Atlus is on a hot streak this summer, between the release of its long-awaited RPG sequel Shin Megami Tensei IV for Nintendo 3DS and the just-released movie tie-in shooter R.I.P.D.  However, the real gem of its collection arrives next month, as Vanillaware's Dragon's Crown will finally make its way to store shelves for both PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.

This hand-drawn side-scrolling adventure reminds us of the classic Dungeons and Dragons arcade games from Capcom, featuring dozens of enemies to beat and character traits to level up.  You'll begin with a would-be fighter and grow to an unstoppable force.  You can read more about how it all comes together in our strategic preview, which you'll find here.

Dragon's Crown gives you a total of six combatants to choose from, each of which are dedicated and powerful in their own special way. To help get you started, we put together this character guide that takes a glimpse at each combatant, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. 

Fighter

Clad in a full suit of armor and carrying a sword and shield as his main weapons, the Fighter is the go-to guy when you want to unleash brute strength.  Out of all the characters in the game, the Fighter boasts the best overall defense, though his speed is slower and range isn't nearly as good.  He's recommended for those getting started, as he's effective at clearing away groups of enemies and bosses.

Amazon

If you love kicking butt with a buxom babe, the Amazon is the choice for you.  What she lacks in armor – clothes in general, really – she more than makes up for that with her dual-wielded weaponry.  She's a larger character, but can deliver strong blows to multiple enemies in one shot.  If she's unarmed, she can also lay down heavy hits with kicks, whether on the ground or in mid-air.  Her defense is low, unsurprisingly, so make sure you have an offensive state of mind when you choose this character.

Elf

One of the smaller yet nimbler characters in the game, the elf shouldn't be your first choice when it comes to striking enemies at close range.  However, with the help of her bow and arrows, she causes chaos from a distance.  She's ideal when you need to take out ranged enemies from afar, or want to cause additional damage to a boss when your allies strike up close.  

Dwarf

Dwarves can be useful in the heat of battle.  Just watch the previous Lord of the Rings trilogy for proof of that.  This stocky fighter is capable of delivering thunderous blows to enemies with an unmatched level of strength.  The Dwarf can even pick up his adversaries and hurl them like projectiles.  Unfortunately, this strength comes at a price, as defense is lowered, making this character easy to surround.  He's slower as well.  If you prefer a strong class of warrior, the Dwarf comes highly recommended.

Wizard

The Wizard doesn't provide any sort of physical offense, mainly because this character wasn't bred to be a warrior.  You shouldn't consider that a weakness, though, as they have power where it counts.  The Wizard is capable of using a variety of spells to lay waste to foes, whether it's booming lightning blasts or dizzying feats of magic.  This character is best left to those willing to show patience when they play. 

Sorceress

Last but certainly not least, you have another character that will win over fans, the Sorceress.  Like the Wizard, she is capable of using her own level of magic, enabling her to turn opponents – even large ones – into useless toads.  She can also call upon golems and skeletons to aid her in combat, and if the need calls for it, summon a life-resurrecting potion to keep an ally in the fight.  For those who prefer playing a support role in a game – where you save others while still doing your part of the team – she's an ideal choice.

Dragon's Crown will arrive in stores August 6th for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.