Feel free to suggest a better alternative.
Well, since you asked.
DRAKAN: ORDER OF THE FLAME
I think most people expected they would be able to fight characters on the ground, I know I certainly did. And being as how its obvious this game got a lot of inspiration from Drakan, I think expecting to not have the monsters just literally disappear is reasonable.
Not only were there ground monsters that would beat the crap out of your dragon, but the game didn't make them disappear when you took off.
I'm quite disappointed in the dragon combat implementation in D2. There are just a bunch of design elements that really don't seem right at all. Heat seeking arrows, useless shields, and disappearing monsters to be the main ones.