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Dragon's Lair

aka: Don Bluth's Dragon's Lair
Moby ID: 1504
DOS Specs
See Also

Description official descriptions

Dirk the Daring was a heroic, if clumsy knight. When Princess Daphne was kidnapped by the dragon, Singe, and taken to his castle, Dirk set out to rescue her. Due to limitations of the computers at the time, this conversion of the coin-op arcade game, Dragon's Lair only features the first half of the game, which consists of entering Singe's Castle and encountering the dragon. The adventures are continued in a second part which completes the conversion of the arcade game.

Dirk the Daring is controlled by the player, who views Dirk's actions on the screen from a third-person visual. The game is reactive and players must press the right controller direction or action button at the right time to have Dirk avoid traps, defeat monsters and otherwise stay alive.

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Credits (DOS version)

IBM Version
Cover Artwork by



Average score: 58% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 28 ratings with 2 reviews)


The Good
The "full-screen" animation was quite impressive for the time...

The Bad
One word: WHY? Who EVER thought it would be a good idea to port a fully-animated Laserdisc game to the PC in 1989? While the graphics were, in fact, quite impressive given how much power the PCs didn't have, they still looked awful most of the time. And there was pretty much no sound at all. Plus they had to chop out huge loads of the game to fit it onto a reasonable number of floppies. And that's without even getting into the "gameplay," which is still infamous to this day. Watch the animation, and when you think Dirk is about to be in trouble, hit an arrow key and hope you made him jump the right way. That's it.

The Bottom Line
See this game as evidence that no idea, no matter how bad, cannot make it to market.

DOS · by WizardX (116) · 2003

Dragon's Lair Arcade game was unique

The Good
We would stand in line and bum money to give to the random best player we found on the street just to see where this great game brings us & what new adventures and castles await.
The DOS version of Dragon's Lair was rather slow compared to the Arcade Game, which seemed to be the fastest out there. We did enjoy the 2 D Graphics; especially the Prince, Princess and Dragon are nicely animated. Shrek always reminded me a bit of this great game. Highly recommend it. If you can get your hands on the Arcade Game (we had some at G4 / E! Entertainment). even better.

The Bad
The Arcade game was rather expensive and one only had three tries I think. The PC and home computer versions were rather slow & the graphics were not so nice. I also miss the Arcade games that were based on Star Wars & Galactica movies. Have not seen these for a while. If anyone knows where to locate them, please let me know. Used to play them in London Oxford Circle. Thanks.

The Bottom Line
It starts really fast. Thanks to Cinematronics laserdisc technology. You get to see how the evil & scary Dragon Singe captures Princess Daphne and locks her in Mordroc Castle with a mean wizard. Suddenly you get thrown in the game as the protagonist Dirk the Daring attempting to rescue Princess Daphne & fighting the Dragon.

DOS · by Alexander von Roon (2) · 2021



David Foster, who worked with Randy Linden on the conversion on 16-bit machine, in Retro Gamer 38 (Conversion Capers) shared some information about development process.

"The key challenges were minimising the size of the data, maximising disk space and access times, and optimising processor usage. We began by carefully selecting scenes without background movement, then spent a great deal of time separating the foreground elements from the backgrounds. We touched up the foregrounds, reduced the colour palette to 16 colours, then compared movement between the foreground of the current and subsequent frames and reduced any Information that didn't change. The foreground image was then compressed.

We didn't use the Amiga operating system at all. In fact on the Amiga 1000 we even reused the special memory where the system would normally load into. All disk access was handled directly and we determined how much data needed to be pre-buffered and continued to load from disk as the animation was playing. We also came up with a proprietary disk format that packed more Information onto each track. Finally, the code was very tight assembly language. The image decoding programming was optimised by the cycle times each instruction took.

We ended up with about 15 per cent of the arcade game in the release version and this was on six disks when disks cost $1,25 each. And clearly there were compromises in video quality and frame rate, but we were dealing with an underpowered system, at least relative to what we wanted to achieve, with limited memory and a slow, small external storage device. It was uncharted territory at the time. Fortunately today's video codecs and storage media handle all of the tough tasks that we had to code for the Amiga.

We released it at the World of Commodore in December 1988 in Toronto and we literally could not make them fast enough. I think we sold over 1000 units at that show alone. Because of the proprietary disk format we could only copy the disks on certain drives. We were copying 24 hours a day and it took us three months to finally clear the backorders."

A semi-sequel called Escape from Singe's Castle quickly appeared, featuring additional scenes from the arcade version and in 1990 the original Amiga version was ported to the PC, Mac and Atari ST.


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1504
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeff Sinasac.

Atari ST added by B.L. Stryker. Macintosh added by Kabushi. Amiga added by Rantanplan.

Additional contributors: formercontrib, mailmanppa.

Game added May 28, 2000. Last modified October 9, 2023.