Rise of the Dragon was Dynamix's first foray into Point-and-Click Adventure Gaming after being bought out by Sierra in 1990. Unlike other games in the Sierra line, Rise of the Dragon featured a first-person perspective and two side-scrolling platformer sections in addition to the then-standard style of gameplay for an adventure game.
Rise of the Dragon is set in a Blade Runner-inspired Crapsack World. In the Los Angeles of 2053, ex-cop William "Blade" Hunter is hired by the mayor to find out who is responsible for the horrific demise of his daughter, Chandra, whose use of transdermal patches led her to be the first victim of a mutagenic poison.
The plot and characters are a blend of Film Noir tropes, After the End, and supposedly Chinese mythology, leading Blade to an Ancient Conspiracy to revive an ancient Chinese sorcerer (the titular "Dragon").
Rise of the Dragon was highly touted the following year, receiving a Special Award for Artistic Achievement from Computer Gaming World, and a 5 out of 5 star review from Dragon magazine.
After the initial DOS release, a CD-based version was made, followed by a Sega CD port of that rerelease which removed some of the more adult material (including the ammunition for Blade's sidearm, but not the weapon itself).
This game contains examples of:
- After the End: Implied by an ad in the included comic book for a World War III army set and casual mention of high background radiation in the air.
- A.K.A.-47: Blade's Particle Beam Pistol is manufactured by With & Smesson.
- Always Check Under the Pillow
- Ancient Conspiracy: As revealed in the opening animation, the whole plot is run by one.
- Badass Longcoat: Blade owns (and wears) one of these.
- BFG: The game provides three opportunities to upgrade from Blade's pistol to an assault rifle. One of these allows you to get it before any of the action sequences by requisitioning it from the Police armory.
- Big Bad: The opening animation shows Deng Hwang and Jonny Quong discussing their plan.
- Body Horror: Using the "drug" results in lethal Transformation Trauma. You can even take it yourself! A forced overdose melts one character's flesh from his bones. Blade gets to watch it happen.
- Bowdlerize: Among the alterations made when porting the game to the Sega CD:
- Removal of a french kiss because of implied sex, despite the game getting an MA-17 rating from Sega of America.
- Removal of one of two dancers in the Pleasure Dome.
- The other dancer was made into a silhouette, making her seem to be naked despite both dancers originally being in stage outfits. Stripperiffic stage outfits, but outfits nonetheless.
- Removal of the power pack for Blade's particle beam pistol.
- The Chessmaster: The mayor knew all about the cult behind the new drug, and just how deep Blade would have to go while investigating the murder of his daughter. At the end of the game he has ordered a full SWAT assault on the cult's main base of operations, even though Blade never told that location to anyone.
- The Chosen One: An ancient prophecy predicts a chosen warrior to rise against the ancient evil. At one point, a character asks Blade if he is The Chosen One. He is. Elsewhere, Chang Li says he has managed to narrow down the potential Chosen Ones to a handful of people. Blade is the only one who is still alive.
- Cowboy Cop: Blade used to be one. It got him kicked out of the force. To quote the mayor as he hires him:"Your low regard for property rights and callous disregard of accepted operation procedure which served you poorly as a police officer make you an ideal candidate for this job."
- Crapsack World: The future is heavily polluted, has high background radiation, and is loaded with criminals. The police are everywhere, but don't seem to do anything about it.
- Cyber Punk: The rest of the tropes on this page should clue you in.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: No actual rain, but the city looks like it's midnight at all hours.
- Deadpan Snarker: Blade.Blade: Wow, nice art. Looks like a friggin' spleen.
- The Dragon: Jonny Quong, the titular character's right-hand man.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Blade goes through a lot to close this case (and get back with his girlfriend in the process).
- Fantastic Drug:
- The villains are trafficking a drug called MZT which has mutagenic properties, twisting the bodies of people and killing them in the process. If you do nothing to hinder their plans, they will contaminate the city's water supply with it. The Big Bad takes the same drug which causes him to transform into a dragon-man and somehow survive.
- A self-defence spray in the game is supposed to incapacitate people by inducing an overwhelming feeling of euphoria. According to the manual, "Unfortunately, it doesn't work very well on the large angry men it was designed to be used against. But what the heck, it's a great way to catch a buzz or pick up on unsuspecting women."
- The Future Is Noir: Blade is very much a futuristic version of Sam Spade.
- Guide Dang It!: Towards the end of the game, a puzzle requires you to rewire a collar set to flood a character's bloodstream with the mutagen. In order to do so, you must first back away from the close-up view. As the terminals the wires connect to on one end are clearly visible in the close-up view, this is less than intuitive.
- Impressive Pyrotechnics: At any point in the game, you can blow up the villains' chemical plant. The explosion is quite impressive despite the plant actually producing a custom retrovirus (meaning fewer volatile chemicals on hand than implied by calling it a chemical plant).
- In-Universe Game Clock: There's a clock and a calendar that tick forwards faster than real time. Traveling from place to place happens instantly in the real world, but make the clock skip forwards by an appropriate amount.
- It May Help You on Your Quest: Chang Li gives you a few seemingly random items. Two are joke items. One is body armor. One appears to be a Joke Item, but gets you past a puzzle with minimal effort.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen OneBlade: What happens to this "chosen one"?Bum: He gets cut into a thousand pieces.Blade: That's reassuring.Bum: But he does save the universe!
- Made of Explodium: Blowing up the electric company's meter on the villains' chemical plant blows the whole building sky high.
- Mercy Mode: Die five times in the arcade sequences, and the PC version of the game offers to let you skip them.
- MST: One of the Sega CD port, courtesy of Slowbeef and Diabetus of Retsupurae fame.
- The Needs of the Many: The mayor directly calls out this trope in the best ending to justify manipulating Blade and putting the lives of him and Karyn in danger, with the ultimate goal of taking down the entire drug operation."I can live with the sacrifice of two people if it means fourteen million can be saved."
- Nice Hat: Johnny Quong's pimp hat. The only time he takes it off is right before his execution.
- NPC Scheduling: Most key events happen at a specific time and date of the In-Universe Game Clock.
- One-Winged Angel: Just prior to the final arcade sequence, Bahamut reveals the true purpose of the designer "drug."
- Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: To make amends with Karyn for standing her up (see below), Blade Hunter must spend $200 plus tax to buy her "Organically Grown Roses."
- Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: Shortly before the game begins, Blade stood up Karyn for their date and she was left watching Rambo 12 on the TV in her evening dress.
- Save Scumming: There are quite a lot of ways to either end the game or render it Unwinnable.
- Screw Destiny: Both the hero and the villain have reason to follow the prophecy up to a point. Which point that is differs between the two of them.
- Shout-Out: Aside from the city bearing a strong resemblance to Blade Runner, the video sequence showing the effect that MZT has on human blood cells is an obvious reference to The Thing (1982).
- Slasher Smile: Jonny Quong sports one so often it's a wonder he isn't in jail on suspicion of being a serial killer.
- Sniper Pistol: Failing to pick up the BFG doesn't hinder your performance in the sniper battle at all.
- Talk to the Fist: In the ending, Blade gets to do this to the Mayor.
- Unwinnable: There are a number of ways to render the game unwinnable. In precisely one case, Blade has the courtesy of notifying the player of this.
- The manual boasts that the game doesn't allow unwinnable situations. This means all the ways you can get stuck are Unwinnable by Mistake.
- What Happened To The Jake?
- Yellow Peril: The Big Bad in charge of the Ancient Conspiracy, along with a few of his lieutenants, are middle-aged Chinese men with Fu Manchu mustaches.
- You Have Failed Me: Deng Hwang to Johnny Quong, for failing to stop Blade.
- And again with Chen Lu, who drew needless heat to the cult with Chandra's death, prompting Hwang to send The Snake after him.