So I went and got this bootleg cartridge called The Dragon. And here it is:
By all appearances, it is not The Dragon. It appears to be a bootleg Super Mortal Kombat 3 cartridge. In fact, there was a bootleg copy of Super Mortal Kombat 3 that was made with this exact same label and cartridge shell by a company called NT.
I do not know for sure why my copy of The Dragon is in a Mortal Kombat 3 cartridge shell. I suspect that at some point somebody opened up their The Dragon cartridge and their Mortal Kombat 3 cartridge and swapped the circuitboards.
But the game on this cartridge is The Dragon, whatever the label says. And it is completely different from Mortal Kombat.
I say “mostly” because the sprites for the bosses and the main character are taken from Mortal Kombat 1. (Or at least people say they are—I haven’t played any of the Mortal Kombat games.)
Well let’s turn it on and play.
Here is what you will get when you first power on the game:
Alright, so here’s a copyright. It was published by Rinco, which is short for Ramar International Co.
It was programmed by Tony Tech, which was a group of programmers who used to work at Sachen. Sachen is another bootleg game company, and I will probably write about some of their games at some point.
But I am not writing about Sachen, I am writing about The Dragon.
And the title screen for that aforementioned video game looks like this:
As you can see, it has a title in English and also in Arabic, which is uncommon in bootleg Famicom games. There are very few that have Arabic in them.
Also on the title screen is what is supposed to be Bruce Lee.
Bootleg game makers have a problem when it comes to being consistent on names, and The Dragon is no exception. The English title is “The Dragon”, and the (translated) Arabic title is “Bruce Lee”, and some cartridge labels say “Lee Dragon”.
(I’m not even counting that my cartridge label says “Super Mortal Kombat 3”)
Anyway, let’s press start, like the title screen is telling us to.
English and Arabic. I am going to pick English, because I don’t speak Arabic, and if I select Arabic as the language then I will not be able to read it.
On the other hand, I can select English, which I can read (and write, for that matter), and thus I will be able to understand the game’s text.
One way or the other, you will get a menu, the English version of which is pictured below:
I will be going through these options in reverse order, because they are in their unmodified form arranged from most complicated to least complicated. As such, the first menu selection that I will be covering is OPTION.
“Life” let’s you change the number of lives you have. It’s basically a difficulty selector.
And “Menu” shows you the controls. These controls, of course, I completely ignored and played the game without knowing them.
And “Exit” takes you back out of the menu. Pretty self explanatory.
Anyway, back to that first menu, the option in the middle is “Battle”. If you select that, then this will happen:
There are two different game modes in The Dragon. The first one is Battle, and the other one is Game. If this was an official cartridge, it would probably be called Story mode.
Battle mode is just all of the boss fights from Game mode put together into a fighting game.
And that’s basically it for Battle mode. What about the other fighters, you ask? I will get to (some of) them in my summary of Game mode, in which they are the bosses.
So without any further delay let us start up Game mode.
“About the Bruce Lee”? This definitely is not to those good grammar.
The grammar is getting worse and worse.
Yes, for some reason you fight one of the bosses right at the beginning of the game. And the boss fights are basically a bad 2D fighting game.
When I initially played this game on an emulator, I thought it was just a fighting game and stopped playing it after losing a few times.
But, as I later found out, The Dragon is more than just a fighting game.
And if you have the patience to keep playing it, you will find out that by using low kicks you can avoid some of the enemy attacks as well as attack the enemy. In which case you will defeat “Suzuki (Ninja)” and you will (after a couple of screens) see what else The Dragon is.
“You won’t get away”, huh? Well I just did and there is nothing that Suzuki (Ninja) is going to do about it.
Anyway, this will happen next.
The Dragon is also a side-scrolling beat-’em-up.
And it is also a platforming game.
See that box? Well, those boxes are stupid. You smash them open to get bonus items. BUT, they will also a lot of the time just explode in your face and eliminate half of your health. If you smash two exploding ones, you are dead. ):
On the other hand, you CAN get some other stuff out of them. But they explode so often that it isn’t really worth it.
One of these is an item that refills around 1/5 to 1/4 of your health.
Also, much less frequently you can get this whip thing:
It gives you more attack power, and a little bit more range of attack. But it isn’t really all that much help, because the majority of the enemies can be killed in just a couple hits anyway.
Moving on, here is the second boss fight:
Alright, the next guy is Ram (King Fighter). He is a little harder to beat than Suzuki (Ninja) but it’s still pretty tricky.
Sorry the picture is blurry but I am not going to do anything about it.
What??? I just did, didn’t I?? Whatever.
Come on Rinco why do you have to put a sign that says “Rinco” two times on it? And how many “Rinco” signs to you see in real life? None? That’s what I thought. Count on Tony Tech to make a realistic game. And also a game that has signs that don’t have redundant extra words on them.
When you die, this happens:
The screen gets all black and white and you die.
Why did I die? It’s because of these guys:
See the really short pink guy? Those guys are the worst because you aren’t protected from their attacks by crouching. ): They are mean. They also come in some other colors too, besides pink. Like red and blue.
And we have reached the next bad guy, Tat (Chevalier Of The East).
This guy is REALLY hard, because his attacks are really strong and also he does these stupid rapid-fire low kick attacks which take out a big chunk of your health.
If you lose all of your lives, you will be given the option to continue.
Again, I am not going to do anything about the blurry picture.
And if you eventually beat Tat (Chevalier Of The East) then this will happen:
What? I just beat you!
Ahh this is stupid. I can’t tell if you are the one saying this stuff or if it is the bad guy.
Grammar usual, as bad.
Then after some more beat-’em-upping there is this really stupid unfair part where you have to jump over some saw blades, which I tried to do over and over again and was only able to get across the first jump once.
And then I got a game over.