Excavation Site #74
- Panzer Dragoon Saga
Excavation Site #74 was introduced to players in the opening sequence of Panzer Dragoon Saga and subsequently set the scene for the game’s events. The site was the location of a drone called Azel who had been buried in the site since the Ancient Age; consequently the excavation site had been built for the purpose of finding her. Azel was being searched for by the Empire who had been digging at the excavation site for at least twenty years (according to the Captain of the excavation site’s diary). At the time of her discovery by a mercenary named Edge, a rebel fleet led by Lord Craymen attacked Excavation Site #74, taking Azel and killing several of the unsuspecting mercenaries in the process. Although it is unclear whether the Empire or Craymen knew specifically who they were searching for at the excavation site, Craymen at least recognised Azel’s gender when Edge told him that he had seen a girl in the excavation site’s ruins.
Excavation Site #74 is the second playable on-foot section in Panzer Dragoon Saga where players control Edge searching for his wounded Captain. Although the English translation of Panzer Dragoon Saga calls this on-foot area simply “Excavation Site”, a translation of the Azel Panzer Dragoon RPG Guide Book confirms that the site where Azel was sealed was the #74 Excavation Site.1 Although the following nearby/connected valley area is named “Excavation Site #4”, it is possible that that this was a translation error, with both areas being part of Excavation Site #74. Based on the guidebook’s translation, the “Excavation Site” on-foot area can only be Excavation Site #74.
The excavation site was located in the western region of the Continent, far from the capital of the Empire. The site appeared to be isolated from civilisation, being found in a mountainous area, with excavations taking place in a valley area.
Huge float engines, similar or the same as those used to power Imperial ships, were located around the excavation site, likely to power the excavation equipment and/or the fans that protected the site from monsters. Large metal structures bearing cranes could be found above the excavation site, likely built to help rubble into the mine carts. These cranes also served the purpose of acting as lookout posts, from where Edge was placed in Panzer Dragoon Saga’s opening scene.
Edge referred to the site as a dump and was evidently bored from keeping a lookout from these cranes. He questioned his fellow mercenary, Rhua, as to why they were guarding the excavation site, to which Rhua responded that it was safer not to know the Empire’s reason for having a presence at the site. Edge’s boredom soon disappeared, however, when an alert came from below that a monster had been discovered in the ruins below Excavation Site #74. After entering the ruins, it was soon revealed to the mercenaries that the monster was not the regular mutated intruder, but a full-blooded biomonster. Edge defeated the pure-type by destroying a bridge that had been built within the excavation site, using a large rocket launcher. It was in this part of Excavation Site #74 that Edge discovered Azel, asleep in an ancient relic that she later referred to as her “bed”.
Receiving the distress call about the discovery of the pure-type monster from the mercenaries at Excavation Site #74, Craymen’s fleet used this as an opportunity to attack the site. After Edge revealed to Craymen that he had seen a girl in the ruins, one of the Black Fleet’s men, Arwen, knocked Edge unconscious and they set to work excavating Azel. It is not revealed whether Azel’s dragon, Atolm, was also buried in the ruins beneath Excavation Site #74 or whether Craymen found Atolm at another excavation site. Atolm was prepared for Azel in the Ancient Age, so it plausible that the pair were buried together beneath Excavation Site #74, however fans can only speculate on this point.
When Edge regained consciousness, he saw one of Craymen’s ships towing Azel, still in her bed, away from Excavation Site #74. Edge chased the ship across a wooden ramp leading away from the entrance to the ruins. The Empire had constructed wooden ramps that were placed from side to side of the valley, which allowed mine carts to carry cargo across the deep abyss. Below the excavation site, at the bottom of the abyss, was a series of ruins constructed by the Ancients, as evidenced by players soon after Edge ran on to the ramp; he was shot by Zastava and fell off one of the bridges into the ruins below. Although there was water at the bottom of the chasm, it is possible that the distance from the top was so far that a human body could not survive the impact. Any further damage that would have been done to Edge’s body on hitting the surface of the water may have been undone by the Divine Visitor’s orb that healed Edge’s bullet wound, however the distance between the water and the top of Excavation Site #74 is not confirmed.
When Edge arrived back at the excavation site after meeting his dragon and escaping from the bottom floor of the ruins below the excavation site, the entrance to the ruins itself was covered with rubble. Subsequently, Edge could not enter the ruins again. He discovered several items in the surrounding crates, along with his dying Captain who was leaning against one of the crates not far from the entrance to the ruins. After his Captain had passed away, Edge left Excavation Site #74 and began his quest to hunt down Craymen.
Although players controlling Edge are not required to return to Excavation Site #74, a side quest and a number of optional dialogues are made available if the player returns later in the game. On the third disc of Panzer Dragoon Saga, the corpse of a hunter named Radgam can be found outside the excavation site. It is unclear how he made it all the way from his home in Zoah to Excavation Site #74. Edge took Radgam’s gun, believing he would have wanted a hunter to have it, which he later sold to Jared. Players also can also witness various dialogues by returning to Excavation Site #74 based around characters who are riding with Edge at the time. One example is a conversation between Azel and Edge, available on the fourth disc of Panzer Dragoon Saga.