Cameos in Panzer Dragoon Orta
While Panzer Dragoon Orta may have been different in style from the older games, there are still a lot of references to the old saga. Various Imperial ships, creatures and characters from the Saturn trilogy return to make an appearance.
- Classic Ships
- Golia and Catharp
- Didars and Madidars
- Pussa Bubos and Hoppers
- Sunken Ruins
- Sestren’s Memory Cells
- The Central Data Unit Ofnir
- Sealance Images
- The Imperial Defense Unit Bacharsuha
- The Final Form of Abadd’s Mare
- Panzer Dragoon Vier
- Pandora’s Box
- The Meccania Federation
- Blue Dragon and Panzer Wing
- The Music in Iva’s Story
While the in-game ships are all new and show the influence from the Southerners, the opening FMV shows ships that have a more “classic” appearance. These ships are very similar to those of the old Empire. The reason why these ships appear only in this full motion video could be explained by the fact that the full motion videos were probably created long before the new ship designs were finalised. Except for the Vermana, we don’t see any new ships like the ones we later see in-game either.
The Imperial ships from the previous games were often comprised of a metal hull suspended below a float engine, whereas Panzer Dragoon Orta’s new ships tend to be built around their float engines, or are even situated on top of them.
One of the illustrations that appears in the credits sequence (named “Ending 5” in Pandora’s Box) shows Imperial soldiers standing beneath a sky filled with Imperial ships. These ships, particularly the closest one, look much more like the old-fashioned ships from previous Panzer Dragoon games than any of the new designs from Panzer Dragoon Orta.
Unlike the other old-fashioned ships than can be glimpsed in the game’s opening FMV though, these ships do seem to be decked out in the bright colours and ornamental designs of the current Empire, creating an interesting merging of styles.
Coolias are one of the few mutated monsters in the world that can be easily tamed and domesticated, and consequently they are used by many cultures and peoples as riding animals or beasts of burden. Coolias have appeared throughout the Panzer Dragoon series, and the dragon known as Lagi even began his life as a mutant coolia pup. The coolias’ appearance in Panzer Dragoon Orta is probably their smallest role to date however, as it would be easy to overlook them as they stand around amidst the chaos of episode 1’s Seeker city.
The description of drones in this game’s encyclopaedia states that some of them are “nearly indistinguishable from real humans”. Azel, the drone who appeared in Panzer Dragoon Saga, would apparently fit into this category quite well while Abadd of course does not. Azel once said that in biological terms, drones are much closer to the pure-type monsters of the Ancients than they are to humans; while this was not immediately apparent in her case, Abadd literally looks like a humanoid pure-type monster.
Despite not having human aesthetics like Azel, Abadd is still physically similar to her in some ways. The strange elongated point that he has coming out of the back of his head particularly links his form to hers; this weird point was “disguised” as hair in Azel’s case, but it serves no obvious purpose for either of them.
The Wormrider people rode around on mutated monsters called baldors, but in Panzer Dragoon Saga these creatures played quite a different role. In the first main area of that game (the valley), wild baldors appeared as standard enemies; they were evidently a slightly different variety to the ones seen in Panzer Dragoon Orta too, as they had two large rows of spiny ridges running along their backs.
Some of these old-fashioned baldors do exist in this game however, as a few can be glimpsed in the FMV sequence where Orta approaches the Wormriders’ village. The baldor that Elder Ponta rides on would seem to be yet another variation as well, as it has a single fin-like ridge on its tail.
Panzer Dragoon Saga also revealed what baldor queens look like, as they appeared in its first main area too, taking the role of sub-bosses. A baldor queen was a very strangely shaped mass that suspended itself between the walls of the valley, and they spawned baby baldors to attack Edge and his dragon.
Enormous mutated monsters known as yondo-worms pose problems for Orta and the Wormriders during episode 2. Interestingly, the encyclopaedia description for yondo-worms states that although these amphibious worms only exist in this region, “many worm-type bio-engineered creatures are found in forests and deserts”. These different varieties of worm have in fact already been seen, as they appeared in the previous Panzer Dragoon games.
Forest-dwelling worms could be found in episode 3 of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, where they burrowed out of the ground and flew through the trees to attack Lundi and Lagi. As for desert-dwelling worms, two different kinds of them have been seen to date: one type appeared in episode 2 of the first Panzer Dragoon game, and the other showed up in the Garil Desert from Panzer Dragoon Saga. The latter kind were apparently harmless however (or rather, they were not aggressive), unlike most worms.
Golia and Catharp
Episode 3 of Panzer Dragoon Zwei was set in a verdant forest, and its boss was an enormous pure-type monster called a golia. The way this huge creature moved was very ape-like, as it loped along using all four of its limbs and it even swung through the treetops at times. Episode 3 of Panzer Dragoon Orta has a creature called a catharp as its boss, and it seems to be surprisingly reminiscent of that golia.
The catharp is also a massive pure-type that spends much of its time on all fours, but it looks much more human-like in appearance and proportions than the golia did. This gives rise to some interesting imagery, as not only does the catharp look less ape-like than its predecessor, but it rears up onto its hind legs towards the end of the battle, beginning to even walk like a human.
Although it is likely not meant to have any literal meaning, the imagery of these bosses genuinely seems to allude to evolution and the passing of time. This impression is carried on even through the landscape that surrounds each boss; the lush forest of Panzer Dragoon Zwei has been replaced by a post-apocalyptic city, just as the ape has been replaced by the human.
Like the baldors that Mobo’s tribe ride around on, the enormous variety of mutated monster that their village is built upon - known as a lathum - has played a very different role in the past. The second main area of Panzer Dragoon Saga was set in a place called the Garil Desert, and a lathum appeared there as a sub-boss.
In Panzer Dragoon Saga a lathum was described as being an “enormous mountain of slime and steam” that gave off a horrible smell, and the Seeker known as Gash went as far as to call it the “most disgusting thing alive”. The Empire’s opinion of the Wormriders was that they are “disgusting” savages, and it’s likely that this was partly because they built their homes on such a creature.
Didars and Madidars
Mutated monsters known as didars can be seen in episode 5 of Panzer Dragoon Orta, and it seems that they are a close relative of the stryders that appeared in the Garil Desert from Panzer Dragoon Saga. Both of these creatures have very similarly shaped bodies, and they bound along in the same fashion. As with the didars and their stronger variant the madidars, two slightly different kinds of stryders existed in the Garil Desert: there were normal stryders, and there were also tougher ones called stryder hunters, which had an enormous horn on their heads.
In Panzer Dragoon Saga alone it seemed that these creatures had evolved and adapted to some very diverse climates, as an aquatic variation of the stryders could be found on the lake around the ruins of Uru. Dubbed “neo-stryders”, these creatures’ bodies had adapted to let them run across the surface of the water.
Once again, there were two different sub-varieties of this creature: normal neo-stryders and stronger neo-stalkers. As neo-stryders were meant to be a crossbreed between normal stryders and a different monster called a lazara (which also appeared in Panzer Dragoon Saga), it seems likely that this game’s didars are a similar crossbreed.
Pussa Bubos and Hoppers
Like the didars, the enormous pussa bubos from episode 5 also seem to be related to an enemy from Panzer Dragoon Saga: they bear a strong resemblance to the monsters called hoppers, which appeared in the Garil Desert as well.
The main physical difference between hoppers and pussa bubos was that a hopper had small “legs” that lifted its bulk off the ground, but in all other ways they were physically very similar. Like pussa bubos, hoppers also spewed damaging projectiles out of the tops of their bodies, which were crowned by floppy “petals” in exactly the same fashion. As both of these creatures are mutated monsters, it seems likely that they have a very similar ancestry.
According to the encyclopaedia, the erkists that appear in episode 5 are a “subspecies of the species called goraias, which can usually be found near the southern regions of the Imperial Meccania district”. Goraias appeared as enemies in episode 2 of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, which took place near a Meccania outpost. The goraias’ attack patterns were very similar to those of the erkists, as they burrowed through the ground and leaped out to attack the dragon in more or less the same way.
Other variations of these creatures are known to exist, too. In the opening sequence of the first Panzer Dragoon game Kyle was attacked by creatures called burrowers, which were also extremely similar to goraias, and which appeared as enemies in Episode 2 of that game as well. The Garil Desert from Panzer Dragoon Saga also featured hidden enemies called sand mites, which were yet another variety of this same overall species.
While this is likely not a direct reference to any earlier games, the ruined pillars that can be seen on episode 5’s left-hand route and the sunken ruins at the end of the area are very reminiscent of the mysterious sunken city from episode 1 of the first Panzer Dragoon game. Given the known geography of the Panzer Dragoon world it is vaguely possible that the sunken ruins from these two games are meant to be one and the same (or at least that they are meant to be different parts of the same sprawling ruined city), but it is equally possible that they are meant to exist in different locations.
Sestren’s Memory Cells
Depending on how quickly you defeat the two sub-bosses in episode 7 (Forbidden Memories), you can be taken to a variety of different memory cells. The memory cells immediately after the first sub-boss all contain dialogue from earlier in this game, but the memory cells following the second sub-boss do not. Three of the five memory cells from this second group contain dialogue from the previous Panzer Dragoon games, and the origins of these lines are as follows:
All ground units mobilized. Security measures initiated.
Don’t… let him reach the tower… My dragon… knows the way…
These pieces of dialogue are from the original Panzer Dragoon game. The first lines were spoken by the voice coming from the Tower, and they were referring to the hordes of pure-type monsters that the Tower released towards the end of the game. The second lines are from the game’s opening sequence, where the dying Sky Rider warned Kyle to stop the Dark Dragon from returning to the Tower.
It is worth noting that - as with most of the dialogue in these memory cells - the exact words used here differ slightly from those used in the previous games. This seems to be a simple matter of them being different English translations of the original Japanese dialogue. (If these discrepancies were being considered in a storyline context though, they could all be regarded as different translations of the Panzerese language.)
Purging of bug initiated.
He will… always be with me.
The first line above was evidently spoken by the old Sestren AI when it ejected the Heresy Program out of its systems, which was shown to the player in Sestren’s “memory orbs” at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga. The second line was the final piece of dialogue from Panzer Dragoon Zwei, where Lundi (the rider from that game) reflected how Lagi would always be with him in spirit, even if he was destined never to be reunited with his dragon friend.
We’re not really alive… We’re just being forced to live.
The Ancients’ spirits are making sure of that.
These lines from Panzer Dragoon Saga were spoken by Gash, one of the game’s main characters. He was talking about how the Tower network and Sestren allowed the human race to survive, while at the same time they kept humankind subdued.
The Central Data Unit Ofnir
According to the description of the Central Data Unit Ofnir in the encyclopaedia, this biological database “closely resembles a baltor”. Baltors are evidently the huge desert-dwelling worms seen in episode 2 of the first Panzer Dragoon game, as this entity looks just like an artificial version of one of them; like them it has three “eyes”, and also three large mandibles on either side of its face.
The focus of Panzer Dragoon Zwei was Lundi and Lagi’s epic struggle to destroy the flying Tower known as Shelcoof, which had annihilated Lundi’s village in its attempt to take out the dragon. Shelcoof was encountered again in Panzer Dragoon Saga, after its automated repair systems had apparently been restoring the damaged craft for quite some time; Edge’s actions presumably destroyed it for good, however. Shelcoof’s cameo appearance in this game is in Sestren, as a virtual construct of the flying Tower can be seen in the distance on one of the routes through the data network.
The program-entities called “sealance images” that appear around the virtual Shelcoof in episode 7 are actually based on an existing pure-type monster called a sealance, which originally appeared in Panzer Dragoon Zwei. Episode 6 of that game was set in and around Shelcoof itself, and this particular kind of pure-type was probably the most common creature that the flying Tower released.
The Imperial Defense Unit Bacharsuha
The boss from episode 3 of the original Panzer Dragoon game was a strange Imperial craft that alternated between hopping on massive hydraulic legs and flying like a helicopter. One of its primary attacks was to try and damage the dragon with its rotating blades, and it seems that the Empire has reused this design concept with the Imperial Defense Unit Bacharsuha. One of the attacks that this boss of episode 8 favours is a rotating array of electrical beams, and this attack has to be avoided in exactly the same manner as that of the Panzer Dragoon boss.
The Final Form of Abadd’s Mare
At the end of the game Abadd’s Mare becomes physically upgraded with masses of armour and weaponry from the Cradle, in exactly the same way that the Dark Dragon (from Panzer Dragoon) and the Guardian Dragon (from Panzer Dragoon Zwei) were enhanced by their respective Towers. As well as this, the Mare’s final form even looks very similar to that of the enhanced Dark Dragon from Panzer Dragoon. Both of them appear serpent-like due to an extremely long “tail” trailing behind them, and in both cases the original creature’s head can be seen poking out at the very front of the armoured casing.
Panzer Dragoon Vier
The game’s title is displayed at the beginning of the credits sequence, but when the game is completed on Hard Mode this title is given as Panzer Dragoon Vier rather than Panzer Dragoon Orta. “Vier” is the German word for “four”, and Panzer Dragoon Orta is the fourth game in the series; this alternative title uses the same convention that the title of Panzer Dragoon Zwei (the second game) did, as “zwei” is German for “two”.
The concept of having extra features which could be unlocked by skill was used before in Panzer Dragoon Zwei, where the menu of extras offered almost exactly the same options that the “Box Game” in Panzer Dragoon Orta does. The name of this menu in Panzer Dragoon Zwei was actually “Pandra’s Box” rather than “Pandora’s Box” however, as “PanDra” is an abbreviation for “Panzer Dragoon”, if a rarely used one.
The Meccania Federation
Although the encyclopaedia entries for Former Teed and Former Li Vis don’t really relate to anything from the previous games, the entry for the Former Meccania Federation refers to the background story of Panzer Dragoon Zwei. At that time the Empire was trying to invade the nearby nation-state of Meccania, and episode 2 of the game saw the player passing through a Meccania outpost while it was under attack.
The Encyclopedia reference here states that the Meccania Federation “had learned to use various weapons of the Ancient Age, such as the blitz cannons”. The only Ancient Age weapons that they were seen to use in Panzer Dragoon Zwei were powerful mounted laser cannons that seemed to slice through Imperial ships; they would fit the description of “blitz cannons” quite perfectly.
Blue Dragon and Panzer Wing
One of the alternative dragons that can be unlocked and selected from the “Box Game” menu is the iconic Blue Dragon, which served as the final (or only) form of the dragon in each of the previous Panzer Dragoon games. Another hidden dragon is the Panzer Wing, which was the fourth evolutionary form that the dragon took on in Panzer Dragoon Saga.
Surprisingly enough, Azel (the drone who appeared in Panzer Dragoon Saga) is available as an alternate dragon rider in the “Box Game” menu. An “Azel” costume can also be chosen for Orta, and it gives her a distinctive white and black drone body.
The Music in Iva’s Story
Much of the music that plays during the storyline segments of Iva’s sub-scenario is taken directly from Panzer Dragoon Saga, and much of it was evidently chosen because of particular appropriateness.
For example, the music that plays during the opening text for episode 1 - when Iva talks about his father’s death - was used in a similar context in Panzer Dragoon Saga. In that game it played during the full motion video where Edge found his Captain, who was certainly a father-figure to him, dying at the Imperial excavation site.
The music that plays when Iva starts crying during the opening to episode 4 has a similar significance, too. That music was used in a Panzer Dragoon Saga full motion video where Edge told Azel of Craymen’s murderous past, and questioned why she was loyal to him; she seemed to be momentarily overcome with sadness and remorse.
Another relevant piece of music is the one that plays during the opening to episode 6, when Emid tells Iva of the Seekers’ goals and nature; this exact same piece was used in the Panzer Dragoon Saga full motion video where Gash told Edge of the Seekers’ true nature, which had hitherto been kept secret from him. This tune was also used as the background music for the Seekers’ Stronghold.
Other pieces of music from Panzer Dragoon Saga are featured as well, although they are not so immediately relevant. The music that plays during the openings to episodes 2 and 3 was the music that played whenever Edge was at one of his campsites, for example. The ominous music that accompanies mentions of the “Dragon of Destruction” in the openings to episodes 5 and 6 appeared in Panzer Dragoon Saga too, where it was played at the Ancient Age ruins in the Garil Desert and in the Forest of Zoah. Finally, the music that plays while Iva reads the letter from his father was originally used in the Village of Zoah from Panzer Dragoon Saga, in the part of the village known as the “Holy District”.