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They bear the mark of the Astral Dragon...
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Dragon: Marked for Death is a Dark Fantasy 2D Action RPG developed and published by Inti Creates for the Nintendo Switch. Notably, the game prominently features most of the key staff from the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series that Inti Creates is famous for developing, and is explicity designed to feel familiar to their most famous titles.

In ancient times, a brutal war raged between Celestials and Astral Dragons in the realm of the gods. When the largest Astral Dragon, Atruum, was dealt a mortal blow by the Celestial Primatis, the forces of the Astral Dragons were quickly wiped out. Atruum, whose body had plunged to the earth below, offered the blood from his dying body to a small clan of humans to save their lives, transforming them into the Dragonblood Clan, humans who bear the mark of the dragon on their bodies and worship Atruum as their guardian deity.

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Present day. The descendants of the Dragonblood Clan live a quiet, peaceful existence in a hidden village due to being ostracized by other humans. However, this peace is disrupted when the Medius Empire invades their village and lays waste to it, killing many and destroying their sacred home while kidnapping the village oracle, Amica. Swearing revenge against Medius, the remaining members of the Dragonblood Clan take up arms and set out to rescue Amica and exact vengance on those who done them wrong.


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Dragon: Marked for Death contains examples of:

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: The characters' sprites are mirrored, which is particularly jarring for characters with scars on one side of their face or Fashionable Asymmetry.
  • Ancient Tomb: Several of the levels set in the Magic Kingdom of Litus take place in the buried and boobytrapped tomb of an ancient sorcerer-king.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Golden Ending has the protagonist and Amica continue adventuring together, with Amica encouraging them to fight to protect the innocents and bring peace to the lands.
  • All There in the Manual: Inti Creates' Twitter page has a lot of background information and concept art that reveals details about the setting and characters.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Warrior's default Weapon of Choice is a massive battleaxe.
  • Arm Cannon: The Empress' Dragon Scar takes the form of one, though it can transform into a massive blade.
  • Big Storm Episode: The levels set in the Lanza Channel take place in the middle of a hurricane.
  • Bonus Boss: Several levels have bonus bosses that can offer extra rewards if defeated. Several of these bosses are necessary to defeat in order to unlock the penultimate mission "Soul Vessel".
  • Boss-Only Level: The final story mission "Marked for Death" is just a showdown between you and the Final Boss, no other enemies. Assuming you count Atruum using Amicia's body as a vessel and Atruum himself as two separate beings.
  • Boss Rush: The 2.1.0 Patch added one in the form of a level called "Cavern of Torment".
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The two areas of the Magic Kingdom of Litus are an ancient tomb and a massive tower, though the architecture is largely Egyptian-inspired with a hint of Magitek.
  • Charged Attack:
    • The Empress can charge up power in her arm by holding the A button. Depending on how long you hold A, you'll either get a small single shot, a large single shot, or a concentrated stream of small shots that rack up a ton of damage. The higher the charge level, the more MP it costs to cast it.
    • The Warrior can charge up his melee attack to deliver devastating slashes, though this leaves him vulnerable to attack.
    • The Witch has to charge up her magic to cast higher-level spells.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Missions completely lack checkpoints, so if you run out of revives at any point (including on the mission's boss), you need to start the mission over from scratch.
  • Clockworks Area: Surprisingly enough, the Dragonblood Village is an area where holes in the wall reveal gears and clockwork mechanisms.
  • Combat Resuscitation: The characters can be revived up to four times after running out of HP.
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: The Empress used to wear a dress, but after her pact with Atruum she wears a black miniskirt.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • The Empress' rapier doesn't deal a lot of damage, but she attacks very quickly and deals extra hits if her agility is boosted.
    • The Shinobi specializes in this — when he locks on to an enemy with his Dragon Kick ability, mashing the attack button will cause him to perform a Blade Spam attack that can rack up major amounts of damage.
  • Deflector Shields: The Warrior has the ability to project a barrier around himself. While he can't attack while it's active, it covers teammates and heals them simultaneously.
  • Doomed Hometown: The game opens with the Dragonblood Village being razed by the Divine Knights.
  • Escort Mission: Some of the missions will have the Dragonblood Clan heroes accompanying NPCs while fending off hordes of monsters.
  • Excuse Plot: The characters' backstories are completely absent from the game so as to make them interchangeably relevant to the main story — save the Damsel in Distress and go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge; and the setting's rich world-building is mostly told through IntiCreates' Twitter page and a Japan-exclusive artbook.
  • Fantastic Racism: Most humans generally do not like the Dragonblood Clan, since they were shunned by the Divine Family for worshipping the Astral Dragon. A pair of villagers whom you save from being eaten by orcs refuse to give thanks and scurry off after seeing the Dragon Scar on your body. Even most of the characters who are friendly to the protagonist are Innocently Insensitive and/or invoke You Are a Credit to Your Race.
  • Giant Enemy Crab:
    • The Battle Crab enemies — which come in poison and ice variants — are giant crabs that spit bubbles as their main form of attack, and can burrow under the ground.
    • Hermit Kings frequently appear as mini-bosses and even outright bosses, and are exactly what their name indicates — even more giant hermit crabs that also come in poison and ice variants.
    • The Twin Dragon is actually a crab-shaped Asura (and the biggest crab of all) with extendible pincers in the shape of dragon heads, though the creature itself is never actually fought.
  • Ghibli Hills: The starting levels - Sica Village and the surrounding forest — are inside the Kingdom of Medius' zone of divine purification, but are still infested with Primal Beasts and monsters such as ogres and goblins.
  • Haunted Castle: Ensys Castle, in the southern region of Medius, is a derelict castle littered with the butchered bodies of adventurers who came to hunt the monsters that roam its corridors; and is home to a powerful and savage werewolf.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Ancient carvings come across progressively through the game make the point very succinct that the matter between Primatus and Atruum really isn't one of "God" or "Satan" at all, really. They fought to see who would own the world, Primatus won and became God, Atruum lost and became Satan; all decided by victory versus loss. Both of them are from the onset equally bad for humanity, but Primatus became relatively better over time,note  whereas Atruum, despite being personally tended to by his worshippers, came to care only about absurdly apocalyptic vengeance.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Dragonblood Village was this before the Divine Knights razed it, being in an isolated location at the bottom of a waterfall-surrounded caldera.
  • Hub City: The capital city of Medius acts as the game's Hub Level, with the slums serving as the starting point from which quests can be accepted. After a certain number of quests are completed, the upper level of the city is unlocked — allowing for better items and equipment to be purchased.
  • Important Haircut: The Empress used to have long hair, but after swearing revenge she cuts her hair short.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The various regions of the continent formed from Atruum's corpse have enormous divine weapons protruding from them. The Japanese-themed eastern Nation of Marlayus (Atruum's wings) has a giant hammer with a palace built on top, the icy northern Federation of Pagnus (Atruum's head and neck) has a giant axe-head in the middle of a lake, the capital city of the central Kingdom of Medius (Atruum's chest and arm) is built around a giant twin-bladed sword, the southern desert Magic Kingdom of Litus (Atruum's hips) has been pierced by a staff, and the southwestern island Republic of Hasta (Atruum's tail) is impaled by a giant spear.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Beating a level on the highest difficulty level has a chance of netting very powerful weapons and armor, with one such example being the Vorpal Sword, a very rare drop from beating Atruum. The Random Number Generator is not in the player's favor in this regard, however, though it can be influenced to an extent by the Luck stat.
  • Island of Mystery: The Republic of Hasta, formed from Atruum's tail, is a series of monster-infested islands. The main city is constructed around the divine weapon purifying the region, and can be seen in the background of Cadena Forest.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The levels set in Uos Tower involve the protagonist scaling an ancient tower so massive that the rest of the continent can be seen from its top.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Cthulhu is a massive jellyfish/octopus-like sea monster fought as a boss in "Sea of Tumult", with the rest of the level taking place in its innards.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Labyrinth of Fire, added in the "Dragonblood Bandit" DLC, is a volcanic maze of monster-infested tunnels in the southern region of the Northern Federation of Pagnus, said to have been Atruum's throat when the Astral Dragon still lived.
  • Lost Woods: Cadena Forest is a monster-infested coastal forest with plenty of half-flooded littoral caves, poisonous flora, and a two-headed dragon-like monster lurking in its depths.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Warrior can raise his shield to conjure an energy barrier and defend himself from attacks.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has a total of four endings for each character, depending on how the final boss is beaten:
    • If the player used the Dragon Sphere that appears at the end of the first round, they will get an ending where Atruum uses the protagonist's body as a catalyst to be reborn more powerful than ever, kills Primatus, and conquers the world.
    • If the player doesn't use the Dragon Sphere that appears at the end of the first round, they will get an ending where Atruum falls into a deep slumber, leaving the Dragonblood Clan bereft of their supernatural powers and locked in a neverending war with the equally-powerless Divine Knights.
    • If the player beats the final boss without using the Dragon Sphere or Reviving, they will get an ending where Atruum falls into a deep slumber, vowing to return when he has regained enough power to destroy Primatus. To prevent further conflict, the protagonist absorbs the remnants of Atruum's power into themselves — turning the surviving members of the Dragonblood Clan into normal humans — and as a result is transformed into a dragon identical to the one that appears when they use a Dragon Sphere.
    • If the player beats the game on single-player mode using each character and a weapon obtained by beating the final boss they will get the Golden Ending, where the protagonist absorbs Atruum's power but is stopped from transforming into a dragon by Amica; and they escape the Divine Knights with the help of the allies the protagonist made during their adventures.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The supposedly immortal Twin Dragon fought in "Undying Dragon" and "Twin Dragon's End" is actually a giant crab-like monster with two draconic heads in place of pincers.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: In a sense. The game is split into two $15 packs that each contain two characters; one pack gets you the Empress and the Warrior, while the other pack gets you the Shinobi and Witch. Buying one pack allows you to buy the other as DLC. Alternatively, you can just purchase the physical edition for $30 that contains both.
  • Rare Random Drop: Some bosses drop unique weapons and equipment — especially at the highest difficulty levels — although the drop rates for these rare boss items are abysmal even with the luck stat boosted to maximize efficiency.
  • Red Herring: In "They Come From Hell" one of the priest NPCs notes that the malevolent presence undoing the seal on the Asura Gate — which would unleash a horde of powerful demons on all the kingdoms — has a similar presence to the protagonists, theorizing it's a member of the Dragonblood Clan who was killed by the Divine Family and is seeking revenge. Right up until the boss gate, it's implied that Amica has been killed by the Divine Family and is the one responsible, but it's revealed to be Jinryu — the boss of "The Castle Burns".
  • Remixed Level: Each level set in a specific area is the exact same as the others, with changes such as previously blocked-off areas being accessible or vice-versa.
  • Repeatable Quest: Quests can be completed repeatedly and at higher difficulty levels, awarding a set amount of money but increasingly greater amounts of EXP and a better chance of receiving more powerful and rare items.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Vasith and the Legion of Divine Knights attempt genocide against the Dragonblood Clan and abduct Amica, the remaining members tap into the power of their Dragon Scars to seek revenge. Inti Creates' Twitter page reveals specific details about the people each character seeks to avenge.
  • Royal Rapier: The Empress' Weapon of Choice is referred to as a rapier, though she actually wields a variety of swords.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: While the game is mostly an action-platformer, characters earn EXP by fighting enemies, and can level up various stats.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: While the other playable characters presumably existed alongside each other prior to the start of the game, the game's story treats whichever class was picked as the sole survivor of the Dragonblood Village genocide.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Magic Kingdom of Litus was once a powerful civilization ruled over by a sorceror-king, but all that remains of it now is ruins half-buried beneath a scorching desert.
  • Shout-Out: Following an ongoing tradition to have Azure Striker Gunvolt references in most games developed after Gunvolt, first-print copies will include a DLC code to get four weapons based on the series, including a greatsword based on Luxcalibur, a Grimoire, a one-handed sword based on a Glaive, and a dagger that trails white feathers like the ones that come from Gunvolt himself.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Most of the levels set in the Northern Federation of Pagnus take place deep in the snowcapped mountains and glaciers of the Tarpol Mountains.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX, but in a different way than Azure Striker Gunvolt. Whereas Gunvolt is loosely inspired by Zero and ZX in theme and gameplay, Dragon: Marked for Death looks, plays, and feels like a Zero or ZX game if you replaced all of the futuristic elements and Power Copying with medieval fantasy and multiple character classes.
  • Super Mode: The Warrior is normally a Mighty Glacier, but has the ability to go Berserk, which turns him into a Glass Cannon by exchanging his defence for raw attack power.
  • Title Drop: The name of the final story mission is titled "Marked for Death".
  • Tower of Babel: Uos Tower in the desert ruins of the Magic Kingdom of Litus is an ancient Egyptian-themed level set in an ancient magitek tower containing divine secrets.
  • Turns Red: Bosses will deal more damage and receive a defence buff when their HP reaches a low-enough point, at which time a Dragon Sphere will spawn to give the player character a Super Mode of their own.
  • Womb Level: "Sea of Tumult" and "Dangerous Wine" take place in the monster-infested innards of Cthulhu.
  • Wutai: In contrast to the mostly-Medieval European Fantasy setting of the rest of the game, The Kingdom of Marlayus is very much themed after feudal Japan — complete with samurai and ninja.
  • You Are Too Late: The protagonist's main mission is to rescue Amica after she's abducted by the Divine Knights, completing quests in order to gain an audience with the Divine King. In "Soul Vessel", the protagonist finally confronts the Divine King and demands to know what he's done with Amica. Instead, the Divine King sends them plunging into the depths of the castle's dungeons and makes them fight Vasith after they make their way back up to the throne room. Once Vasith is defeated, it's revealed he was actually an animated suit of armor containing Amica — whose soul the Divine Emperor sacrifices in an attempt to become a god.
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