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Dragon's Lair - an Interactive Cartoon by Don Bluth

>> Monday, January 26, 2009

Dragon's Lair was produced by Super Home Entertainment (1994). It requires a Digital Video Cartridge and one Controller or Gamepad to play it. The game is a product of 100% cartoon footage and absolutely beautiful animation. There's really no one way to describe how this game feels; you move our hero (Dirk the Daring) in and out of perilous scenarios, use your sword to battle monsters, goblins, demons, or booby traps, or sometimes a combination of both. The controls are simple but very dependent on "timing". Whatever the situation calls for - an evasion or an attack or both is how you play the game. Timing is what will make and break you in this game. You can easily find yourself being stumped and playing for hours on end.

Gameplay: Princess Daphne has been kidnaped by Singe the dragon who resides within the castle of the evil wizard Mordroc. Dirk the Daring must brave the obstacles and the forces that oppose his efforts to reach the dragon's lair. Everything from trick floors to tentacles, snakes, collapsing floors and ceilings, ghosts, goblins, monsters and demons are all waiting to thwart Dirks rescue of his love, Princess Daphne. All the while, the player has 3 lives and a prayer to make it through 25+ differents scenarios and a long-winded drawn out battle with Singe himself. Lead on adventurer - your quest awaits!! Dragon's Lair is one of these games that all the "next generation" home systems were waiting to get their electronic hands on. When this game was released back in 1983, it caused quite a vivacious uproar in the arcades that helped slow down the video game crash of the 80s. Unfortunately, many spawn "rip-offs" of Dragon's Lair hit, and the idea of a completely animated "choose your path" adventure game drifted into only a memory for quite some time. Then the PC, Mega CD (Sega CD), 3DO and CD-i all came out with their attempt to revive this classic. While the PC, Mega CD (Sega CD) and 3DO seemed to be grainy or had selected scenes edited out of the original, the CD-i is almost an exact replica of the arcade version. The CD-i version of Dragon's Lair is supreme to say the least. All of the levels, the sound, the music, it's all here, this is THE version to play...unless you know some arcade off in the styx 130 miles away from any civilisation that still has the arcade game operable considering the game is so old it's almost impossible to find amymore. The gameplay is pretty simple to figure out. You start outside the castle and must maneuver Dirk in each scenario brought forth to you. If you pick the right move, the scenario continues, if you pick the wrong move Dirk dies. Pretty straight forward and simple...and frustrating to say the least.
Graphics: What needs to be said? The graphics are absolutely gorgeous on the CD-i. The colours are perect and the animation is flawless. The textures are so prestine; the CD-i really brings this eye-candy game home to the TV screen. As stated before, the CD-i version has ALL the scenes which were edited out from the version ReadySoft put out i.e. the wind tunnel room, the burning ropes and the falling platform are all in this version. Nothing else can be said for this version of Dragon's Lair; it is the one to own.

Sound: The sound is all 100% with the video. With the other versions, the sound seemed to be just a little out of sync with the on screen action. The CD-i version is in sync and intact. The sounds of the score can be a little irritating, but other than that everything is perfect; you even hear Dirks humming after some of the scenes and of course all of Dirks lil "OoOOooOo" and "EEeEEeePeePepP"s are in this version which are absolutely hilarious.

Reviewers Opinion: Another picture perfect review and now here is the pro and con section of the review. This is a different style of game for alot of players. Most people I know really can't sit down and play a game that requires the player to just push a direction or a button, and thats as far as the player gets involved. Some people almost don't really even consider it a game, but "path choosing" objectives where only the player pushes a button to literally watch a movie. I consider it a game because without me (the player) nothing's going to happen; just like any other home console or arcade game. Anyways, the cons - for one is timing. This game can get frustrating quickly because for some of the scenes the player has to hit the key not a second early and not 1/2 a second late but right on THIS second. There are scenes I already know which way to hit and I hit the direction 0.00001 seconds too early, then I die. Dragon's Lair 2 and Space Ace for the CD-i are much much better regarding this con, but Dragon's Lair is extremely touchy with timing.
Another con is the "death scene", after Dirk dies you'll see him fall in front of you, arms folded and he morphs from a human to a skeleton then falls apart. The first 3 times or so it's cute, but after the 500,000 time it gets rather old. For sound cons, the "score" screen, my goodness could they have picked any worse sounds? I would rather listen to a cat get dragged through a keyhole than "WHOW WHOW WHOW WHOW WHOW" (ed. isn't that a sound of a cat being dragged through a keyhole?)..ugh. One last con, continues...this game so needs continues. Now granted if you go through so many scenes without dying, you'll get a life, but this game begs for continues. When you're 15 scenes into the game and you die due to the "timing factor" - ask yourself - do you really want to start ALL over? Not too many people do because that makes the game old fast. Sometimes I take a week break just after playing it one day because I don't want the game to get old and on my nerves.
Finally, the replay factor isn't that high. Granted if you go through the whole game, it's going to be a long time before you play it again for quite some time unless you've got incredible patience and truly love seeing the same thing over and over again. With all these cons though, the game really is quite enjoyable. It is true eye-candy and probably another one of my top 5 reasons (games) to buy a CD-i. It is one of the games that CD-i owners could really hold their heads up to and smile. Dirks little squeals will crack the player up; I love it when I get a scene where Dirk squirks and squeals because I know I have a good laugh ahead of me. This game is quite hard to find now even on CD-i, but if you can find it and own a CD-i with a DV card in it, I would say it is worth the money.

Reviewed by Angel, The Black Moon Project

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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