Above the Excavation
- Panzer Dragoon Saga
Above the Excavation is the first playable flight area experienced by players of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Edge and his newfound dragon first entered the Above the Excavation area directly after Edge escaped from a number of pure-type monsters in the ruins below, and sequentially the area is available to players directly after the Ruins Bottom Floor area.
On the back of the dragon who had just saved his life and chosen him for a rider, Edge emerged from the darkness of the ruins into the sunlight of the Above the Excavation area with a mission to return to the part of the excavation site where Craymen had attacked his fellow mercenaries. He wondered aloud how he would get the dragon to listen to him. Although Edge’s question was self-referring, it may have been intentionally written by Team Andromeda to encourage players controlling Edge to get used to controlling the dragon, with the enemy-free Above the Excavation level being created for this purpose.
Unlike the on-rails flight sections in the previous Panzer Dragoon games, Above the Excavation introduced players to greater control over the dragon’s movement, allowing players to move the dragon in three dimensions and backtrack through the level. Located at the end of level was an Ancient device (a save point) and a tunnel leading out of the area. This tunnel may have led directly to the part of the excavation site where Edge’s wounded Captain was located (the dragon is shown emerging from below in the cut scene that follows) however there may have been some distance which Edge covered off screen between Above the Excavation and the on-foot section experienced by players straight afterwards.
Like the canyon area in the second episode of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Above the Excavation gave players the opportunity of choosing between two different forks of the valley to fly down. The right hand fork contained a number of ropes hanging from either side of the valley. On these ropes hung flags featuring miscellaneous colourful patterns, as well as brown crates. The dragon’s lasers could break the crates to retrieve the items within only if the crates were accessed a number of times.
On the left folk of the valley a number of white birds called conanas could be found perched on the rocky outcrops. By accessing these conanas, players controlling the dragon are taken on a chase following the conanas, through a secret hole in the valley wall which leads to an area called Conana’s Nest. The conana’s nest contained a significant number of conanas, as well as an ancient obelisk containing the first of the twelve D-Units which contained data necessary for the dragon’s transformation into the Light Wing.
Above the Excavation is distinct from the Valley area found later in the game; the Valley is displayed on a separate part of the game’s world map, and is selectable as a separate game location. Although the two locations are located geographically in the same mountain range, they are displayed apart from one another with the significant distance between the two locales. It is unclear if the map is supposed to represent the actual distance between the two locations as it may or may not be to scale.