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Drake of the 99 Dragons

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Drake of the 99 Dragons
Drakeofthe99 cover.jpg
"99 Dragons, made out of 99% bullshit!"
The Angry Video Game Nerd
Genre(s): Third-person shooter
Platform(s): Xbox
Microsoft Windows
Release: Xbox
NA: November 3, 2003
Microsoft Windows
RU: March 17, 2004[1]
NA: June 14, 2004
WW: March 7, 2018 (Steam)
Developer(s): Idol FX
Publisher(s): WW: Majesco Sales
RU: Noviy Disk
Country: Sweden


"This game is what you get if somebody ate every badass dual-pistol wielding, trench coat-wearing late 90's action movie cliché, then barfed it out, ate the barf, and then dumped their ass into a piss-and-shit-stained bus station toilet, and then they took that rancid concoction, and somehow printed Xbox discs made out of it!"
The Angry Video Game Nerd
"The tragic thing about Drake of the 99 Dragons is that you can see how the game might have turned out good. Unlike a lot of other games I've covered, it did have potential: the combat has a good variety of enemies, you have a good variety of techniques and weapons, and there is a good variety to the stages; switching it up between combat, big fixed shootouts and platfomring. But the game was just too damn rushed and the dev team didn't have time to get the game working properly. The combat is terribly-balanced, swamping the player with overpowered enemies and few means of surviving; both versions' combat systems are so broken, you can barely even damage enemies; almost every unique mechanic the game has is so poorly-implemented that it's useless; and the final nail in the coffin is how severely underwritten the story is with bland characters you don't know a thing about, doing clichéd things to fight over plot-points you also don't know a thing about; and Drake himself is a terrible protagonist — a dumb block of muscle with brooding gruffness and '90s clichés in place of actual personality or a character arc. This game is a perfect example of how rushing a product to market can completely tank a good idea. This could have something special. Instead, it fully earns its ranking among the "worst games ever made"."
Darklordjadow1
"Many people ask, is Drake of the 99 Dragons based on an existing comic book? No, it's not. But if it were, that comic would suck."
Adam Sessler

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. It is considered by many reviewers as one of the worst games of all time.

The PlayStation 2 version of the game was planned but cancelled for unknown reasons.

Plot

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.

Gameplay

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 99 Times

  1. Executive Meddling: Much of the reason for many of the game's problems was that the developers were given only eighteen months to launch the beginning of what was supposed to be a multimedia franchise while already being stretched thin with many other games, two of which were released around the same time.
  2. Awful graphics and animation that are similar to late PS1 or N64 game. 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 ugly and terrible. 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 character models aren't much better, Drake in particular looks like he has no teeth and regularly has a weird, slack-jawed expression on his face.
    • Speaking of which, Majesco Sales's logo is immediately blurred out as if they didn't want to have this game be in their resume or as if they didn't want to be remembered for working on this game.
  3. The camera moves too fast; it's difficult to make it stay where you want it to.
  4. Aiming is horrible due to 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 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 thumbstick, 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 aren't animated correctly leading them to flail everywhere when he's moving.
  5. The voice acting is laughably awful due to how exaggerated and cartoony the voices are and almost all of the performances sounding so phoned in.
  6. The pre-rendered cutscenes are poorly made with lots of stiff animations and some characters don't even have mouths.
  7. The story is terrible as you're just thrown into a conflict between a clan and its rival without a clear explanation as why everything is happening and who anyone is. 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 main character's backstory is also heavily rushed with it just showing how he got his tattoo and nothing else.
  8. The physics are very poor, more specifically the jumping and wall-running. Jumping doesn't have any weight and feels really floaty; controlling Drake while in the air is also really stiff. The wall-running is even worse since you have to double-jump into a wall to get it to work, but it can take multiple tries just to get to work. The worse part is that some levels require wall-running to progress.
  9. Artificial Difficulty:
    • There are no checkpoints nor is there a quicksave feature, meaning when you die, you restart at the beginning of the level.
    • Every level has a timer which is pointless since the player is never in a situation where something major happens like a timed explosion. When you run out of time, the level restarts.
  10. 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.
  11. The falling damage is extremely inconsistent; frequently you'll die falling from shorter distances than you'll survive. Even worse when taking a long drop is the only option forward.
  12. Some levels really poorly designed.
    • The third level has you shoot and track down a courier by following his blood trail, however, at one point, it suddenly splits into two blood trails, forcing the player to take a 50-50 chance on which way is right.
  13. Poor AI. Most of the enemies are incredibly basic with most rushing towards the player. They're also so dumb that it's very easy to take advantage of them since you can kill them from afar since some won't attack if you don't enter a room.
  14. The soundtrack is average and not catchy.
  15. Numerous glitches.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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 constantly waste their time creating a Drake avatar rather than bringing his original body or create hundreds of Drake avatars to make the job easier.
    • How was Drake in his spirit form ability to get his master's physical form to the spirit realm?
    • How is Drake's Mater's body fully intact after defeating the cyborg version of him when he was just a head one scene ago?
    • Drake and his master got killed at the beginning of the game with another Drake seeing this; who is this Drake supposed to be and how did he not realize he was killed?
    • 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 gives the soul portal artifact to the courier rather than taking it straight to Tang. This said Ghost Assassin has the ability to fly, by the way.
  19. All the characters are one-dimensional as they're given no characterization, no development, interactions, or any chemistries. In fact, there are only a few characters in the game and the one character we do spend time with, Drake, is poorly written and a total idiot. In the opening cutscene, he is in a dojo playing with two unloaded pistols, as ProJared said "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.
  20. The production values are so low that not only does a female boss use the same death sound like the male enemies but the sound for when doors open was stolen from AOL Instant Messenger sign-off.
  21. Cliché Storm: The game heavily relies 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 from 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. The continue feature does not work until much later (the underworld platforming stages) in the game.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. 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.
  2. Decent side comic book.

Reception

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
👆
This game/console belongs to the "Severe Zone" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

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.[2] It is also ranked as the second to worst game on the Xbox on GameRankings, with a ranking of 20.48%.[3]

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).[4]

Trivia

  • The game was supposed to be the launchpad of a planned multimedia franchise including a series of comic books and an animated series , but the planned franchise was cancelled following the failure of the game.
  • Majesco gave Idol FX only 6 months to develop the game, and the short production gave a little room for the play testing of the game which explains the game's unfinished state.

Videos

References

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