You know, Sega has a bit of a reputation when it comes to making, publishing, or endorsing games geared towards more mature audiences. Whether it was the first Mortal Kombat and its less censored ways or other controversial titles like Night Trap for the Sega CD, it was things such as Mystic Defender with its grotesque demons and suggestive themes. However, some games back in the days were so "risque" that I wonder if Sega sometimes thinks back on the old days and asks themselves: "We actually allowed this game on our console?"
On that note, I introduce to you a game that was not released in the U.S. for a number of reasons, Dahna Megami Tanjou. As the title alludes to, you play the role of Dahna, which some may call "The Goddess of Battle", and justly so. After all, who better to send on a barbaric killing spree when all is lost than a deadly femme fatale armed with a brutal blade and mystical magic? Besides her awe-inspiring battle capabilities and good looks, Dahna is also skilled at riding on horseback and even enlisting the aid of great beasts and demons like Ogres and Griffons.
Dahna Megami Tanjou leaves little to the imagination. This isn't one of those mild action titles where enemies burst into stardust when defeated, leaving you to ponder "How did they do that?" No, this game doesn't hide the bloody calamity that takes place. Enemies will be cut and spray BLOOD. Dahna will even cut the limbs off an Ashura wannabe and crush people with her mighty Ogre companion, and it will all be done in a dark, medieval world. The overall presentation is okay, though some things look a little lame such as how boulders roll. The game has several decent looking animations, and yet they skimp on a giant rolling rock? Eh. The sound fits the theme of the game...my only major gripe here is that the music gets interupted every time your Ogre attacks, which gets old fast.
Then you have the gameplay mechanics, which are completely unoriginal and a little faulty. Remember all that stuff I said about Dahna before? She can do all the aforementioned, but just how good is she at doing them? The controls are "sticky", she runs and jumps awkwardly, and the Ogre is almost more trouble than he's worth. You have three spells, though the only one worth mentioning is the fog spell, which protects you from harm (and can help make short work of bosses). The other two spells aren't too practical. She can crouch, but you need to press up just to make her stand back up. It doesn't sound like much, but it can get in the way. To make matters worse, the game has numerous annoying platform segments which can send you to your doom. The game did a few cool things like implement a "Level Up" system, which is based on how many points you score and bad guys you kill. She just gets more health though. It also has one level which acts as a horizontal shooter level. The game has no lives, but several continues and difficulty levels. This should be enough since the game is short.
This game tries to produce a plot of some kind, but the whole game is pretty ephemeral from start to finish. The graphics are only average, the sound is about average, and the gameplay is a little disjointed. Dahna Megami Tanjou doesn't do anything original, and even the things that it does already aren't up to snuff with far better games of this genre. Sorry Dahna, but I have to give you a thumbs down. Violence alone won't make you a title worth playing. - Written by Bel Cain The Eternal -