Crimson Dragon Side Story swooping over to Xbox Live on Windows Phone next week

Sometimes Xbox Live games get announced well in advance, and other times they just pop up out of nowhere. I could complain about the reticence of the mobile marketing team, but then we’d be here all day. When the surprise game is some puzzler nobody cares about, it’s no big deal. But I have to admit, the game Microsoft just announced for next week could be something very special. Coming September 12 is Crimson Dragon Side Story from Microsoft Studios.

A little history lesson

Why you should care about Crimson Dragon Side Story other than the word ‘Dragon’ in the title? Well, Crimson Dragon just happens to be the revival of SEGA’s classic Panzer Dragoon franchise, whose last entry was Panzer Dragoon Orta on the original Xbox way back in 2003. The series is beloved for its unique dragon designs, fantasy setting, and surrealistic atmosphere. SEGA has inexplicably chosen not to release any more Panzer Dragoon games, and thus it’s fallen on several key members of the series staff to strike out on their own as an indie developer.

Companion to an XBLA game

Xbox 360 version

Their first game, Crimson Dragon, is part of the Panzer Dragoon series in all but name. Like most of its predecessors, Crimson Dragon on Xbox Live Arcade is a rail-shooter. That means the player’s dragon flies forward automatically through each level, allowing the player to fully concentrate on aiming and dodging enemy fire. Along the way the dragon and its rider (or riders, as the XBLA game supports online co-op) will pass over, under, and through some amazingly strange and beautiful scenery, defeating bizarre and gigantic boss monsters at every turn.

The only possible hitch with the Xbox 360 version? It requires the Kinect sensor for motion-tracking controls. The controls could work excellently (Child of Eden is a rail shooter that pulled them off pretty well), but not everyone owns or enjoys the Kinect, limiting the game’s audience. That’s where the Windows Phone version comes in…

The first side-scrolling Windows Phone shoot-em-up

Crimson Dragon Side Story stars a dragonrider named Sana and she investigates a mysterious disease. On top of Story mode, the game also includes an extensive Mission Mode. The latter features challenging missions and boss battles which should greatly enhance the game’s replay value.

Side Story features 3D graphics like its big brother but switches the perspective to 2D, making it a side-scrolling shmup. The series’ famous lock-on shot is still present though, so Side Story should retain much of Crimson Dragon’s feel.

Throughout the game players will unlock an amazing 170 unique Skills to equip. These skills cost Jewels to unlock. Players can earn Jewels in-game or purchase them as PDLC. More interestingly, jewels can also be unlocked by traveling with your phone - not unlike Kinectimals and some of the Game Room Achievements.

Surprisingly, Microsoft makes no mention of connectivity between XBLA and Windows Phone games. That said, the main menu shows a Trading Post option that could involve the Xbox 360 game in some way. At any rate, the mobile Xbox Live lineup needs all the non-casual games it can get, so Crimson Dragon Side Story should stand (or is that fly?) nicely on its own.  We don’t know the price yet, but it’s coming next Wednesday, September 12.

Visit PlayXBLA for more screenshots.

Update: According to this tweet from a member of the Japanese Crimson Dragon staff, Side Story will cost 90 yen/99 cents. Nice!

Thanks to Zebrasqual for the original tip. Thanks to Sacra for the pricing tip!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • just dont be $7 like that Galaga crap.
  • Exactly
  • Awesome. Can't wait
  • If it's anywhere as good as the old Xbox game, I'm buying it as soon as it comes out. I'd even do seven bucks.
  • Not!
  • Now all we need is a port of panzer dragoon saga for windows phone, I kid but it would still be great.
  • Holy crap. I love panzer dragoon, love how crimson is looking, and excited over this title! Best news all day. ;-)
  • I liked Panzer Dragoon
  • Sega, I'll make you a deal. Release the game for free and I'll buy all your PDLC. PDLC on Windows Phone is paid with Microsoft points. Strangely apps can only be bought with credit cards. Many of us don't want to tie a credit card to devices. That's why iTunes and Google Play sell prepaid cards. MS sells points cards that they use on Xbox, Zune, and Games for Windows but not Windows Phone for some reason.
  • The payment method issue is certainly a nuisance. Note that Microsoft is publishing this game, not SEGA. I talk about that a bit in the article (but even I had forgotten before I started researching the article).
  • I use real money to buy prepaid credit cards. Same difference as buying point cards really. Get a refillable card and you are really set. Easy, and my solution.
  • Prepaid credit cards are horrible. Crazy high fees. CNN just did a story on them yesterday.
    Prepaid cards are 'risky' and loaded with fees
  • Wow, looks pretty darn cool. I'm gonna get it. :)
  • I hope this sh***y games are coming until the WP8 phones like the masterpiece (lumia 920) will be oficialy released.After that i will wait a little before buy a WP8 device and will hope for any improvment on the marketplace like droping the prices (the ~80% of the games in the marketplace are worth 0.99$) or release more popular games like cut the rope,angry birds (seasons,space,rio etc.) where's my water,temple run and many more others. P.S It doesn't count only to release and sell a game but i hope in the near future MS will be able to provide games that will always be up to date.It's a shame paying for many games 3x the price of iOS market and after all being left totaly outdated (like almost any xbl game title)
  • What exactly about this game do you find *******? Because as you can see, many of us think it's one of the most exciting games to come along in a while. As for the prices, I don't think they'll change much in the future unless WP8 market share increases significantly.
  • This game is a fresh change and I for one am excited.
  • I'm guessing this could be a fairly high price, unfortunately this would set a very poor example over game pricing, which ultimately will hurt WP handset sales.  A shame but M$ is greedy and doesn't have the grasp of marketing that Apple and even Google have.
  • Totaly AGREE!!!
  • What is considered pricey?
  • I prefer to buy 1game a month like Pac Man CE DX for 6€ than four Angry Birds clones or similar bs for .99.
  • Eve Pac Mac CE DX isn't worth 6$ for a mobile phone version.I bought it for  800MSPoints in my xbox360.WindowsPhone is more a mobile phone than a video games console.
  • I agree with 6.99 price points. That is high for a mobile game. However you will find those prices on titles on ios too. What I would like to see is more price drops after a period of time. Tentacles and chickens can't fly started at 4.99 and 2.99 and dropped to 2.99 and .99. That is the model I would like to see.
  • The problem is on iOS I think the $7 price tag is a lot easier to justify based on the quality of games.  Nothing on WP touches games like Infinity Blade 1/2, Bastion, Squids/Wild West,  The World Ends With You, Shadowgun, Contre Jour, Chaos Rings, etc.