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This article is about Fire Dragon (Game Boy). For the Famicom game of the same name, see Fire Dragon.

Fire Dragon (瓜瓜火龍) is an unlicensed game for the Game Boy developed by a group of people connected to Gamtec and Vast Fame. The earliest known release of the game is from Gowin as a single cart on December 1998.[1] It shares a name with the Famicom game of the same name by Gamtec, as well as the core gameplay concept of that game and the Mega Drive game credited to Songtly and Jumbo Team named Link Dragon (also known as 龍行天下 and Long (龍)), which are themselves clones of Snake.

Overview[]

Fire Dragon plays similarly to Snake, where you control a slender dragon at a top-down view and eat fireballs to make it grow longer. Like the Famicom game of the same name and Link Dragon, stages are added and you have to eat a certain number of fireballs to complete a stage. Each stage in Fire Dragon has a background, similar to Link Dragon. The game has 50 playable stages in total. By stage 10, the game starts adding floating ball hazards that when touched by the dragon's head, results in you losing a life. The first 45 stages can be selected on the option screen that appears when the game starts, but by stage 46, you have to linearly play through the remaining 5 stages to complete the game. You can still continue from those stages if you game over on them, though. Once the game is completed, you are greeted with a credits sequence that displays a drawing of an anthropomorphic dragon in a jacket with heart-pupil eyes and a plate of balls of fire with faces on them in front of it, who is holding up a fork with one of the balls on it.

This game appears to be based off of Link Dragon specifically as it has lives and an option screen with options for lives, how many fireballs that should appear in every stage, and what stage to start in. Some of the songs used in the game are also renditions of music from Link Dragon. Unlike the Famicom and Mega Drive games, the Game Boy version has no difficulty levels, adds a score counter and a timer in levels, the latter of which will result in you losing a life when it reaches 0, and instead of having to enter a tube/door (Famicom and Mega Drive versions, respectively) to complete a stage, the stage automatically ends when all fireballs are collected. The Game Boy version also has a unique stage complete screen that appears after completing a stage that features an anthropomorphic depiction of a dragon in a jacket. It also has its own game over screen and credits sequence, both of which also use art of the same dragon. If you complete a stage in the Game Boy version, the number of lives will reset back to what was specified on the option screen, when in the Mega Drive Link Dragon version, lives are not immediately restored once a level is complete.

Credits[]

From the credits sequence:

STAFF

STORY: Grateful Liu

PROGRAM: Jacy Wu
Grateful Liu

GRAPHIC: Ryohga Ju
Han Min Liao
Tzy Yi Lin

MUSIC: Han Min Liao

Vast Fame multicart version[]

Fire Dragon DMG (Early Build) Title Screen

Title screen of the Vast Fame multicart version.

Circa 2002, a prerelease version of Fire Dragon would see releases on three multicarts for the Game Boy Color alongside other earlier versions of mono Gowin games by the unlicensed game developer and publisher Vast Fame, Gold Version 12-in-1 (金版中文RPG戰略+動作+益智12in1), Silver Version 12-in-1, and Shishang Chaoqiang RPG + Gedou + Yizhi Ban Zuhe Ka 18 in 1 (史上超強RPG+格鬥+益智版組合卡18in1). The game is named "FIRE DRAGON" on the menu of all three multicarts. The title screen on the version included in the Silver Version 12-in-1 and 18 in 1 uses a completely different name, 龍行天下, which also happens to be the name used on the box of Link Dragon. Some stages in this version are also glitched and will have open boundaries and random tiles. For the latter specifically, some of these tiles can be interacted with and will either kill the dragon and cause you to lose a life, or play the sound for when a fireball is collected but not count for the number of fireballs collected.

Trivia[]

  • This game credits staff known to have worked for Gamtec and Chuanpu Technology, going by the fact that some of the names/psuedonyms have appeared in or are similar to other credited names in games produced by both companies (i.e., Zhenxin Zhu/"Ryohga Ju" was an artist for Gamtec and Yishen Liao/"Han Min Liao" is known to have produced music for both Gamtec and Chuanpu games). Some of them are also known to have worked on games by Jumbo Team or Vast Fame, the latter possibly explaining why a version of the game would be included on multicarts released by them.
  • The common ROM dump of this game is a cracked version of the Gowin release by "GYY", who would also crack several other mono Gowin games (save for Sound of the Pipa, which was likely developed by a different development team, Story of Lasama, and Binary Monster) as well as the final version of The King of Fighters '97 for the Game Boy. Strangely, their name is also mentioned in the ROM headers for the earlier builds of the mono Gowin games on the Vast Fame multicarts, hinting at some kind of connection between "GYY" and Vast Fame.
  • When the game restarts if a soft reset is performed or after the credits sequence is finished, any graphics that are still kept in VRAM (for the latter case, this means the credits screen) will fade in for a few seconds and then fade out. This behavior is even done when the game is started up for the first time, but with no actual graphics to show, which implies that the game was originally meant to have a splash screen before the game started, possibly with company credits. Any evidence of a version of this game with such a screen being released is currently unknown.
  • Gowin would feature this game on both of their known self published multicarts (KKL-01 and KKL-05).

References[]

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