Going Hands-On With Crimson Dragon (Xbox Live Arcade/Kinect)

The spiritual successor of Panzer Dragoon does just fine with motion controls.

First introduced at a Microsoft event in Tokyo a couple of years back, Crimson Dragon has been hidden in secrecy for some time, with Yukio Futatsuki, the creator of Sega’s Panzer Dragoon series, and his team toiling away on its spiritual successor for Xbox Live Arcade.  But recently, Microsoft provided us a hands-on opportunity with the upcoming release, giving us the ability to fly around with a dragon using body motions.  And you know what?  It’s not half bad.

The demo we got to try out was a brief one-level demo, designed to give us an idea what to expect in terms of the game’s controls.  It also gave us hints about the story, which is a bit similar to Panzer Dragoon, with a youth riding atop a powerful dragon, fighting against oppressive enemies populating a fantasy-based world.

Here’s how it works.  You control your dragon’s motions by directing your body movements.  You lean back to tilt upward and push forward to fly down.  You lean side to side to move them left to right.  You’ll need to do this often in the game, as enemies fire down upon you, and you’ll need to avoid their projectiles, or else you’ll risk losing health.

As far as firing goes, you use the right hand to aim on the screen, locking on targets.  Once you’ve got your lock ons targeted (with on-screen reticules), you swing your right arm to fire your shots, with multiple lasers hitting enemies at once.  The left hand, meanwhile, aims a more sudden amount of gunfire on the screen, acting like a cannon of sorts.  This is useful for hitting enemies that are coming at you a little more quickly.

As for the final maneuver, you need to lift up both of your arms and then lower them quickly, which unleashes a “super attack” that eliminates everything on-screen.  As you might expect, this can only be used so many times in a stage, so you best save it for enemies that count, like bosses that take much more damage than plant beasts.