Dragon Breed

The Arcade PCB by Irem Corp.

Dragon Breed screenshot

Emulated in MAME !



Dragon Breed © 1989 Irem Corp.

Dragon Breed is a superb and innovative side-scrolling shoot-em-up from the same gaming stable that gave the world "R*Type", Irem. Dragon Breed differs from other shoot-em-ups through its interpretation of the 'ship' that appears in other games of the genre; in Dragon Breed, the player controls a figure who rides a fully articulated and superbly rendered dragon. What makes this a particularly inspired move is that the Dragon's body - which is invulnerable to enemies and enemy fire - can be used as both a shield and a weapon; the player can move the dragon in such a way that its tail can be used to surround its rider and protect him from his enemies. Any contact the enemy has with the dragon will also deplete the enemy's power and eventually kill it. The dragon can also be 'powered-up' in a similar fashion to the space craft of other shoot-em-ups.

At various point throughout a level, small areas of land will appear at the bottom of the screen. These often contain power-ups and the player can fly the dragon down to the platform, dismount, and move around on foot.


Dragon Breed the  Arcade PCB
Click to enlarge
(members only)
Dragon Breed the  Arcade PCB
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

Main CPU : V30 (@ 8 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 3.579545 Mhz)
Sound Chips : Yamaha YM2151 (@ 3.579545 Mhz), DAC (@ 3.579545 Mhz)

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.


• 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.



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

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

Page last modified on January 14, 2016