More in-depth information on the Empress is available on the Dragon: Marked For Death Wiki.
The Empress (alternatively, Empress) is the starting player archetype of Inti Creates' side-scrolling RPG Dragon: Marked For Death and the second guest character released for Blaster Master Zero 2, released for download on April 21, 2020 on both Nintendo Switch and Steam. Unlike previous Guest Characters in both Blaster Master Zero titles, Empress was not offered as a free download during the first week of release, being priced at $1.99 USD on her debut.
Appearances and Synopses
Blaster Master Zero 2
As with Copen before her, Empress ventures through the game without dialogue or cutscenes to justify her appearance, though her initial spawn on each planet or planetoid is accompanied by a "Quest Start" telop and an appropriate chime from D:MFD that plays before segueing into the normal music for the stage in question. Gaia-SOPHIA is wholly replaced by the functionally identical Dragon Attacker (D-ATTACKER), which resembles the head of Empress's bonded dragon Atruum attached to an open-air pull cart that she rides in while embarked. Safety concerns aside, this makes Empress the first Metal Attacker pilot to be visible aboard her craft while it is actively player-controlled. Life and SP/Gun/Ammo Capsules are changed to bread and crystal pickups from D:MFD, while Life Ups and SP Ups are changed to red and blue dragon emblems, respectively, and are further joined by green "DP Ups" replacing Jason's non-elemental Sub-weapons and Energy Guard.
All damage dealt to and by Empress/D-Attacker is accompanied by RPG-style numerical impact values which are proportional with actual damage dealt or taken, though it is unclear if the displays for damage dealt are 1:1 with the game's internal damage math. In side view, a value of 50 impact points on an enemy indicates a hit dealing 1x G-Crusher Shot damage; in top-down view, a value of 15 impact points on an enemy indicates a hit dealing 1x G-Blaster damage.
All interactions dialogue, such as those with other MA pilots is removed. (Ex: Normally, Kanna demands three fruits that can be grown across Planet Stranga before she gives the coordinates for Planetoid E-3. With Empress, however, the player simply gets the coordinates and the Drill Smasher sub-weapon after the boss fight, no dialogue or fruit-hunting.)
This also applies in regards to the Emblems needed for the True Ending. After defeating Planade-G using D-Attacker's Gaia System, Empress is thrown into Area Ω to fight her way towards Drolrevo, no sidequests or Emblems necessary. Retry points in this Area cannot be used to summon D-Attacker, so Empress must first make her way over to the right side of the Area and reunite with the vehicle, which is sitting where Andreia would normally be found.
In this final area, D-Attacker gains glowing blue lines and the Dragon Water Bind (Dragon-W.B) Sub-weapon while still having normal access to the rest of its arsenal. To make up for its inability to restore SP using water pools, the vehicle's Gaia System efficiency is greatly improved, causing 4-5/6-7/8+ block falls to generate 10%/25%/100% SP and max-power falling impacts to emit pulses dealing 120 impact points (which are identical to the pulses produced by D-Attacker upon recovering from a shutdown).
While disembarked from D-Attacker in either top-down or side-scrolling mode, Empress boasts a sizable arsenal across multiple attack buttons. In side-scrolling mode, she is also immune to fall damage/death, takes only standard damage from attacks (rather than double damage like Jason) and has twice the normal jump height; additionally, most planets will enable green platforms for Empress's use while she is outside of D-Attacker. In both modes, Empress is able to sense hostile enemies even while piloting D-Attacker, pinpointing their locations with curved lines which start out red and turn blue after a moment.
In both top-down and side views, Empress draws from a pool of Dragon Points (DP) in order to cast her ranged dragon skills. DP is primarily generated by hitting enemies with melee attacks, but may also be gained via passive regeneration (up to a limit) or crystals:
- Hitting enemies with most sword or Dragon Sword attacks generates DP for each enemy hit, with stronger attacks granting more DP.
- While DP is lower than 20% of the default capacity, Empress will passively regenerate DP at a rate of 2% DP per second, up to the regeneration cap of 20% DP.
- Small/large crystals grant 10%/20% DP when collected by Empress (instead of 10%/40% SP when collected by D-Attacker).
Empress starts at her current DP maximum upon her initial appearance on a planet or planetoid. Collecting a DP Up raises Empress's maximum DP by 20% but does not restore any DP.
The Shoot button may be rapid-tapped to slash with Empress's equipped Sword, performing either a quick strike while moving or a 3-hit combo while stationary (in side-scrolling mode, the low resolution causes this combo to resemble the one popularized by Inti Creates' initial flagship franchise Mega Man Zero). These melee strikes damage enemies through terrain, break blocks/rubble around Empress (including above her in side view), and generate ~4%/~4%/~5% DP (standing combo) or ~4% DP (moving strike) on enemy hits. Having a sword other than her default equipped modifies melee damage, imparts an elemental attribute to Empress's third slash, and provides a significant damage boost to part of her arsenal (which, in the case of Emperor Sword, is already integrated into its melee damage).
Empress can quickly cycle through her available Swords using the Switch Weapons button; in addition, Swords may be freely mapped to Shortcut buttons. Pressing a Shortcut button which is currently assigned to a Sword will cause Empress to equip that Sword, but will not initiate a melee attack.
List of Swords
- Short Sword: A standard one-handed sword. Empress's default Sword.
- Side View Damage: 50/55/70 (standing combo), 55 (moving/prone strike)
- Top-Down View Damage: 15/15/30 (standing combo), 15 (moving strike)
- Rune Anelace: Increases damage for the Dragon Shot and Dragon Cannon. Fire element, obtained from defeating Mighty Mine Mite on Planetoid C-3.
- Side View Damage: 40/45/60 (standing combo), 50 (moving/prone strike)
- Top-Down View Damage: 20/15/35 (standing combo), 15 (moving strike)
- Emperor Sword: Increases damage for normal attacks. Lightning element, obtained from Planetoid B-1.
- Side View Damage: 65/70/85 (standing combo), 70 (moving/prone strike)
- Top-Down View Damage: 25/25/40 (standing combo), 25 (moving strike)
- Apas Blade: Slightly decreases damage for normal attacks and increases damage on COUNTERS. Ice element, obtained from Dungeon-2 on Planet Divido.
- Side View Damage: 25/35/50 (standing combo), 30 (moving/prone strike)
- Top-Down View Damage: 5/5/20 (standing combo), 5 (moving strike)
Dragon Shot/Dragon Cannon
|“||Spends DP to shoot a blast of fire.”|
|— Dragon Shot Weapon Select Screen Description|
Tapping the Sub-weapon button consumes 5%/6% DP (side view/top-down view) to fire a three-round burst of terrain-piercing fireballs from Empress's dragon arm, dealing 30/15 impact points (side view/top-down view) per fireball by default and breaking cracked walls in top-down view (even from the wrong side, provided the crack is not facing the bottom of the screen and Empress is touching the wall when she fires Dragon Shot). As with prior fire-type weapons in the franchise, impacts from the fireballs in top-down view leave a lingering flame DoT effect that gradually damages enemies not destroyed by the impact for 20 impact points per tick.
|“||Charges to release a more powerful DRAGON SHOT.”|
|— Dragon Cannon Weapon Select Screen Description|
Holding the Sub-weapon button after any other attack (such as a Dragon Shot volley) locks Empress's movement for about 1.25 seconds before continuously draining DP to spew much more densely packed fireballs in a narrow cone. Fireballs generated in this manner cost 4%/1.5% DP each (side view/top-down view) and deal 45/25 impact points (side view/top-down view) by default, but otherwise behave similarly to Dragon Shot fireballs.
Equipping Rune Anelace as the active Sword boosts the damage of both Dragon Skills by ~50%, causing Dragon Shot and Dragon Cannon to instead deal 45/20 and 65/30 impact points, respectively (side view/top-down view), until Empress switches away from the fire-type sword.
|“||Gathers energy in the Dragon Arm to unleash a powerful slash.”|
|— Dragon Sword Weapon Select Screen Description|
Tapping the Direction Lock button unleashes a broad and powerful sword swing from Empress's dragon arm after a windup of about 0.5 seconds by default (0.25 seconds if used immediately after the 3rd strike of a standing melee combo), dealing 100/80 impact points by default (side view/top-down view) and generating 8% DP per enemy hit when used on the ground. In side view, Dragon Sword causes Empress to plunge to the ground if used in mid-air, and both ground and air attacks can destroy blocks and hard rocks. In top-down view, Dragon Sword deals area-of-effect damage and can break cracked walls so long as Empress is facing the crack.
Equipping Apas Blade as the active Sword boosts the damage of Dragon Sword by 50% (despite it not being a Blast Counter), causing it to instead deal 150/120 impact points (side view/top-down view) until Empress switches away from the ice-type sword.
Empress's Blast Counter repertoire, which can be mapped to Shortcut buttons for quick activation, is similar to Jason's, with some attributes shifted. When not actively using counters, Empress passively regenerates missing CP at a rate of 3% CP per second (100% CP per ~33.3 seconds).
- Instinct Flame: Launches a powerful COUNTER attack toward targeted enemies. Available by default with an initial 20% CP cost.
- Empress spins and fires a terrain-piercing fire-element shot at the targeted enemy for 80 impact points by default while time slows to improve bullet dodging. Additional targets can be countered immediately after the first at no additional CP cost, refreshing time-slow duration in the process, by activating Instinct Flame again.
- Relative to Jason's Reflex Striker, Instinct Flame sacrifices no-target fire and quick-dodge capabilities, as well as some hit damage, in favor of igniting targets for additional damage over time and granting time-slow for a longer duration on each use.
- Rapid Thrust: A high-speed dash attack that pierces enemies. Replaces Shift-Up Attacker in functionality and as the reward for defeating Gonbei, but has the same initial 20% CP cost.
- When activated with a counter target on-screen, Empress dashes toward the target with her Sword extended, piercing through them, as well as any other enemies in her path, for 100 impact points by default until she stops behind her target. Additional targets can be countered immediately after the first at no additional CP cost by activating Rapid Thrust again.
- Relative to Jason's Shift-Up Attacker, Rapid Thrust sacrifices no-target dash capability in favor of increased movement distance (due to passing through enemies instead of merely dashing up to them) and inherent attack invulnerability and multi-hit capability (Jason's version requires a Reactive Comet shield bit in order to obtain the same functionality).
- Dragon Sword Reflect (D.S. Reflect): Spins the Dragon Sword in a wide arc to reflect enemy projectiles. Replaces Vector Reflector as the reward for defeating Leibniz on Planetoid D-2, but has a 40% CP cost (rather than Vector Reflector's 30% CP cost).
- Rather than deploy a reflecting field, Empress unleashes a powerful wheel slash with her Dragon Sword which deals 200 impact points by default and reflects bullets back at their attackers for 20/40/80 impact points each, with reflect damage increasing with proximity to Empress. Bosses which are "weak" to Blast Counters will be stunned by the melee attack portion while they are marked as a Counter target, but can be stunned with reflected projectiles even when they are no longer a Counter target.
- This is Empress's sole Blast Counter that can be used without a valid target due to the need to attack after a foe's counter frames in order to reflect projectiles.
Equipping Apas Blade as the active Sword boosts the direct damage (but not reflected bullet damage) of all Blast Counters by ~50%, causing Instinct Flame, Rapid Thrust and D.S. Reflect to instead deal 120, 160 and 300 impact points, respectively, until Empress switches away from the ice-type sword.
Stylized D-Attacker Weapons
In general, D-Attacker utilizes pink energy for its attacks and Maneuvers. However, a number of D-Attacker's weapons take on more drastic cosmetic changes.
- G-Crusher Shot is renamed to D-Crusher Shot. Shots are recolored orange and resemble large fireballs.
- Shutdown-specific Normal Shots are also recolored orange and now resemble small fireballs.
- Warhead Missiles resemble thrown shuriken while retaining the functionality of their rocket-propelled cousins. Hexa Missiles similarly resemble kunai.
- Auto-Cluster takes on an icy appearance, firing small/large icicles forward (instead of low-power/high-power lasers) while dropping snowflakes from the rear.
- Revol-Buster shots resemble double-bladed axe heads while retaining the functionality of their explosive cousins.
- Repulsion Upper now throws energy spheres that expand into three fiery rings when triggered, with the top ring bearing a jigsaw pattern.
- Full Accel Burst's supercharged spheres of light manifest Empress's bonded dragon Atruum when fired.
- Dragon Water Bind, analogous to Andreia's Water Bind, consumes 20% SP to fire a water shot which deals 1 impact point and encases enemies and solid attacks in water, allowing them to be pushed with Burn Spark. This sub-weapon has a 3-shot on-screen limit.
|Protagonists||Earthlings: Jason · Roddy · Elfie · Alex|
Sophians: Kane · Jennifer · Eve · Eva
Extraterrestrials: Gonbei · Tae · Kanna · Kenwood · Stein · Tesset
|Antagonists||Plutonium Boss · Underworld Lord · Lightning Beings · Kaiser · Leibniz|
See Also: Bosses
|Sophia||Sophia 3rd · 4th · J-7 · S.O.P.H.I.A. · Zero · Gaia|
See Also: Metal Attackers
|Pets||Fred · Plutarch · Tappy · Jao · Yacopu · Mr. Mug|
See Also: Support Animal
|Guest Characters||Gunvolt · Ekoro · Shantae · Shovel Knight · Copen · Empress|