Dragon's Lair

Coleco Adam Specs [ all ]
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Description

The first home conversion of the legendary Dragon's Lair laserdisc arcade game was originally released for the Coleco Adam home computer in the USA; UK-made ports released by Software Projects followed two years later. While mostly maintaining its trial-and-error gameplay concept, the computer versions adapt the original only loosely: the player controls Dirk the Daring on his quest to rescue Princess Daphne from the dragon Singe through nine distinct scenes:* The Falling Disk: Dirk must try staying on top of the disk that falls down to the dungeons. An Air Genie will try to blow him off, and he also has to jump off at the right moment to get onto a ramp leading to the next level.

  • Skull Hallway: Dirk must evade or fend off creatures like skeletons, slimes and bats emerging from passageways.

  • The Burning Ropes: Dirk must swing across chasms on ropes, being fast enough so the rising flames won't engulf him from behind.

  • The Weapons Room: Weapons and armor come to life and attack Dirk: he can only survive through well-timed sidesteps or weapon slashes.

  • Ramps and Giddy Goons: Dirk must jump from ramp to ramp quickly before they disappear behind him, and he also has to take out the goons standing in the way with his sword.

  • The Tentacle Room: Similar to scenes two and five, Dirk must again evade or kill creatures in a room, who emerge from the ceiling and floor.

  • The Second Disk: a reprise of the first scene, deeper in the dungeons.

  • The Deadly Checkerboard: A dangerous game against the Phantom Knight. The Knight can teleport around the board at will and will turn a line of squares in front of him into deadly traps. Dirk must get close to the Knight and strike him down with a series of sword hits.

  • Slaying the Dragon: The grand finale: Dirk must evade Singe's fiery breath long enough to get to a magic sword and then deliver the final blow.

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Credits (Commodore 64 version)

4 People

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Graphics Drawn by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 62% (based on 11 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.2 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 1 reviews)

Conversion manages to capture the overall feel of the laser disc arcade original, with all that implies.

The Good
Software Projects took up the mammoth task of converting this undeniably visually striking, though ultimately hollow coin muncher, onto the 8-bit Micros, in this instance, the Commodore 64, and within these limitations, I think it succeeds on this level.

Of course, due to the nature of the beast, it would have been futile to attempt emulating the animation driven play mechanics, so instead a more conventional approach has been taken. You take control of our hero, Dirk the daring, represented here by a sprite, and freely manipulate his movements with the joystick, within the confines of the play area. Though, just as in the original, any false move will send you plummeting to your demise. Still, this presents a more natural approach to interacting with the game, at least initially.

The presentation here, put simply, is excellent. Even on this small scale the raw essence of the original’s atmosphere has been captured almost perfectly. Great use has been made of the 64's decidedly limited colour pallette, and the graphics here are clean and solid, with a good level of detail, that evokes a distinct and appealing cartoon quality to the proceedings.

In terms of the audio side of things, old SID isn’t neglected, and the music compositions and various spot effects are well implemented and compliment the visuals nicely.

The Bad
Just like the original, this is absolutely rock hard. Here, you are only given a handful of lives, and there is no continue feature. Completely unforgiving.

The first act is phenomenally difficult, and you can bet that genie is going to blow you off the spherical platform, just when you thought you had it nailed. Needless to say, hair tearing out ensues.

When your itching to have another try, you have to endure that dying intermission with the skeleton, which is inherent of the original, and it again becomes so tiresome after the one hundredth time. This is so needlessly irritating and could have easily been avoided.

The Bottom Line
Dragon’s Lair is very slickly done on the 64, but begs the question, where is the coin slot? It’s fine and dandy for the money chomper to smack you at every turn, but at home it would be nice to at least have a fighting chance of making some minor leaps of progression into the rest of the game world that dwells on the two humble floppies.

In the short term, I still found this to be a bit addictive, with a “just one more go” quotient, but I ultimately found it to be too much of an exercise in sheer frustration. Princess Daphne will have to find her own way out of the dungeon. I’m licked.

Commodore 64 · by Nick Drew (397) · 2006

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  • MobyGames ID: 52779

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Game added by Terok Nor.

Game added September 18th, 2011. Last modified March 9th, 2023.