Codex Gamicus

Dragon Breed is a horizontally-scrolling shoot-em-up arcade game produced by Irem in 1989. It ran on M72 and M81 hardware and was well received by critics at the time.

The player's character is a human who rides a large, green, flying Chinese-style dragon. The dragon is invincible, capable of blocking most enemy projectiles and damaging enemies on contact; the human, however, is not, but is armed with a forward-firing crossbow.

The dragon's body is very flexible and responds to the player's movement, enabling the player to use the dragon as a mobile shield or as a whip-like weapon. You can also circle the tail around a group of enemies to kill them. The tail of the yellow or blue dragon can be coiled around the player to offer almost complete invulnerability for a limited time.

The dragon can also spit fireballs, in a manner very similar to the Wave Cannon from R-Type. By holding the fire button down, the dragon will build up fire in its mouth; the longer the button is held down, the more powerful the fireball will be. There are four levels of fireball power; at its strongest, the fireball resembles a dragon's head. The game also contains some platforming elements - the human is able to dismount on horizontal platforms.


Power-ups can be acquired by shooting small green dragons that appear intermittently throughout the levels, or they can be collected from the ground on foot. The power-ups resemble lanterns with a coloured sphere in the middle.

There are four different power-ups, each of which provides a different weapon to the dragon. Collecting multiple power-ups of the same colour makes that weapon more powerful. The dragon changes colour depending upon which power-up has been collected.

  • Red - enables the dragon to breathe a flame. The flame gets longer if more power-ups are collected.
File:Dragon Breed.png

Arcade screenshot

  • Yellow - enables the dragon's body to fire tiny yellow crescents in all directions.
  • White - enables the dragon to produce up to four miniature dragons, which home in on enemies.
  • Blue - enables the dragon to fire downward bolts of electricity from its underside.

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