I posted recently about a new game on Windows Phone, Crimson Dragon Side Story, and I was so very excited. I’ve never been excited for a mobile game, but this was different; this was a spiritual successor to Sega’s Panzer Dragoon series.

I mentioned in the aforementioned post that I am a huge Panzer fan, but that really doesn’t do it justice. Over the years the four games in the series have taken on an almost mythical significance for me – a reminder of what Sega could achieve at their best, a promise of creativity that we now rarely see.

The Panzer Dragoon games were (and maybe still are) among the most immersive, atmospheric games I’ve ever played. The way everything came together, from the superb, fantastical artwork to the perfectly-tuned on-rails lock-on-shooter gameplay, the lush yet energetic soundtrack and minimalist story that gave you just enough details about Panzer‘s world to make you want to draw out every thread created a whole far greater than the sum of its (not insubstantial) parts.

It’s a type of game we rarely see any more – the closest analogue we have now is the excellent Child of Eden (created, of course, by ex-Sega man Tetsuya Mizuguchi), and that doesn’t have anywhere near the depth and complexity of some of Panzer Zwei‘s systems and mythology.

Talking about Crimson Dragon on a gaming forum, myself and another forumite were reminiscing about Panzer Dragoon Zwei -specifically, the forest level that came on a demo disc that we had both happened to play exhaustively until able to afford the full game. It made me think of the background music from that level.

I haven’t played the game in many years, yet it’s remarkable how vividly I can recall that level solely from the background music. I can hear the sound effects over the top, I can almost see the two giant worms spiralling around one another firing on my dragon as we fly low under a canopy of trees. If you haven’t played a Panzer game, you’ve missed out. Sega – make these games your next HD updates!

For now, I’ll just have to dig out my Saturn and hope it still works…

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