Kyle was a hunter who became a dragon rider, and then saved the world from the Dark Dragon. He is named Keil Fluge in the original Japanese game, and Kyle is the closest English pronunciation. Kyle is the protagonist of the first Panzer Dragoon game but his status as a hero is sometimes overlooked by fans simply because his character was never explored to any satisfactory degree. His in-game role, which other than the intro, saw no cut scenes that might develop his personality further. His courage is never in short supply, however, so players can assume that it’s woven into the fabric of his identity.
Panzer Dragoon lacks a developed story of its own but is a mere chapter in a story larger than itself. In Panzer Dragoon’s introduction sequence, players feast their eyes on a high quality cinematic (for the time), which attempts to build up an accurate picture of the soon to be main character. It set the standard for future games and set the stage for what was to come. The intro is where players see Kyle in action the most, showing that the part he played in the story cannot be dismissed, lest we ignore how ripples can build up into tides to steer the course of history. A theme of Panzer Dragoon is that even the unlikeliest of person can make a difference and have an impact in shaping the world around them.
Very little is revealed about Kyle in the Panzer Dragoon series. One reason for this is due to Kyle’s lack of dialogue during the game. The Sky Rider has more lines than he does in the script. Another reason is because in other Panzer Dragoon games, almost any reference made about him is next to non-existent.
The dragon shared a bond with Kyle that was almost like friendship. Protecting one another from villains, the dragon with his homing lasers and Kyle with his gun. The dragon showed enough affection towards Kyle and knew to protect him. He displayed this when he transported Kyle to a beach so he would not face further danger; this conveyed that the dragon cared.
There was also a mental and physical bond Kyle shared with the dragon. As stated in Panzer Dragoon Orta’s encyclopaedia, the dragon requires a rider to share senses with to realise his full potential as a powerful and successful fighting machine. This is represented in Panzer Dragoon’s camera angles, where the player can rotate the camera to left, right, and behind the dragon, angles that are outside the dragon’s viewpoint by not that of Kyle. The dragon needed Kyle and would most likely not have been able to defeat the Dark Dragon were it not for Kyle’s assistance.
Kyle’s Role in Panzer Dragoon
The opening sequence to Panzer Dragoon shows Kyle and his companions riding through a sunburnt valley on their coolias when something huge casts an unmissable shadow over them. They saw a battleship flying overhead which soon captured their attention. The ship came to a stop as if it is searching for something and the group wondered out loud to themselves if it is one of theirs.
They were so distracted by the ship that the group failed to notice something moving under the ground behind them. As their guard was let down, a burrower shot up from the earth and knocked one of the riders off their mount (burrowers are scorpion-like creatures that dig just beneath the ground whilst leaving a trail of broken earth in their wake).
Kyle kicked his mount into high gear and chased the burrowing monster, but despite carefully aiming his crossbow, his arrows were dodged and the monster escaped into the distance. Despite slipping through his grasp, Kyle refused to allow the killer monster to escape, and continued onwards to try to follow it wherever it went.
Another burrower burst up from the earth alongside him, but this time, Kyle’s shot was dead centre as the scorpion-like creature threw itself at him. Kyle’s excellent hand-eye coordination showed his prey who was hunting whom.
Kyle continued his hunt until he reached the entrance to a ruin buried into the side of the valley. He entered an Ancient Age warehouse filled with strange creatures hanging silently from the ceiling. It seemed like a graveyard of old world technology best left in the past. Unsure of what awaited him, Kyle kept moving. Not deterred by the fear of the unknown and determined not to stop until the job is done.
Before Kyle realised it, his coolia walked onto a huge elevator, which rised at a close distance alongside the inhuman creations. The silent creatures were inactive or incomplete pure-type monsters, but Kyle soon confirmed the presence of something alive when the lift reached the upper level of the ruin.
When the elevator stops, something shrieked from above and fell on the ground in front of him. Kyle looked down to see the vicious burrower he was chasing bleeding and shaking in agony. Before he could react, laser beams rained down on Kyle, closely missing him, and a giant shelled monster jumped down on him. Kyle jumped off his mount before the monster landed, crushing his coolia under its clawed feet and bodyweight.
Kyle faced an Ancient, clawed monster, encased in shell-like armour-plating. He ran from the creature, trying not to look back, only to be reminded that it was not far behind him by the sound of its giant claws hitting the ground as it chased him.
Kyle reached a dead end in both a literal and metaphorical sense. The monster roared as if enraged by the human interloper’s presence. Cornered and left with no alternatives, Kyle unloaded all of the arrows in his auto-reloading crossbow into the creature. But the bolts ricocheted. The towering creature cornered Kyle and it soon seemed as if Kyle’s life was about to come to an end. The ultimate irony for a hunter is to become the hunted and this seemed to be Kyle’s fate until the ground started shaking and a huge rock fell from above, crushing the monster to death.
Kyle looked up to see where the huge rock had fallen from when suddenly a blue dragon swooped down through a hole in the rocky ceiling above and soared past him into the distance. Soon after, another larger black dragon entered the ruin in close pursuit. Kyle almost could not believe what he is seeing and was so stunned by the sight of such powerful creatures that he dropped his weapon as if he felt so powerless compared to them that he might as well give up. He succumbed to that sense of powerlessness completely and dropped to the ground.
Not long after, Kyle saw a tide of flames rapidly approaching in the distance and lighting up the corridor in front of him. The Blue Dragon was trying to stay ahead of an expanding fireball, which quickly started to vaporise everything around him. Kyle, swept up in the explosion, fell into unconsciousness.
After waking up, Kyle eventually stumbled over the sound of two dragons fighting one another in the background. A huge black dragon was locked in a head-to-tail chase with the smaller Blue Dragon coated in bony plating, and showed no signs of relenting. The Blue Dragon swerved away from a fireball and pushed high into the air above by the resulting spherical explosion.
The rider of the Blue Dragon looked down to see what he had just narrowly avoided, only to look up to see his mistake swooping down on him.
The rider was shot through the chest by what seemed to be a lightening fast laser beam coming from the black dragon and was thereby fatally wounded. As when Kyle and his friends were distracted by the battleship in the valley, this distraction was a detrimental one and consequently cost the rider his life.
Kyle could only watch helplessly on his knees at a distance. The Blue Dragon glided down towards him and landed next to Kyle who scrambled away a few inches at first, not sure what to think. The armoured rider reached out his hand to Kyle in a gesture of friendship and Kyle reaches out his own to honour the dying rider’s wish.
Just as their arms connected, Kyle’s mind raced through a long tunnel of neon colours where suddenly, much to his surprise, he realised that he was floating in mid air over a dark ocean in front of a huge black towering structure. It appeared real to him, perhaps indistinguishable from reality. Both the clouds overhead and tides of the sea underneath are moving at furious speeds; a storm is brewing.
Kyle saw the Dark Dragon entering the monolith while a voice struggles to speak: “Don’t… let him go back to the Tower… my dragon… knows the way”. Kyle was pulled back through the tunnel in time to hear the Sky Rider utter one last word full of desperation: “Please”. The rider’s wound glowed bright green and released a stream of green particles before his body hits the ground dead. Kyle stared in curiosity as they scatter into the air. The dragon looked to the sky and let loose a heart stopping roar to mourn his fallen comrade. The dragon looked at Kyle and in the form of a gentle cry asked for an answer.
The Sky Rider in his last breath connected telepathically with Kyle and begged him to stop the black dragon and his rider from reaching the Tower. To fulfil this task, he entrusted his dragon to Kyle.
Kyle decided not to let the Sky Rider die for nothing and therefore decided to finish what he had started: to stop the Dark Dragon from reaching the Tower at all costs. Kyle picked up the huge gun that once belonged to the Sky Rider and mounted the armoured Blue Dragon to rid existence of the Dark Dragon. Kyle fully grasped the gravity of what was being asked of him and took the reigns of destiny. The hunter lets his hunter’s instincts take control of him once again.
The Sky Rider’s ancient weapon fired pulses of white energy of incredible destructive power that cut through armour sometimes like it didn’t exist. Weapons like this were highly coveted by the Empire, but for Kyle, the gun was merely a means to an end. He completed his mission no matter who or what stood in the way.
However, the Dark Dragon reached the fabled Tower in spite of Kyle’s and his dragon’s efforts to stop it after all. The Tower went active the moment the Dark Dragon was within communication range, so there was an urgent need to deactivate it as soon as possible to save the lives of the people in the surrounding area. Kyle and the Blue Dragon took up the challenge, and nothing that stood (or flew rather) before them survived.
The Blue Dragon and Kyle killed the Tower’s guardian, the Dark Dragon, which enlarged itself after entering the Tower itself. Even when all hope seemed lost when the darker dragon (in both nature and intent) made them seem like insects in comparison, the two prevailed against all the odds. And even the Empire’s huge fleet was powerless to stop them. Before catching up with the Dark Dragon, the Empire threw everything it had at its dragon nemesis to stop it from reaching the capital but armoured warships armed with missile launchers weren’t adequate for the task of defeating a living weapon of the old world (the Empire was actually trying to capture both dragons, but to no avail).
Kyle helped destroy a Tower, not to mention an army of bio-monsters it was built to mass produce, and thus saved the world. Few can boast such an accomplishment. Kyle succeeded where the Sky Rider – who seemed quite experienced – failed. His expert aiming skills certainly came in handy; being used to riding a coolia no doubt contributed as well.
At the end of Panzer Dragoon the Blue Dragon vaporised the grey Tower outside the Imperial capital, but not before surrounding Kyle with a protective orb of surging energy and floating him out of harm’s way. Kyle woke up afterwards on a sandy shore to find footprints in the sand around him; the pattern of the dragon’s feet. Kyle looked up to the sky to see sun rays pushing through the clouds. Players are not shown what happens from that point onwards. History appears to have forgotten about Kyle despite the fact that he saved the world, but if it wasn’t for him, the dragon may not have made it to the end.