>> 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