Drake of the 99 Dragons was a video game made by Idol FX and published by Majesco Entertainment. It was released for the Xbox and Windows.
The game was originally released only in North America. A PAL release by Vivendi Universal Games was planned but was canceled for unknown reasons.
But on March 8, 2018, just 15 years after its original North American release, the PC version of the game was re-released worldwide via Steam.
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.
Drake wields two guns at all times. He obtains various abilities over the course of the game, such as double jump 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
- Very poor controls that create fake difficulty.
- The ability to slow down time is too easy to activate by accident. Slowing down time is also useless since Drake is affected by it as well.
- Poor graphics and animation. The game was claimed to have cel-shaded graphics, though this can only really be seen on Drake's trenchcoat. The rest of the graphics just look bland and dull.
- The camera moves too fast, it's difficult to make it stay where you want it to.
- Aiming is horrible due to the both the reticule 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 a 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 voice acting sounds phoned in.
- Pre-rendered cutscenes in which the developers were too lazy/under the gun to even animate the character's faces when they talk (most of the time). Some people jokingly state that the characters have lockjaw because their mouths don't move when they talk.
- Floaty jumping.
- 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. On top of that, in the final stage, the game ditches the ten second respawn, letting the player respawn immediately instead... only for it to be brought back in the final boss battle.
- You can die from falling a great enough height, which is a problem when one of the early levels requires you to drop from a high rooftop down to street-level.
- That same level has you shoot and track down a courier by following his blood trail, however, at one point in the level, it suddenly splits into two blood trails, forcing the player to take a 50-50 chance on which way is right.
- Poor A.I.
- Numerous glitches.
- Instead of reloading his weapons, Drake just drops them and takes new ones literally out of nowhere. Because of this, every weapon in the game has unlimited ammo. The only challenge the game provides is from how broken and unfinished the whole thing is.
- Would Drake not get caught if he drops his guns that are covered in his fingerprints?
- For a game that's supposed to be about an assassin, there are no elements of stealth.
- Most abilities are worthless(see 2) and some just don't work. For instance, you obtain an ability to draw in souls, but that ability never activates.
- 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 wasting their time creating a Drake avatar rather than bringing his original body or create hundreds of Drake avatars to make the job easier.
- Drake in his spirit form carries his master in a physical form.
- His master somehow having his whole body intact.
- Drake and his master got killed at the beginning of the game with another Drake seeing this; who is this Drake supposed to be?
- The purple-haired lady somehow kills Drake with a single bullet when it takes more than that during the game to kill him.
- 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 giving the soul portal artifact to the courier rather than taking it straight to Tang.
- A truck appearing in a portal that Drake got dragged in.
- Drake is an unlikable character and an idiot: In the opening cutscene, he is in a dojo playing with two unloaded pistols, ProJared says "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, 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 decided to stop this madness; yet he spends the rest of the game shooting people to harvest their souls. Every time he runs, he flails dual pistols in the sky like he's really excited for nothing, X-Play's Adam Sessler describes this as "three chaotically throwing his arms every which way like at some homicidal semaphore session."
- The production values are so low that not only does a female boss use the same death sound as the male enemies but the sound for when doors open was stolen from AOL Instant Messenger sign off.
- In fact, the story is nothing interesting or special and relies heavily on cliches and stereotypes. Drake can be mistaken for an undead Neo with a Bruce Wayne chin sporting a cool look and wears a badass longcoat but suffers being an idiot riddled with bad dialogues. 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. There are no interesting characters and only so few forgettable characters. The story is Drake being the last of his clan and must get back the stolen item which is a common theme found in many stories. Even Drake's backstory was rushed and uninteresting.
- 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.
- 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, as said by ProJared.
- 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.
- The continue feature does not work until much later (the underworld platforming stages) in the game.
- There is no interesting character developments, character interactions or any chemistries. In fact, there are only a few characters in the game and Drake would mostly threaten them, beat them up or kill them.
- This game is nothing but a Matrix-wannabe that also tries to ape Bruce Timm's iconic art style, as seen in Batman: The Animated Series and numerous entries in the DC Animated Universe.
- During a flashback with Drake and his master, they did not bother to create a living Drake character model and just uses his undead model which can cause confusion as the master had yet to kill him. The master himself puts a tattoo on his chest by clapping sticks rather than painting it like any other tattoo.
- The story never explains anything. 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 list goes on.
- The need for a timer is pointless.
- This game is a prime example of trying way too hard to be cool and deep.
- It has an interesting concept that could've had potential to be good.
- The soundtrack is okay.
- The PC port (while still not great) fixes a lot of the bugs and glitches that the original Xbox version had and the controls are significantly improved.
- The cover art looks good.
IGN's Aaron Boulding gave the game a 2.9 out of 10; while praising the game's unique visual appearance and presentation, along with the "bullet time" audio effects whilst slowing down time, he concluded that Drake of the 99 Dragons was "a good idea that went horribly astray and ended up disastrous" and that "there's no need to rent, purchase or entertain the thought of playing this one."
Idol FX and Majesco wanted this game to be the launchpad for a multimedia franchise, which would include a series of comic books and a potential animated television series. However, the contract Idol signed with Majesco gave them only six months for development, leaving little room for playtesting and resulting in the game being unfinished.
Drake of the 99 Dragons holds an aggregate score of 22 on Metacritic, ranking it as the second-worst game for the original Xbox.
X-Play's Adam Sessler gives Drake of the 99 Dragons a 1 out of 5, he claims 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 it a bucket of tears out of 10 and said that whacking your head with a game box for 6 hours is a better experience.
Internet reviewer Joueur du Grenier reviewed this game along Beverly Hills Cop in an episode centered on bad Xbox games, 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 Tats top 100 shittiest games.