- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Near-perfect translation of arcade game.
Cons:Missing "Blip" for correct move.
Slight delay between scenes.
The Bottom Line: For those of you who are old enough to remember the video game DRAGON'S LAIR from 1984, this will take you back to the good ole' days of arcade gaming.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals no details about the movie's plot.
Originally posted to rec.games.video.arcade.collecting on 18 May 1999.
I just purchased the Dragon's Lair DVD that was released today. ($29.99 at Best Buy, released by Digital Leisure.) It is certainly much better than the CD-ROM that was released a few years ago. The video is clean and crisp and the audio superb.
You "control" the moves of the main character Dirk the Daring on his quest to rescue Princess Daphne from the clutches of the evil dragon. The challenges Dirk faces include the Mud People, the Lizard King, falling platforms, collapsing floors, flooding rooms, the Black Knight, and ultimately a very exciting battle with the Dragon.
The animation is by Don Bluth, who went on the produce the animated feature film AN AMERICAN TAIL, among many others. He did not hold back on the animation in Dragon's Lair. It is as good as his future feature film work.
You play it with your DVD remote control, using the directional arrows and enter for the sword button. A couple of things are preventing this from being a perfect version of the classic, and there may not be anything the creators of the DVD could do about it:
There is no BEEP when you make a correct move like in the arcade game. You do have a visual acknowledgement of a correct move. When it's time to make a move, a yellow diamond appears on the bottom right hand side of the screen. If you make a correct move, a yellow arrow points in that direction, or a yellow sword appears. If you make a wrong move a blue arrow/sword appears.
If I remember correctly, the arcade game play was very smooth when you made a series of correct moves, keeping the animation almost seamless. On the DVD version, it seems to freeze for a second after every move, which kind of takes away from the overall game play.
At least on the one I purchased, Dirk "comes back to life" before every new scene. I believe the arcade version simply went from scene to scene without any segue or in-between.
Using the remote control does take a little getting used to, and using only one hand was difficult. I ended up holding the remote with both hands, using both thumbs.
By the way, this version lets you play the drawbridge.
For those of you unfamiliar with Dragon's Lair, it was originally released in 1983 as an arcade game. It was the first coin-operated game to use traditional cel animation. It was an enormous success at the arcades. It was followed by the equally successful and more elaborate Space Ace, which is also available on DVD.
Dragon's Lair II could be found at many arcades in the mid-90s.
UPDATE 11/23/00 My brother borrowed a friends PlayStation 2 for the holiday and I thought I'd bring Dragon's Lair over to give it a try since the PlayStation also plays DVDs. IT WORKS! The Dragon's Lair DVD plays just fine on the PS2, and the PS2 controls works GREAT in analog mode. Use the directional keys on the left and the X key on the right is your sword. Cool!
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up to Age 4