Xbox Live - Crimson Dragon Side Story appears, brings Avatar Awards

Last week, Microsoft suddenly announced that we’d be getting Crimson Dragon Side Story on Windows Phone. We were pumped to see a Crimson Dragon/Panzer Dragoon game coming to the platform (see this article to learn more), but would it live up to the series’ high quality bar? Fast forward to now: the game is here, it’s really good, and it only costs a dollar!

Two genres combine

Crimson Dragon Side Story is a combination of side-scrolling shoot-em-up and rail shooter. Like a shmup, the player’s dragon flies from left to right, dodging enemy fire and shooting right back at those hordes of monsters. Uniquely though, you only control the vertical movement of the creature, sliding your thumb up and down along the left side of the screen.

Combining with the limited movement system (which hearkens back to past Panzer Dragoon games in which players can only move along two axes instead of three) is a deep weapon and skill system. At the start of a level, players select from three main types of attacks. One of these is the traditional lock-on system, which lets you tap and drag around the screen to lock onto multiple enemies. It’s a great attack method that you don’t see in normal shmups.

On top of the main weapon, you can unlock and bring two sub-skills into battle, which cost energy to use and can be activated at will. The number of choices - and potential unlockables - lend the game ample replay value.


The titular Side Story tasks the player with hunting down a mysterious white beast who is spreading a disease across the planet while it searches for some unknown article. Story missions are preceded by beautiful hand-drawn cut scenes and capped with giant boss battles. Each mission can be selected and replayed individually, making the game work well for mobile play. 30 side missions are available as well. Clearing missions by using specific weapons and other methods unlocks new skills to purchase.

Skill and gems systems

The currency for buying skills, gems, can be found in-game by clearing levels and random drops. More uniquely, you can even get gems by playing the game from different locations thanks to the phone’s GPS. They can also be purchased with Microsoft Points, though my phone couldn’t connect to the store at the time of this writing. Both the GPS and marketplace functions are found in the game’s Trading Post. Sadly Side Story doesn’t feature connectivity with the Xbox 360 version.

Crimson ragon Side Story Avatar Award

A dragon of a bargain

Not only is Crimson Dragon Side Story a large and deep game for fans of shooters, but it only costs a dollar. That’s quite a deal! Even better, it comes with multiple Avatar Awards. Clear the first story mission and you’ll unlock a red and white t-shirt for your avatar to wear. Beat the second level for a dragon head! To equip these Awards, head to the Games hub, select your Avatar, ‘change my style,’ ‘awards,’ and then select it.

Crimson Dragon Side Story is now available for 99 cents, and there is a free trial. Hop on your dragon and fly over here to get it from the Marketplace.

Thanks to Sacra for the tip!

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!

  • Only $0.99?! As soon as I read that I went straight to the marketplace link and hit buy. I was expecting it to come in at $4.99 maybe but at $0.99 it's an absolute steal! (or at least I anticipate it will be)
  • It should have been free, in all honesty. It uses a purchasing system like Contract Killer and Gun Bros, which are Freemiums.
  • It should pay people to play it in all honesty. Who's with me ?!
  • Paid content is a roadblock for me. I don't want to tie a credit card to any device. On my Xbox 360 I use pre-paid Microsoft points. I wish Windows Phone accepted them. They have a weird system where apps can only be paid for by credit cards but then DLC is paid for with MS points. So screwed up.
  • Just buy a visa gift card or a pre-paid credit card (sometimes called traveller credit cards). Easy.
  • I did that once before. Pre-paid credit cards are a major ripoff. Fee after fee. CNN recently did a story on them: . I don't like pissing my money away, especially to shady banks. I want prepaid cards just iTunes and Google Play have. Microsoft already has a system in place, Microsoft points. MS points can be used on Xbox, Zune, Games for Windows LIVE, but not Windows Phone for some obscure reason.
  • At least here in germany, free credit cards are not too hard to come by. I believe this is because here in germany, most people are not interested in a credit card, we have other means of paying (cash money, electronic cash cards) so we germans don't feel like paying for another card that doesn't add much value.
    My car manufacturer offers me a free credit card as long as I keep driving a Mercedes Benz.
    My bank offers me a free credit card as long as I pay more than 3000€ per year with it (I returned the card as soon as they installed this requirement, I hardly use my credit card at all.). Other banks still offer free credit cards without such a requirement.
    Some banks even offer you a free credit card without any requirements, you don't even need an account there.
    As I already pointed out, I use the free credit card my car manufacturer offers me. It's free, it's VISA and there are no other requirements for me to use it, except for driving the car I already own anyways. The payments I make with this card do not even exceed 100€, because I only use it for very few app purchases and maybe importing a game or bluray disc from the US or UK.
  • I've been playing it and haven't paid for anything in game, nor will I.
  • Sold... Now give me Panzer Dragoon Saga
  • +1
    Game play seems good. Just achieved my first "achievement", 50 kills.
  • I installed the game from the link but if I go through regular Marketplace now, I can't find it through search.
  • That's a common WP Marketplace problem. It will shoup on your phone's MP tonight or tomorrow.
  • It only costs what now?  Seriously $1?  I was definitely expecting $5 or even more.  Insta-purchase.
    MS, just when I thought you couldn't possibly get any worse, you go and do something like this............and totally redeem yourself!
  • I get that reference. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Bravo, sir.
  • A dollar../!?!?!  BOUGHT.
  • Let me go get it before they catch their $1 mistake!
  • I think the game is lame, but I might get it just for the avatar award.
  • I'll say, if only final fantasy costs this much I would've bought it.
  • Eh, how do you obtain jewels..
    Ok, so they are random drops. I can't connect to the web via the game either.
    God I love this game. It reminds me of Panzer Dragoon Orta
  • I still have my copy of that game and it may have been the best game on Xbox..
  • Paid content isn't required folks. There are other way of acquiring jewels. This game is a steal for $0.99!
  • Sorry no connection but can anyone help me  out with this.
    I have a 2 year old htc hd7.No issues so far but a couple of days back the phone did not connect to wi fi. tried everything like reformatting,going back to previous versions,starting data connection but no joy. Please help ?
  • Sounds like it's time for a new phone.
  • Seriously?
  • That's pretty weird. I have the HD7 too and it connects to WiFi just fine.
  • Why not go onto the forums instead of trying to hijack the comments in an article about a game?
  • Lol +1 and +1
  • Why does it say it was originally released 8/30?
  • Even more weird is that my desktop & laptop connect fine!
  • like finding nemo: mine mine mine!!
  • first off...all Xbox Live games should be of this quality. Enough of this other crap that has been being passed off as "Xbox Live Worthy". the hell do those clowns over at Namco think they can charge $7 for their garbage, when something as great as this is $.99 ?!?!?!?!?
  • Crimson Dragon's low price is clearly subsidized by the presence of PDLC. Still, that particular approach goes over much better with mobile audiences than charging $7 for something out of the gate.
  • And that's reasonable, because it means I will only ever pay 0,99€ instead of 6,99€ :-) If someone decides to buy additional content, he's free to do so :)
  • Pretty good and the price too
  • OMG it's nice to see more 0.99$ games coming (almost all mobile phone games should cost 0.99$ except few) But seeing shitty games like Galaga Legions DX cost 6.99$ and some other nice games like feed me oil,roll in the hole,crimson drake etc cost 0.99$ i can only think that the XBOX LIVE department of M$ is not taking so serious WP as they do with XBOX360.
    They immediatly need to reorganize the prices of WP xbl titles. (and of course most of the must be droped) P.S Sorry for my bad english :P
  • Thanks for the headsup, didn't hesitate, worth the purchase for the avatar awards & cheevos alone, downloading now :)
  • WP central said it was a good game the first info I read, and skipped to 1 dollar and then buy. Hope the game is good :-D (at work)
  • Sold... Downloading now :D
  • Insta buy. Downloading now. Will I regret my decision? Stay tuned........
  • Well worth the 79p, story mode quite short, but there's a mission mode to do after that, plus the production value and graphics are top notch.
  • Anything more than 99c would have been marketing suicide.
  • My main problem with this game is that some weapons require you to keep your finger on the screen to target. That doesn't go too well when you have enemies flying everywhere and your finger is blocking the screen. The lock-on lasers aren't as bad. You can swipe around to find locks and move your finger out of the way quickly enough to see the screen again. If you have fat sausage fingers, good luck with this one. All in all, I love this game. Some weapons seem labor some to use. Especially if you are trying to unlock other weapons. Playing this game brings back memories of the older Panzer games and makes me want more. The music, sound effects and lock-on system brings that feeling back.
  • Thanks Paul! I read your article and bought the game with no trial. Panzer dragoon's cousin, on my phone, for a dollar=instant purchase
  • Lovely game, but graphics are not good and many time i see a lot of gliches like a character just slliped into the ground.Otherwsie the Music is good, gameplay is great. A doller does bot go in waste if one buys it.
  • No spamming links now.
  • This one was a must buy. After playing the two first levels I am amazed by the quality and effort they have have put to this game. Easily one of the best games on WP.
  • bad the achievement either have wrong descriptions or are glitched. Microsoft has so much QC, I don't know how they miss broken achievements...
  • Are the achievements really glitched on this one?  What is all the talk at x360a about 'private' versions of the game?
  • When a link is posted before it's release it's normally a Private version for media/reveiwers etc. This version posted on TA was a private version but it's now a public version the "Private" tag was removed today.  As for Microsoft's QC... Microsoft does not do the QC! A "Temp Hiring" Company Called VOLT located near Microsoft's main campus does most of it, If you find yourself lucky enough to have worked a day there you would know exactly where the problems are & why they keep happening everytime a game is released. "Walk-ins Welcome"
    Testing Video Games Can't Possibly Be Harder Than an Afternoon With Xbox, Right? There's a huge line between Business Reality & Customer Satisfaction
    If you want it done right & working 100% no glitches, blame the Developers not the Walk-in Temps. Glitched Achievement:
    GPS Specialist (5) GS Use the in-game GPS to gather draco jewels.
    From all the Talk on TA the GPS achievement It's glitched & not unlocking for anyone.
  • Done and done! 
  • Any word on DotW?
  • Deal of the week for Windowsphone is:
    Monster Island $0.99
  • This Game is very nice, unfortunately the achievements seem bugged. I didn't receive the GPS cheevi, yet
  • Look on Ta. There is a mini guide. Turns out you need to get 50 GPS jewels for it to unlock. Lame. But the good news is the tracker GPS can be glitchy and you can sometimes fly across the pacific just by walking around your house.
  • It doesn't register my movment. Does it mean I have to unlock the gps funkton, is that what it means? If not, how do I get it to count?
  • Just a heads up for everyone: I just came home from work and loaded the game up to do a GPS check-in only to find all my progress is gone.  GPS set back to zero, all unlocks reset and back to level 1.  Whatever other glitches may or may not be present in the game, there's at least one MAJOR problem right there.