The dragon flight mode in Drakan, Order of the Flame reminded me a lot of Descent's 3D aerial combat style. In dragon match mode, jinking and faking in the up/down axis is just as important as lateral movement when going up against an opponent. Thankfully, Surreal's development team made movement easy by making it very Quake like. You can use WASD to fly forward, backward, and strafe left and right. Simply bind two more keyboard keys to up and down (I use 'E' and 'C') and use the mouse to aim - you're all set. It takes a bit of getting used to, but you usually remain "upright" in the saddle so it's not as disorienting as Descent is. The reason is that strafing in any direction (up, down, left, right) is more or less as fast as flying forward, unlike Descent. This means that there's no real value in changing your orientation to the ground.
Coming out of the cave
Against an evil knight
We had a chance to look at four of the breath weapons that can be used by the dragon in multiplayer (or single player) combat. Each breath weapon has an alternate fire
mode. The first and most obvious is fire. Primary fire mode is a small, fast moving fireball that hits for medium damage. The range on this and most
other primary fire modes is pretty far. Secondary fire is a short range stream of flame that projects from the dragon's mouth. Ice was also in the
level I played on with Rick. Enough shots with the ice in short succession and you'll turn creatures or other dragons into a blue solid ice that
shatters upon impact. Secondary mode gives a spread of three smaller ice particles.
Next up was the poison gas, which is quite a powerful projectile, capable of killing in just a few shots. Secondary fire on that is a
spread of slow moving gas balls that seem to seek out and stick to the targeted creature. Finally I got to check out the lightning attack. This one's pretty cool - it is relatively short range, but if two or more creatures are close by, the lightning will stream from one to the next and fry them all. You can't stream out lightning forever though - you have to pause after a second or two to "recharge" the attack.