Panzer Dragoon Saga, known as Azel: Panzer Dragoon: RPG (アゼル パンツァードラグーンRPG Azeru pantsu~ādoragūn RPG ) in Japan, is a role-playing video game and an entry in the Panzer Dragoon video game series. It was developed by Team Andromeda and released for Sega Saturn in 1998.
Released in the twilight of the Sega Saturn's lifespan, Saga deviated from its rail shooter predecessors Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei by offering an innovative battle system and more exploration of the Panzer Dragoon world. Development was rife with challenges and delays. Team Andromeda ultimately disbanded after Saga's completion, with some staff members joining Smilebit to develop the game's sequel, Panzer Dragoon Orta.
Saga was acclaimed by critics for its gameplay, graphics, soundtrack, and immersive narrative. It is the highest-rated Saturn game and has been regarded as one of the greatest games of all time. However, the game suffered from poor worldwide sales, and has never been released. Western copies of Saga are expensive, though the game can be played on emulators like Mednafen and Yabause.
Panzer Dragoon Saga is set roughly thirty years after the events of the first Panzer Dragoon game, and its story opens at one of the Empire’s excavation sites: the archaeological digs where the Imperials unearth the ruins and the technologies of the Ancient Age. The protagonist is a young mercenary named Edge, who was employed as a guard at this dig site, but when the site came under attack by a renegade Imperial commander named Craymen and his loyal followers, Edge was the only member of his team who survived.
Craymen’s goal was to capture a mysterious girl found within the ruins, who had been kept in a state of suspended animation for thousands of years by Ancient technologies. Presumed dead and left behind at the dig site, Edge wanted nothing more than to avenge his fallen comrades, and his prayers were answered when he was rescued by the dragon of legend; climbing atop the dragon’s back, Edge set out in search of Craymen, and the truth.
- Edge: A mercenary working at an excavation site. When a tragic event ensues, Edge meets a mysterious dragon that will lead him to his ultimate destiny.
- Azel: A mysterious girl, recovered from the excavation site. She is soon awakened from her everlasting sleep and will stop at nothing to fight for and protect the man that awakened her.
- K. F. Craymen: The leader of the Imperial Black Fleet. He was a former high ranking member of the Imperial Academy. An Imperial officer gone renegade. Craymen a defector of the Empire, now makes his own decisions and takes responsibility for his own actions. He will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets of the ancient technology and to take control of mankind's destiny.
- Paet: A man who lives in the Town of Zoah's Holy District and helps Edge multiple times. He has vast knowledge of ancient technology, being capable of building and repairing airships and other ancient devices.
- Gash: A friend of Edge and the leader of the Seekers.
If you try to play a different region version of the game using an Action Replay, a “PLEASE REMOVE THE CARTRIDGE” message will pop up on-screen and the game will not load. Fortunately though, you can avoid this problem if you input a specific Action Replay code. All versions of the game are also compatible with the Saturn Floppy Drive.
Panzer Dragoon Saga save files can be mixed and matched with different versions of the game. For example, you can use disc 1 of the PAL version, and carry on playing your save file using disc 2 of the NTSC version with no issues.
Although this version of Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG can be picked up much more easily than the NTSC and PAL versions (or at least, more cheaply), its in-game text is almost entirely in Japanese. This version might be suitable for someone who understands Japanese fluently, or if they are a collector.
The NTSC-J version comes with a fold-out sheet that summarises the game controls on one side, and berserk and item effects on the other.
The NTSC version of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Panzer Dragoon Saga had a low production run, with relatively few copies of the game being made in comparison to other Saturn titles. Because of this, it is now become a fairly rare game that fetches quite a high price on the secondary market.
This version of the game comes in a normal NTSC Saturn case, with the second, third and fourth discs in separate cardboard sleeves that sit inside. There are apparently two different varieties of these sleeves - some white, and some black - but it seems that both kinds were being used right from the game’s release, so they don’t signify earlier or later production runs.
As with the NTSC version, the PAL version of Panzer Dragoon Saga had quite a limited production run and has become similarly rare.
In this version of Panzer Dragoon Saga the four discs fit inside two normal-sized Saturn game cases, each of which has a large piece of Panzer Dragoon Saga artwork on its back, and these two cases slot into a separate cardboard box. (PAL gamers may have noticed that the Saturn version of Riven was packaged in the same way.)
The PAL version of Panzer Dragoon Saga is not actually PAL optimised, so when played on a PAL Saturn it runs slower than the NTSC versions of the game. This causes small graphical glitches to occur in some cut-scenes, too. However, this version of the game does run perfectly on an NTSC-J or NTSC Saturn (provided that you have a way to play imports, of course).
Team Andromeda member Kazuyuki Iwasawa passed away in a motorcycle accident shortly after the game was released.
- Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG official website (archive)
- Panzer Dragoon Saga on Panzer Dragoon World
- Panzer Dragoon Saga on Panzer Dragoon Legacy
- Panzer Dragoon Saga Oasis
|Original series||Panzer Dragoon (PC conversion • Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 27) • II Zwei • Saga • Orta|
|Remakes||Panzer Dragoon: Remake • II Zwei: Remake • Voyage Record|
|Handheld games||Mini • Tiger Electronics|
|Non-Panzer Dragoon games||Crimson Dragon • Crimson Dragon: Side Story|
|Developers||Team Andromeda • Smilebit • Land Ho • MegaPixel Studio • Wildman, Inc|
|Publishers||Sega • Forever Entertainment • TA Publishing • Wildman, Inc|
|Staff||Yukio Futatsugi • Tomohiro Kondo • Akihiko Mukaiyama • Haruto Watanabe|