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Dragon's Lair

aka: Dragon's Lair: The Return Adventure, Sullivan Bluth Presents Dragon's Lair
Moby ID: 22587
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Description official description

The NES version for Dragon's Lair brings Dirk the Daring in a side-scrolling game, different from the interactive movie gameplay common to the other games under the same license.

Once again, Dirk is up to rescue Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe. To do so, Dirk will throw weapons such as knives, axes, or fire balls at various enemies, including dragons, bats, snakes, the Lizard King (who will steal gold from him), etc. He will also do a lot of jumping and ducking to avoid threats along his way, such as falling bridges, presses, spikes and holes on the floor. To complete a stage, all he has to do is to get to the end of it alive.

At the end of some stages, Dirk will take an elevator that will lead him to other stages. The elevator makes short stops at some platforms, and you have to decide if Dirk will jump onto that platform or another. If he takes the wrong platform, he may go back to a previous stage and go through it all over again. From the elevator, Dirk can also get to a bonus level, the Lizard King's throne room, where he can try to recover the gold the King has stolen from him.

Although Dirk has a life bar, he will instantly die when taking damage from most of the threats. He also has a "candle bar", which is used (by pressing the start button) to light up dark places and to discover hidden items at specific locations.

The game can be played by two players taking turns. The PAL version has faster gameplay, additional enemies (including level bosses), death animations and splash screens in between the levels.

Groups +



Credits (NES version)

Music Composer & Arranger (uncredited)



Average score: 41% (based on 18 ratings)


Average score: 1.8 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 3 reviews)

Lives up to the legacy

The Good
If I'm to be completely honest, I didn't actually like anything at all about this game. I loved it in my mind, until I tried it. I read a review which, much like this one, didn't have much good to say about this game, but I loved the pictures of it, and in my head this seemed like a good game.

I really wanted it to be a grand adventure, with smooth animations and atmospheric castle-interiors. I imagined a game where you could actually control Dirk in a way much like the old Prince of Persia, which was actually also converted to NES.

In my mind, Dragon's Lair was not only playable, it was magical.

The Bad
What happened was I tried the game. I consider it one of my luckiest days when I got to borrow this game from a friend. Not because the game was good, but because it saved me the shame and sorrow of having bought it myself.

This stinking pile of crap is utterly unenjoyable on every level there is. Fist of all, Dirk is virtually uncontrollable, since the game is so painfully slow. With all those big sprites flooding the small screen, things move slower than a 90-year old stuck in barrel of tar. Even the first screen takes forever to get through since the controls are so imprecise and you move so slowly you will die lots of times, even if you know exactly what to do and how to do it. And what happens the second you get to the second screen? Well, some prisoners starts chucking bombs at you for no apparent reason. Shouldn't they be happy and rejoice at the sight of a possible rescuer?

If you get through this game, you have not only the patience of an angel, you really can't have even the tiniest shred of life. If you do, you will find millions of frustrating things you'd rather do than play this awful excuse for a game.

This is just as horrible to play as the previous installments of this series. Avoid it, for the sake of your sanity.

The Bottom Line
Extremely difficult and far from worth the trouble. This game is just as bad (although not nearly as good looking) as the previous games in the series.

NES · by Joakim Kihlman (231) · 2008

What a bad game looks like!

The Good
The highlights about this game are only the range of good graphics and slightly(and i mean slightly) medieval music. Sadly, just because the graphics are good doesn't mean the game itself is good. That's just about it!

The Bad
How can I start? Well, about everything in existence can kill you! Snakes coming out of the wall, exploding walls and deadly doors( yes, deadly doors!). Your character is too slow despite the fact he has a princess to rescue! The actions are too slow and it takes Dirk the Daring(or should I say Dick the daring) to even crouch down. Now let's talk slightly more about the levels. In the first screen, you see a normal platformer WITH good graphics, but wait, before you can get into the castle, the door closes. Now in order to get the door to open, you have to kill a dragon that comes out from a moat (the surrounding river around a castle). First question, how do you kill the dragon? When you throw your daggers, they fly right over the dragon (bear it in mind, the dragon is small and shelters in the moat through the bridge). But when I try to duck in order to hit it, the goddamn thing crouches under the bridge. Yeah, if you're a beginner, you'll be wondering what the developers were smoking! I mean it's good to have a clever AI in an NES game, but come on! How are beginners supposed to know they're supposed to get all the way over to the left of the screen (while dodging fireballs, yes, don't forget we still have mr. Dragon to deal with). Then when you're at the left side of the screen, you have to still dodge fireball while throwing daggers while standing up! Of course this wouldn't be a problem for me, but the fireballs can kill you in a matter of SECONDS! So when we finally kill the dragon, we just have to hop our way to the entrance (there are even holes in the bridge!) That's when I turned off my system and gave up with this FREAKING GAME!!

The Bottom Line
This game should always be played on an online emulator for free instead of being bought! If you want a good platformer, well this just won't be up your street. Don Bleuth's creation has made a terrible leap to the NES and it will always be remembered, for being a piece of crap! Oh and be thankful that I have given you a runthrough of the first screen, you'll need it, just in case you ever want to play this game (despite the warnings of many people including me). So, what does this game get, 1.4/5 stars!

NES · by Arejarn (7353) · 2008

Good Graphics can't save this game

The Good
the Graphics are great. They are really close to the actual arcade game, despite some washed-out colors. also, the music fits the mood, which is always a plus.

The Bad
I know that it would be impossible to make a port of the arcade game on the NES, but what was done instead is terrible. Dirk moves at the pace of a snail, and dies instantly from anything, even though he has a life bar. I have honestly tried to get past even the first part of the first area and can't.

The Bottom Line
It is a terrible game. You'd be better off finding a port of the original arcade game.

NES · by Dracula_Marth (17) · 2008


Version differences

The NTSC version runs very slow, while the PAL and NTSC-J releases go at the right speed.


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  • MobyGames ID: 22587
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by chirinea.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Lance Boyle, MusicFox, Skippy_Chipskunk.

Game added June 2, 2006. Last modified June 28, 2024.