (the underworld platforming stages) in the game.
- There is no interesting character developments, character interactions or any chemistries. In fact, there are only a few characters in the game and Drake would mostly threaten them, beat them up or kill them.
- This game is nothing but a Matrix-wannabe that also tries to ape Bruce Timm's iconic art style, as seen in Batman: The Animated Series and numerous entries in the DC Animated Universe.
- During a flashback with Drake and his master, they did not bother to create a living Drake character model and just uses his undead model which can cause confusion as the master had yet to kill him. The master himself puts a tattoo on his chest by clapping sticks rather than painting it like any other tattoo.
- The story never explains anything. Who are the 99 Dragons? What are their motives? Why does Tang want to take over the world? Why were they beating a dead white whale for its soul? The list goes on.
- The need for a timer is pointless.
- This game is a prime example of trying way too hard to be cool and deep.
- It has an interesting concept that could've had the potential to be good.
- The soundtrack is okay.
- The PC port (while still poor) fixes a lot of the bugs and glitches that the original Xbox version had and the controls are significantly improved.
- The cover art looks good.
- Decent side comic book.
Drake of the 99 Dragons was met with very negative reception, and is considered to be one of the worst games of the 2000s decade. The game holds an aggregate score of 22/100 on Metacritic, ranking it as the second-worst game for the original Xbox. It is also ranked as the second to worst game on the Xbox on GameRankings, with a ranking of 20.48%.
X-Play's Adam Sessler gave Drake of the 99 Dragons a 1 out of 5, claiming that "there's no reason to buy this game, no reason to rent this game, no reason to say any more about this game."
Internet reviewer ProJared gave the game a bucket of tears (1) out of 10 and explained that there was nothing redeeming about the game and you're better off beating yourself over the head with another game for six hours than buying this game.
Internet reviewer Joueur du Grenier reviewed this game along Beverly Hills Cop in an episode centered on bad games of the sixth generation, criticizing the stupid storyline, the bad controls and the game over sections that drag on. He mistakenly claims that the character design was done by Bruce Timm (note: the art imitates his style, but Timm had no involvement in this).
The game appeared as No. 10 on WatchMojo.com's "Top 10 Worst Video Games" list.
The game also appeared as No. 64 of Tat's top 100 shittiest games.
Despite the negative reception, it received mixed reception on Steam with a score of 63% (although a majority of the positive reviews are sarcastic).