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Video Game / I of the Dragon

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I of the Dragon is a 2004 game for Microsoft Windows XP, developed by Primal Software of X fame. It is essentially a strategy shooter with some RPG elements.

The game follows the player who takes the role of one of three chosen dragons: Annoth the Firebreather, Barroth the Magician, and Morrogh the Necromancer; found in three hidden eggs long after their species left the lands of Nimoa, they are awakened and raised by the priests in order to protect the kingdom from the evil demon Scarbrorr and his legion of monsters.

The dragon arrives just in time to save the last remaining human settlement from destruction, and from there must plow through enemy territory, performing gratuitous monster murder and razing of lairs, all the while helping to build and fortify more human towns.


This game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Script: Quibeck (the carpet-mounted wizard who brings you news) and Pardis (the warlord you play as in Wonderland and Terra) are never named in-game. You will only learn their names if you look up the official website (or here, now).
  • Annoying Arrows: the Scarbrorr-aligned towns of Forest and Golden Woods, as well as some of the orc critters in Ferra, shoot arrows at you. They are the weakest things you can possibly get hit by.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The carpet-piloting wizards can attack monsters, but they usually do not. If there is even one corpse on the map, no matter where it is, they will drop everything else to try to harvest the soul from it, even if they are actively being attacked. It's not uncommon to see a pile of wizard corpses resulting from successive wizards trying to collect a single soul from a dangerous location.
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  • Back from the Brink: Prior to the hero dragon's arrival, Scharborr's forces steamrolled over human armies, razed their cities and overtook their land. Now the mankind is down to its last surviving settlement, the entire realm is infested by monsters and it is up to the player to turn the tide and reclaim the lands once lost.
  • Back Story: The intro of the game, as well as the cutscenes during the Wonderland and Forest maps, explain most of it, most importantly that dragons felt betrayed by humans and left, but still handed over three eggs to the priests as they believed one day Scarbrorr would come back.
  • Breath Weapon: each dragon has two or more attuned to their element — fire for Annoth, ice for Barroth, poison gas for Morrogh. They come in sweeping flamethower and longer-ranged fireball varieties, and Annoth gets a special homing fireball as well.
  • Camera Screw: since the engine was designed for a flying dragon, the mid-to-late-game missions in which you play as humans suffer from a spot of Fake Difficulty due to the camera focusing behind trees, exaggeratedly panning out, or simply getting stuck below ground.
  • Creepy Monotone: The citizens of Wonderland.
  • Death from Above: Naturally, since the player is a dragon, this is the primary means of attack. Some spells, like Barroth's Magic Stones and Annoth's Meteor, take it even further.
  • The Dragon: The human king.
  • Dragons Are Divine: So much that humans used to (and a good part of them still does) revere them and worship their god Unkh-Agor. Also, the dragons are arguably the most powerful beings in this world, and the only capable of fighting the great evil that humans are helpless against.
  • Escort Mission: The Earthskull map opens up with a pair of Simorans, whom the player mush protect as they lurch towards the town. It's challenging to keep them alive even on lower difficulty settings, but turn up the hard, and the town can be destroyed before they reach it, meaning you have to either fly back and forth to protect both the town and the caravan, or let the town fall and try to rebuild it amidst the hordes of monsters. Fortunately, the caravan's survival is optional - keeping one alive will award you with experience, and keeping both alive will net you a decently useful spell.
  • Evolving Attack: The natural breath weapons, which have two or three levels.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Quingor's corpse drops the spell Fire Stone, which allows you to shoot the fire stones that he shot at you.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: you can save pictures of whatever the camera is vieweing (with better effect when taken from the eyeview camera or zoomed in a monster). The pictures end up saved as Targa images, which can easily reach over 2MB per picture.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Trixxter lairs are (inexplicably) floating jellyfish forests.
  • Fragile Speedster: Barroth's stat gains lean towards this - high speed, good mana inflow for spell spamming, but low regeneration means he can't stick around a fight as long as the other two.
  • Giant Flyer: In addition to the dragons, a good number of flying monsters are a notch or twelve larger than the humans.
  • Gorn: The player eating monsters, even more if you zoom in on the poor creature as it is daintily ripped to bits. One of the most glorifying and worthwhile things of the entire game.
  • Green Hill Zone: Mediterrano.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Roadrunners, ridden by just Pardis at first, but towns at level five or six will also produce lizard-mounted warriors.
  • Hot Bar: With up to twelve magic slots to which you can assign magic spells, and are accessed via the F1...F12 keys.
  • Interface Screw: Occurs after every play-as-a-human segment. When you regain control of the dragon, your spells will be in order of level, instead of whatever order you had them in before.
  • Kill It with Fire: Annoth's specialty is to set things on fire or right out blowing them up.
  • King Mook:
    • Tokolosh and Quingor, the first two bosses of the game, are larger versions of ordinary monsters. Interestingly, you don't encounter the smaller versions until much later in the game.
    • The human king is a normal-sized Sinisterwing... wearing a crown.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Pardis.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: Done in a good way: you can learn lots of spells, and you have to switch the five-to-twelve (depending on how many magic slots you get) that you can use in between battles.
  • Lightning Gun: Barroth's Lightning Breath, and later Lightning Storm. A few monsters (and the wizard tower in Ferra) will shoot the player with lighting as well.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Hit a monster or human with a powerful enough attack, and it will... evaporate. For some reason, the giant mushrooms also explode into bloody clouds when attacked.
  • Made of Explodium: The earth magic shrine at the center of each town will release a huge shockwave when destroyed that smashes any town buildings that are still standing, and kills every living thing within the town. It can actually be useful to destroy the shrine yourself while trying to build a town, since it will kill off whatever monsters were making it difficult to keep the town standing.
  • Magic Carpet: Quibeck and the soul-collecting wizards ride these.
  • Magic Meteor: the meteorite in North Star drops the Detect Lairs spell if smashed open.
  • The Medic: Towns produce two types of units specifically for healing: red-skirted women who heal living units, and blue-shirted men who heal buildings.
    • Morrogh can become this using Aid, once he's assembled a large enough army of summoned units.
  • Missing Secret:
    • Egregiously done with the Earthskull map where there is a foggy mountain range covering about 40% of the entire map area and where absolutely nothing happens ever. In fact, if it weren't because you can follow the Invisible Wall markers into the wild blue yonder, you could finish the game not having known of that part of the map.
    • North Star. You only need to travel around the town and the meteor crater, but the whole map is about four times that size, containing no fewer than five smoking volcanoes that are only there for show.
  • Monster Town: the town in Forest is handled by monsters and must be released from their control and rebuilt from scratch. Golden Woods becomes one once the king is discovered to be an agent of Scarbrorr, complete with the cutscene momentarily focusing on a human having a conversation with a cyclops and a zombie.
    • Zigzagged with the idyllic town of Wonderland, a human town mentally controlled to help Scarbrorr invade the area with monsters.
  • Mook Maker: the primary objective in each level is to destroy all of the "lairs," which are these. They even respawn if there is no human town in the area.
  • Mr. Exposition: Quibeck.
  • Necromancy: Morrogh's specialty, according to the manual — in the game it functions more like Mind Control and Summon Magic.
  • No Ontological Inertia: the North Star meteorite is radioactive and will damage you if you fly too close to it... unless you break it open, then it's perfectly safe! No way those visible fragments of meteorite could possibly still be dangerous!
  • Notice This:
    • The earth magic's epicenter, the spot where the town in each area is built, glows blue.
    • In North Star, the Trixxter lair that contains the town-upgrade artifact has a slightly different particle effect than other Trixxter lairs.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Unlike your traditional treasure-hoarding, maiden-munching monsters, the dragons in this game's universe are actually the primary force of good and sworn enemies of Scharborr. Also, they aren't limited to fire breath, but have insanely powerful magical abilities at their disposal. They are so benevolent, that even when humans turn against them (after the dragons have just helped them defeat the forces of evil overlord), they don't retaliate or take vengeance, but merely leave mankind to their fate. And even that's not without providing them with means of defeating Scharborr, should he emerge once again.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They don't sparkle, but they shoot homing magic missiles.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Annoth the Firebreather has access to the Hound and Firestar spells which works like this... fortunately though, it does cast good damage and it is also a Homing Projectile.
    • In addition, Longstar travels so slowly that every flying monster in the game could avoid it simply by outrunning it. It's decent against lairs, though, since it has enough range that you can avoid the monsters that patrol near them.
    • Zombies attack with these as well.
  • Patchwork Map: Wonderland has some... interesting landmarks. The northern two-thirds are pleasant fields dotted with skinny but extremely tall mountains, and the southern edge is an almost perfectly vertical ledge, beyond which is desert as far as the eye can see. Ferra, Rockwood, and Forest, all of which are south of Wonderland, have no hints of desert at all.
  • Permanently Missable Content: the spell Detect Monsters is only available if you manage to escort both Simorans in Earthskull to the town. If even one of them dies, no spell for you. Thankfully, Save Scumming is an option.
  • Point Build System: The dragon has six stats: fly speed, health, regeneration, fire power, breath capacity, and mana inflow. Every time the dragon levels up, it gets 25 points to spend on upgrading these stats (or getting new spells instead). The same stat will cost different point quantities for different dragons - for instance, fire power costs 3 points for Morrogh, 4 points for Barroth, and just 2 for Annoth.
  • Projectile Spell: Barroth's specialty is to annoy foes by shooting at them with an immense variety of stuff. His basic spell is almost this verbatim.
  • Pun-Based Title: Well, duh. As if the wordplay wasn't obvious enough, the game's logo is an eye of a dragon.
  • Random Drop: When destroyed, lairs have a chance to drop crystals that improve stats.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: It takes about fifteen seconds from the player clicking the build button for a human town to be completely built (or upgraded to the next level). In addition, town repairs are instantaneous. Explained as being the function of the artifact you extracted from the first boss's corpse.
  • Sentry Gun:
    • Barroth's War Sphere and Ultimate War Sphere and Morrogh's Star of Despair are "core" types.
    • The turrets that protect the mind-controlling building in Wonderland.
  • Set Bonus: Five red crystals gives the player ten extra health points. Five green crystals gives the player an extra spell slot. Five blue crystals gives each dragon ten points in their specialty stat - fire power for Annoth, mana inflow for Barroth, and regeneration for Morrogh.
  • Summon Magic: A number of spells, mostly exclusive to Morrogh, poof player-aligned monsters onto the field. Summon Sinisterwing is the only one available to all three dragons.
  • Sprint Shoes: Spirits of Wind provides Barroth with faster flight for a relatively long period of time. Actually pretty useful as it allows the dragon to outmaneuver some otherwise unavoidable homing spells later in the game.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy:
    • The earth-magic shrine in the center of each town projects a pulsating magical vortex straight upwards. It heals the dragon if it hovers inside. Higher-level towns also get a second vortex that restores mana.
    • The portals that Scharborr uses to attack Rockwood.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Longstar, which you get by the time you are learning about spell chaining, mana charging, and orb collecting.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: A total of five times during the story (Pardis in Wonderland, Kindjal in Forest, Pardis again in Terra, and an unnamed Zealot and then Kindjal again in Crimea), the player is placed in control of a human instead of the dragon. Generally, these missions involve stealth (seeing as humans are much squishier and less powerful than a dragon), and tend to take place in highly uneven terrain, unstraightforward to navigate.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The human race as a whole is this in the backstory, but especially the Zealot mages. After the first war with Scharborr - which was won only thanks to dragons coming to humanity's aid, basically saving them all - they decided that dragons are their sole competitors to ruling the world now, turned against them and Zealots proceeded to smash their eggs. The dragons' response was merely to leave the mankind to its fate, but not without providing them with prophecy of Scharborr's return and three eggs, from which The Chosen One would hatch in the future and save humanity (and the world) once again.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • Depending on the order in which you destroy the lairs in the last map of the game, one of some bugs in the game will trigger which will prevent you from accessing the portal to the last battle, or even from the portal appearing at all.
    • Just before the Crimea stage, you must carry a Zealot from Terra into the area... assuming, that is, that a Zealot actually spawns.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Slow Death and Infuriate for Morrogh end up as this, mostly because of the fact that most battles are away from towns, and you-against-many.
  • Teleport Spam: Barroth + Extended Blink spell + enemies firing several magic missiles at you = this. Of note however, you can not control where Barroth is teleported to.
  • Timed Mission: A caravan spawns when the player first enters Forest, and heads for the (hostile) town. If it gets there before the player destroys it, the town gains some lightning-shooting wizard towers that make destroying the town a lot more painful.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: The basic goal in the game is to reclaim the lands once lost, province by province. To this end, you must not only purge each region of monsters infesting it, but build a human town there. The catch is that those towns can still be attacked later and while not defenceless, they rely heavily on your help. Therefore, after building a town, you can (and you must) still take care of it, upgrade it (making it bigger and increasing its defences) and come to its aid when it is attacked.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Your dragon is hungry and there are no edible monsters around? Just head out to town and eat a human with no one complaining — and hey, if they do, just remind them that they were the ones who scared off the dragons long ago. And then murder a few of them so you can use their corpses to get that last bit of upgrade energy.
  • Videogame Objectives: Resumed quite bluntly as "kill everything" by an IGN review.
  • Walking Wasteland: Morrogh has a bit of this, especially in his spells.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: If it goes hungry, the dragon's health, mana, and breath will recharge at half their normal rates.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!:
    • Type 2B. The carpet-mounted wizards fly to each corpse on the map and extract the soul from it. The souls become energy that the player uses to upgrade the town.
    • The player gets to harvest a soul themselves during the Zealot mission in Crimea.