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Dragon's Lair

aka: Dragon's Lair CD-ROM
Moby ID: 1503
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Description official descriptions

Originally released in the arcades as a LaserDisc game, Dragon's Lair is an interactive cartoon movie. Players control Dirk the Daring as he struggles his way through a dungeon to fight Singe, the Dragon, and rescue the beautiful Princess Daphne. The game consists of animated scenes, during which the player has to press direction buttons or the sword button at the right moment to trigger the next segment of the movie.

Spellings

  • Логово дракона: Побег из замка Синджа - Russian spelling
  • ドラゴンズ・レア - Japanese spelling
  • 龙穴历险记 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (Arcade version)

14 People

Produced by
Directed by
Designer
Animation by
Music by
Gameplay designed by
Programmed by
Auxiliary programming
Voice acting

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 55% (based on 65 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 103 ratings with 3 reviews)

A daring undertaking, to say the least.

The Good
In Dragon's Lair, Dirk the Daring must rescue his darling Daphne from the dastardly dragon which resides in the castle's dark dungeon. That's an awful lot of D's, and Dragon's Lair's most important "D" is probably Don Bluth. At one time an animator for Disney, Bluth became quite well-known for movies he did after leaving the mouse house, such as "All Dogs go to Heaven," and he even animated the "Space Ace" TV show.

Bluth's fingerprints are all over this game, especially in the animation. The way Dirk moves (rather clumsily for a knight) and the way the princess swoons, among many other things, are absolutely priceless. None of this would have been possible, of course, without the advent of laser disc technology. Dragon's Lair was the first game to use it back in 1983. The animation was gorgeous, the sound played like a movie, and everything about the way this game looked was perfect.

All this having been said, the CD Rom port of Dragon's Lair takes the old arcade game, with its large-platter old-format laser discs, and condenses it onto one CD.

The Bad
Dragon's Lair was an impressive game in its time, but because of the large amount of processing overhead involved in reading the discs (which at the time streamed data horrendously slowly), the gameplay suffered notably. It is a problem that prevented laser disc games from being truly successful until the mid-1990's. The CD Rom port of Dragon's Lair is indeed virtually identical to the old arcade version, and it suffers from the same drawbacks..

Every time Dirk enters a new room, there are certain "windows of opportunity," for lack of a better term, that involve pressing a single button to either move Dirk (usually to dodge a creature or trap) or to swing his sword. It was most unfortunate then, as it is now, that there are no beefy combos. The whole game is essentially a test of critical thinking skills and reaction time. You can get more interactivity by playing Pong or Space Invaders.

Part of the charm of the arcade version was the slick joystick and leaf-switch button interface. The cabinet art was wonderful and added to the atmosphere of the game. With the CD Rom version, you have none of that.

The Bottom Line
If you're nostalgic for the bygone heyday of the quarter arcade, this game is worth a look. It is next to impossible to find Dragon's Lair in its cabinet form. Otherwise, give it a pass. You'd be better off dropping your ten bucks on dinner and a movie.

3DO · by Ryan Kelly (9) · 2005

Embarassing Lair

The Good
Older gamers will be able to appreciate the walk down memory lane, without having to invest in an arcade machine.

The Bad
The severe hardware limitations of the Sega CD means that this port of Dragon's Lair features grainy, low quality full motion video that is not even full screen. Much of the appeal of these type of games is visual and a great deal of the creativity Don Bluth Studios simply can not shine through the hardware limitations.

Setting aside the visual limitations, game play is reduced to a frustrating process of trial and error. Unlike similar games for the Sega CD, such as Revenge Of the Ninja, Time Girl and Road Avenger, their are no [with few exceptions] on-screen hints and your timing must be precious or else you get to witness Dirk's grainy full motion video demise.

The game does not offer you any additional options, such as adjusting the high difficulty level and their is actually very little in the way of music or sound effects in the game.

Dirk fails or succeeds without much voice work and their are mostly only brief sound effect.

If you are successful in defeating the dragon and saving the princess, a rather cliched objective, your reward is a brief ending and the opportunity to do it all over again.



The Bottom Line
Dragon's Lair is a classic full motion video arcade game that suffers from the hardware limitations of the Sega CD and the lack of even the most basic options. Older gamers may enjoy the walk down memory lane, but only briefly. Gamers would do better to look for a different pot of this arcade classic and look at this is a fine example of what was wrong with the Sega CD.

SEGA CD · by ETJB (428) · 2010

An stand alone DVD extra

The Good
The graphics are amazing, even today's standards, yet when we think it was made back in the 1983 it must have been mind blowing to see that detailed graphics especially when only games you saw in the arcade were Donkey Kong and Asteroids. The animation was made by a legendary Disney animator Don Bluth, which gives some more value to the people who grew up with his movies. And the aspect I really like in the game is its humour value, because the game is so campy with is stereo typical setting, slapstick humour and poor game play.

The Bad
The game play elements in this game are, as I said, poor because it is pretty much a QuickTime event after QuickTime event. All you do is push buttons to hope you make right moves. The game has option to use infinite lives and make buttons flash when you have to move that way or use the sword, which pretty much enhances the feelings towards the QTE-impression. These QuickTime events are nearly in every game in these days so it is got old all ready, so do we really need a game based around those (or release an old one utilizing it)? And if you want play this game for it's camp value I recommend the arcade version over the home one, because the home version has additional scenes, which are just mirrored from some of the other scenes, yet like the game isn't tedious all ready!

The Bottom Line
If you want to re-live your childhood memories, enjoy campy thing or just like Quicktime events, check it out, otherwise use your 75 cents to something more worthwhile, like song from iTunes. My bottom-line is it isn't something more than those "games" you can found as extras from some DVD.

iPhone · by VVP (143) · 2010

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Dragon's Lair appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Board Game

Milton Bradley released a Dragon's Lair boardgame conversion in 1983.

Budget

The game is said to have cost approximately $3 million to develop. Animator Don Bluth raised $1.2 million. Rich Dyer, the technology inventor and Cinematronics, the machine's manufacturer and distributor, raised the rest.

Cartoon

This game spawned a Saturday morning cartoon. Before commercial breaks, Dirk would be presented with several options, like jumping for a rope, standing and fighting some goons or taking a right down a tunnel. Upon return from the break the T.V. show would inform the viewer of the results of the various actions with the phrase, "If Dirk had done this..." and a clip showing the demise of the poor adventurer if he'd chosen the wrong path.

Nipples

If you are one of those that felt funny when watching the ending clips of Dragon's Lair when you were 8-10 yrs old you might be interested in knowing a little known fact about it: Princess Daphne's animations were not only inspired by Playboy magazine pictorials, but showed nipples, as described by Don Bluth himself in the DVD edition of the game. Bluth resorted to extense "documentation" for crafting the character poses, and while animators almost always remove nipples even if their characters have skin-tight clothing, Bluth left them in making an entire generation of videogamers very happy indeed.

Ports

Dragon's Lair has been ported to nearly every single console/computer platform under the sun. From the IBM PC to the Amiga...from the NES to the Sega CD...even from the Jaguar CD to DVD players. Coleco Industries was the first to acquire the license for a home port in 1983. They paid $2 million for the home console rights and released the game for the Coleco Adam the following year.

Revenue

The game generated more than 117 million dollars in revenue by 2000.

Information also contributed by Pseudo_Intellectual, Zovni, Satoshi Kunsai and FatherJack.

Analytics

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeff Sinasac.

PSP added by Charly2.0. CD-i added by Corn Popper. PlayStation 3 added by Lain Crowley. Linux added by ryanbus84. SEGA CD added by Kartanym. Browser added by firefang9212. PlayStation Now, iPad, Windows Apps, Xbox 360 added by Sciere. Blu-ray Disc Player, ZX81, Nintendo DS, Android, HD DVD Player, DVD Player added by Kabushi. 3DO added by Opipeuter. iPhone, Arcade added by Pseudo_Intellectual. Jaguar, Windows added by Satoshi Kunsai. Nintendo DSi added by Ben K. Macintosh added by LGR.

Additional contributors: MAT, Unicorn Lynx, Shoddyan, Stratege, Thomas Helsing, Patrick Bregger, timur bogorad, FatherJack, Kennyannydenny, Kayburt.

Game added May 28, 2000. Last modified April 6, 2024.