Dragon Breed

Arcade Video game kit published 33 years ago by Irem

Dragon Breed screenshot

Listed and emulated in MAME.

Dragon Breed © 1989 Irem Corp.

Dragon Breed is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up in which the player controls the game's hero, Kayus, who is riding on the back of a fully articulated dragon named 'Bahamoot'. The dragon is immune to enemy attacks, capable of blocking most projectiles and of damaging and eventually killing enemies on contact. Dragon rider Kayus is armed with a forward-firing crossbow but unlike his steed, is not invulnerable and will be killed by contact with either enemies or their projectiles.

What separates Dragon Breed from other games in the genre is in how the Dragon can be utilised. Bahamoot's body is flexible and responds to Kayus' movement, enabling Kayus to use Bahamoot as both a mobile shield and a whip-like weapon. It's also possible to encircle the tail around a group of enemies to kill them. The tail of the yellow or blue dragon can be coiled around the dragon's rider to offer almost complete invulnerability for a limited time.

Bahamoot can also spit fireballs. By holding the fire button down, the dragon will build up fire in its mouth; the longer the button is held down, the more powerful the fireball will be. There are four levels of fireball power and at its strongest, the fireball resembles a dragon's head.

Power-ups appear in the form of orbs, acquired by shooting small green dragons that appear intermittently throughout stages. There are four different types of orbs, each of will change Bahamoot to a different colour and grant him a new attack power:
* Red orb enables the dragon to breathe a flame.
* Gold orb enables Bahamoot's body to fire crescents in all directions.
* Silver orb enables the dragon to produce up to four miniature dragons, which home in on enemies.
* Blue orb enables Bahamoot to fire bolts of electricity downwards from its underside.

The player can enhance a specific power by picking up the same type of orb, this can be done up to three times.

Dragon Breed also includes platforming elements. At certain points during a stage horizontal platforms appear, these often have power-ups on them and the dragon rider can dismount and run along the platforms while the dragon waits above.

Goodies for Dragon Breed
Click to enlarge
(members only)

This game was only sold as a conversion kit, although many distributors would pre-install these kits in generic cabinets, and sell them to the public that way. This is a JAMMA compatible title, so any JAMMA cabinet could be a proper Dragon Breed cabinet. The control panel to this title has a single 8-Way joystick, with fire and jump buttons on either side of it (so you can play either left or right handed). The marquee for this title is a highly detailed scene of a knight riding a green dragon, while being attacked by what appears to be a group of carnivorous fish. Although you may encounter this title in a cocktail cabinet (as the circuit board supports the screen flip for the second player), there were no specific graphics made for a cocktail cabinet (So the game will appear either unmarked, or perhaps with a few of the graphics from the upright kit jury rigged into place).

Irem M-81 system hardware

Screen orientation : Horizontal
Video resolution : 384 x 256 pixels
Screen refresh : 55.00 Hz
Palette colors : 512

Players : 1
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons: 2
=> [A] Shoot, [B] Jump


Dragon Breed was released in June 1989.

The game borrows quite a few game design elements from Irem's "R-type" classic shooter series!

Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Dragon Breed - PCCB-00006) on October 21, 1989.

Goodies for Dragon Breed
Click to see more
(members only)

* Secret Invincibility :
1) Turn DIP 2-7 ON.
2) Reset the game with holding Player 1-Button 2.
3) You will be able to start a game with invincibility.

* Dragon Breed power-ups :
Red : the dragon breathes a flame. The flame gets longer if more power-ups are collected.
Yellow : the dragon's body starts to fire tiny yellow crescents in all directions.
White : the dragon shoots up to four miniature dragons, which home in on enemies.
Blue : the dragon fires downward bolts of electricity from its underside.


[EU] Atari ST (1990)
[EU] Commodore Amiga (1990)
[US] [EU] Commodore C64 (1990)
[EU] Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1990)
[EU] Amstrad CPC (1991)
[EU] PC [MS Windows, Online] (dec.9, 2011) "IREM Arcade Hits" by DotEmu
[US] Apple MacIntosh [Online] (aug.21, 2011) "Irem Arcade Hits" by DotEmu
[US] PC [Desura] (nov.2, 2013) "IREM Arcade Hits" by Plug In Digital


Game's manual.
Game's picture.
Game's ROMs.
Game's screenshots.