Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye

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MS-DOS USA box.

Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye a mahjong solitaire puzzle video game developed and published by Activision initially for MS-DOS in 1990, and was then ported to 10 other platforms. While it was the second Shanghai game in the USA, it was the third in Japan.

The game features mahjong solitaire in the original layout, but also adds 12 new layouts based on the signs of the Chinese zodiac, a two-player timed game, and introduces a new competitive version of mahjong solitaire called Dragon's Eye which can be played against a human or an AI. The game also adds several new game play options like the ability to only play winnable deals, find a match, peak under tiles, music, sound effects, animation, and more.

Personal

I don't own the game, but I have beaten the DOS port by completing all of the solitaire layouts with winnable layout selected. I've also beaten the Dragon's Eye against the AI. I finished it on 2022-10-13.

Review

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5 5 6 4 7

Best Version: FM Towns

Good

  • The home computer ports have attractive high resolution art which makes good use of dithering.
  • The new Dragon's Eye game adds a new strategic element, and it's nice they included an AI to play against.
  • The game adds a lot of media that was missing in the first game. There are several alternate tile graphics, configurable music, and, when you get a match, animation an sound effects.
  • The added feature to only play winnable layouts, not totally random, is very beneficial.
  • In the home computer ports, you can construct, save, and play your own layout patterns.
  • There are a lot of "cheat" features for those who prefer a casual approach to the game including backup, find a match, peek, shuffle, etc.
  • The DOS port supports all the major video displays and audio devices of the day.

Bad

  • The AI in the Dragon's Eye game isn't very good (I beat it every time I played it), and it doesn't feature a difficulty setting.
  • In the DOS port, I found the animation and sound effects to be obnoxious and always turn them off. Unfortunately, the game doesn't save your settings, so I had to turn them off every time I restarted the game.
  • Winning a layout gives you a fortune cookie, but fortune cookies are actually American, not Asian.
  • I'm not a fan of the music I heard from any of the ports. Also, Chopsticks is a pretty shallow intro song.
  • In the DOS port, the FM synthesis audio is implemented poorly. Each time a song ends, or when you turn off the music, the final note of every song remains sustained for a long time which is annoying.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Screenshots

Videos

Game play - DOS.
Game play - Genesis.
Game play - SNES - Dragon's Eye.
Game play - Windows 3.

Titles

Perhaps in order to not confuse the game with the Japanese-exclusive Shanghai II, in Japan the game was retitled, Super Shanghai.

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye
Japanese スーパー上海ドラゴンズアイ Supa Shanhai Doragonzu Ai Super Shanghai: Dragon's Eye

Representation

Bechdel test?FailThere are no characters.
Strong female character?FailThere are no characters.
Strong non-white character?FailThere are no characters.
Queer character?FailThere are no characters.

Links

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