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Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast

The acquisition of Ring: The Legend of Nibelungen on Dreamcast is anecdotal. A friend contacted me to tell me he could get his hands on his first Dreamcast prototype. He took the opportunity to ask me  if from my point of view this prototype was interesting ... The GD-R was in Katana CD format, with "beta" written! Obviously he had potential! I thought we would be dealing with the Japanese game " The Ring: Terror's Realm ", the mere name Ring being confusing. 

Like you, this friend knew my overwhelming attraction to anything to do with Dreamcast prototypes. So he decided to send it to me. We can thank him for his generosity. It was when I saw that the game asked for disc 1 that I immediately understood that I was facing a new Unreleased!

The opening intro (Dreamcast)

PC version

version pc.jpg
Ring The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast prototype Cryo.jpg

The PC version:

It all started a long time ago, when I was playing Atlantis 2 on my computer ("I love brain contortion"). In the middle of the game, I learn of the existence of another title, taking up Wagner's opera. And there I said to myself, frankly this Omni 3D engine is not bad, an adaptation on the white lady of Sega would be very nice.

Yes but, well,  Wagner you tell me, it's still opera and if the ride of the Valkyries had set the mood on Return Fire (3DO), we especially remembered  the epic action-strategic aspect of the game. So used on a puzzle game, some might say that it is limit of the video-game foil.

Except that Wagner remains Wagner and that if there is indeed an opera to see in his life, it is this one. There is no shortage of superlatives - tragic, exalted, grandiose -  ears and the scenario is breathtaking: the sagas in memory of the Nordic Gods .

Arxel Tribe Ring The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast.jpg

I remember the solstice evenings, next to the fireplace, the fire reflecting on the books in my friend Gérard's library, when I was surrounded by friends discussing culture, around Bavarian beers, with Wagner in the background spinning on this old vinyl which crackled between two lyrical flights. When it comes to the winter atmosphere, it's a real change from the American Christmas soap operas! 

It is that The Lord of the Rings , The Iron Throne , The Marvels etc are only pale copies of the original of the XIXth century and it must be admitted, with less class in all proportion to the technical evolutions available. today.

Making a game on the theme of Wagner's tetralogy is like going up in armor to the top of a tower under a dantesque storm, it is risky and even suicidal.

Philippe Ulrich was not afraid, however, by taking the bet to publish " Der Ring des Nibelungen ", the cycle of four operas by Richard Wagner transposed into a video game by the studio Arxel Tribe .

Ring The Legend of the Nibelungen prototype Dreamcast Wagner.jpg
Ring l'Anneau des Nibelungen Dreamcast Prototype.jpg

Let's not forget that Cryo's boss still had a goddess to make odds and ends, pieces of Hardware that he and his team worshiped on their knees… So a Nordic Saga is just a logical continuation , especially as a musician, "his first passion"!

This game is released on PC and the reviews are good, despite some finishing flaws that herald the beginnings of the end of Cryo .

Ring l'Anneau des Nibelungen Dreamcast prototype Wagner.jpg

Graphics bugs appear on certain textures without really making sense, especially at the end of the game, which is damaging. Honestly, even though it's relatively rare, we can still assume that the game wrapped up at the last minute and that the lack of finishes is very real.

This problem is also found at the level of the gameplay (in particular the passage with Siegmund ) with a disappearance of the objects if they are used in bad conditions or then the impossibility of accessing objects if the game phase has not been completed. not done in the right order ... Very annoying for a Point'n'Click where the interest lies precisely in the testing of objects. Fortunately, this problem is only present in this phase of the game, but it has surely annoyed a number of players and contributed to giving the title a bad image.

And the problems continue with music jumps that sometimes break the rhythm of the game or even illogical, complicated puzzles that create a yoyo in the progression of the game. It is not uncommon in this style of play but combined with the rest. , the title missed the tick of the rare pearl… and yet, what a game!

Dreamcast Ring The Legend of the Nibelungen main title.jpg
Philippe Druillet art.jpg

It should not be forgotten! Because to make such a game had to be a drawing genius and it is Philippe Druillet who sticks to it. Son of a collaborator, a refugee in Spain, he suffered from this situation during his youth and became passionate about drawing. Refuge in art and literature, he returned to France and fell in love with science fiction ( HP Lovecraft ), then joined the magazine “ Pilote ”, then founded with Giraud (alias the genial Moebius , he was the Panzer Dragoon universe) “ Hurling Metal ” and “ Associated Humanoids ”. This sci-fi comic book writers will just inspire designs like “ Alien .” Druillet is a sci-fi cartoon monster, who will expertly mix this saga into psychedelic science fiction.

Design by Philippe Druillet.jpg

" We had managed to produce some beautiful images for this game, Philipe Druillet had been brilliant with the teams "

Some might cry foul, but the work lends itself perfectly to interpretation. And on this side it's great art, the script adaptation is not always perfectly faithful (at the same time, it is neither possible, nor the goal) but succeeds in offering a grandiose coherence, like the directed music by "Sir Georg Solti" (which had just been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II) with the Vienna Philharmonic. I'm telling you ... Heavy !!!

Graphically the game is sublime, the 3D superbly rendered and the setting in scene with the small onions. The fact remains that those who are hermetic to the universe of " Metal Hurlant " may be shocked but ultimately so much the better, that's what Wagner had wanted to do in his time too (and to flirt with the young ladies of  Paris ).

I am very proud of our Ring , a rather insane bet for the time and a fabulous collaboration with Druillet ! "

Philippe Druillet drawing.jpg
Philippe Druillet dessin.jpg
Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen pal pochette avant.png
Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast pal pochette arriere.png
Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast pal cd artwork.png

And this Dreamcast version in all of this?

It is an Alpha version, PC conversion using Windows CE, with no improvement of the above mentioned defects. The game will ask you for titanic settings and a patient worthy of master “ Yoda ” (unplug then plug the controller back into port A… What logic!).

Once the adventures have passed, the game finally launches and you have to wait and enjoy the strident crackling while enjoying an animation close to two frames per second for the starting cutscene ...

At this moment, impossible not to be disappointed but yet, arrived laboriously on the menu, my game starts and I finally manage to play. The music is… let's say… absent to respect Wagner's memory! (except for this particularly awful shrill sound).

The dialogues are in English (I struggle) but the game playable with its definition of "640x480" adapted to our Dreamcast and its VGA. The rendering is however bland, pixelated and additional bugs slow down the progress (slowdowns, crashes, saving problems). Despite everything - I repeat - the universe is just brilliant, so I hook and my retina really travels with my mind, amazed by the magic of Druillet .

This title is not completely feasible, the CD3 is still missing (out of the 3), huge for a Dreamcast title but the PC version actually 6. The juggling is therefore less hassle on Dreamcast, because yes the change of CD is recurrent (but this is the case on all Cryo games of this genre).

What to think of it in the end? Well it must be taken for what it is, a beginning of adaptation abandoned because of the too low market share of the Dreamcast but with a potential of madness. At the same time, “ Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters ” was also discontinued but it may end up in a perfectly playable version on our beloved Dreamcast.

It is on this point that I wish to conclude. This adaptation of Ring is at a stage for some not very advanced but oh so interesting (especially if the CD 3 reappears). Because its many flaws are only problems of optimization, adjustments and simple adjustments.

The code is integrated just like the dialogues (it would be simple even to change the language using the different PC versions), the background work is therefore to be provided on the codecs and compression side. The most interesting is the opening up of possibilities because, as stated above, many games use the version of the same engine ( Aztec , Atlantis 2 , Egypt 2 , China the forbidden city …). Some have been adapted for Playstation.  So imagine! A new game library for our "White Lady".

Bravo to preserve in any case! I don't know where you found this record, but it's a collector's item!  "

Cover Homemade by Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast to download:

Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast  Homemade cover

  • Download the archive containing  the homemade cover of Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen

  • Open the desired image (in PNJ) and print there, it is in the correct format.

Prototype disc number 1

Ring l'anneau des Nibelungen Dreamcast GD-R dis 1 (1).jpg

Prototype disc number 1 (bis)

Ring The Legend of the Nibelungen Dreamcast prototype disc 1.jpg

Prototype disc number 2


Cancellation of the Dreamcast port:

The game was developed by "Arxel Tribe " and published by " Cryo Interactive ".

If we knew the PC version released in 1998, it's a surprise to learn that a Dreamcast port was planned.

Indeed, a Dreamcast version was initially planned after the PC. Unfortunately, Cryo ultimately canceled it. Too bad, I loved this console for my part, ahead of its time. But the life is far too short! "

" Sales of the Dreamcast were disappointing, and the publisher preferred not to take the risk ..." "

It is mentioned briefly by IGN (to be found here) . No other magazine talks about it. Nibelungen on Dreamcast was a mystery until its (re) discovery in 2020.

If one relies on the Wikipedia page, Ion Storm would have been responsible for porting to Dreamcast. This track has been denied by John Romero :

While stories about the Dreamcast ports of Deux Ex and Anachronox circulated in 1999, no work was ever done on a Dreamcast port for any of our games. Sorry, but Ion Storm never planned to port a game developed by someone else. We were an original game studio, not a porting studio. "

Ring's solution

Avant de commencer, je tiens à remercier "oumpah-pah" pour la rédaction de la solution de Ring sur ce site (