One of many entries released during the heyday of the side-scrolling beat-’em-up genre, King of Dragons lets you sink your teeth into a classic arcade sandwich of fantasy-themed styling, topped with your typical move-right-and-hit-things gameplay for which the beat-’em-up genre is known, and sprinkled with a dash of RPG-ish elements. Ultimately, it’s just another beat-’em-up—not a horribly bad one, but not an exceptionally good one, either. Each level has you primarily walking from one end to the other, fighting through a fairly homogeneous progression of enemies until you reach the end boss. Rinse and repeat.
This is probably a good thing. I mean, picture this: back around 1991 or so, little Billy finally built up the courage to talk to Rainbow (yes, her parents are a couple of dirty hippies…bear with me though), who he’s had his eye on in math class for some time now. They decide to hang out at the mall after school one day, and Billy notices King of Dragons whilst passing by the arcade.
First thought is, “Dude, that looks cool! It’s got dragons and elves and shit!” No, Billy, you fucking nerd! This is a bad idea! D&D-type fare is some grade-“A” girl repellent, and if you go start playing arcade games, Rainbow’s going to lose interest in you, and you’ll miss a chance to actually put your hand up a girl’s shirt. Stick to the script, kid.
Fortunately, Billy overhears a couple other kids who just got done playing the game complaining about how boring it is. Billy’s interest wanes, and he continues on his merry way, eventually reaching second base with the hippie kid. Way to go, Billy!
Although around the same time, Capcom also released Street Fighter II, whose siren call could not be ignored by many a youth for years to come, successfully turning cash into hours of entertainment and virginity-protection services the world over.