Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair

aka: Dragon's Lair 3D: Special Edition, Dragon´s Lair 3D: Návrat do doupěte
Moby ID: 7798
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

The goofy, but courageous knight Dirk the Daring is on a quest to save the pretty princess Daphne. The princess was kidnapped by the evil dragon Singe and imprisoned in a medieval castle owned by an even more evil wizard called Mordroc. Now, it's only up to Dirk to use his courage and his quick reflexes to overcome the traps in the castle, if he wants to save the princess and his skin.

Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair can be considered a re-imagining of the 1983 arcade game: gameplay-wise it deviates from it significantly, being a full-fledged action platformer with unrestricted character movement. Dirk has to battle enemies, jump across platforms and hazards, and solve a few puzzles on his way. Health and mana points can be upgraded over the course of the game. Dirk can also use a crossbow to combat enemies and solve some of the puzzles. Collecting Dragon Essences scattered through the castle grants him new powers.

The game features the familiar cartoon-like style of the original version (done with cel-shaded technique), as well as many familiar locations and boss enemies.


  • 龙穴历险记 3D - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (Windows version)

205 People (122 developers, 83 thanks) · View all

In Memory of
Dragon's Lair Co-Creators
Chief Executive Producer
Executive Producer
Technical Director
Lead Programmer
Creative Director
Lead Designer
Lead Game Programmer
Designer Dragonstone Software
Project Directors
[ full credits ]



Average score: 66% (based on 41 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 3 reviews)

The Dragon's Lair as it has to be done 25 years ago!

The Good
Practically everything is excellent. Graphics are cartoon-like and enchanting, sound right on the spot, gameplay neither easy nor difficult. Controls are fine overall. It looks like being inside a cartoon, and that's the original Dragon's Lair cartoon! I cannot understand all the bad reviews around; 25 years ago the original was not that good, ok it had the cartoon graphics that captured you but what else?? Choose right or left and the game loads the respective sequence, that's all. Showing 'apparent' great graphics and interactivity during those blocky pixels days made everybody love it...but actually it was cheating on you!!! Now that technology allows a great interactive and cartoonish game let's enjoy it and forget that old one!

The Bad
Perhaps the princess voice is a little annoying and the enemies sometimes are a little easier than you would expect, but..hey...it's a cartoon-like game! It must be played as a mindless and straight forward journey not as a brain testing ordeal. That's one of the great part of it! The original was far too frustrating because it was in the arcades and needed coin after coin; now that we can enjoy the ride what's wrong with it? The Windows version of the game was released with some incompatibility for DirectXs different from English/French/German and that was a naughty naughty thing. Thus sometimes it simply doesn't start at all...

The Bottom Line
All in all an absolute great game, misunderstood by many gamers who preferred to stick with the original because nostalgia plays more than effective value of the game. Comparing this with the original is a nonsense; the original was dumb and unfair, but was acceptable for those days and the arcades. This is exactly how that game in the '80s had to be and is wonderful. Forget that old cheating arcade game and enjoy the game as it was intended to be finally; The Real Ride in The Enchanted Castle!

Windows · by dan rexx (37) · 2007

Dirk is Back! Now in real 3D. High definition animation platform action!

The Good
It is very faithful to the original artwork for Dragon's Lair in a high definition hand drawn style. It is challenging. The music score is concert hall quality that really sets the mood. Daphne is as hot as ever. And there are extra bonus features about the making of the original dragon's lair.

The Bad
I didn't like the reviews the game got. There was very little good to say about the game. But after getting the DVD box set that had a preview of the game I just had to go out and buy it. And I'm glad I did. I'll pass along what others have not liked about the game. The control system is hard to get used too. The camera angle is independent of the character movement but the character focuses in the same direction as the camera. If you use the lock on feature with an enemy that is moving a lot you will most likely not go in the direction you are trying to go. And that means a lost life when trying to jump around and falling. The second biggest complaint is the trial and error aspect. So many times you have no clue what to do or where to jump until you try and fail or try and succeed. Many scenes have to be repeated over and over again until you get it right. I can see a modern gamer complaining about this. But I happen to be one that spent hours and hours and hundreds of quarters playing Dragon's Lair. It was ALL trial and error. That makes it a classic.

The Bottom Line
You are Dirk the Daring. A bumbling knight whose scantily clad girlfriend, Daphne has been kidnapped by an evil wizard. You must rescue her. This game is a 3D over the shoulder first person platformer with power ups and special weapons and puzzles to solve. Plenty of bad guys to slice and dice. If you played the original Dragon's Lair 20 years ago then you will like this game. Younger gamers might not understand the frustration is part of the game.

GameCube · by gametrader (208) · 2003

About as good as a Dragon's Lair remake can be.

The Good
The story is simple enough. Daphne was kidnapped by the dragon Singe. Now incompetent but loyal Dirk the Daring will risk life and limb in a trap-filled castle to rescue her.

Dragon's Lair 3D- Return To The Lair isn't so much a sequel to the previous Dragon's Lair games as it is a remake.

The original was immensely popular in its' time, but really it was only because the game was so beautiful. Actual play wasn't much more than hitting the right joystick combo at EXACTLY the right instant.

This new game improves on the original greatly by remaking the castle in full 3D. You have the option to have a free floating camera controlled by the mouse ala MDK or Rune or a 'Console Camera' where the game controls the camera movement. I never use the console camera, but it's nice to be given a choice.

The timed puzzles are (for the most part) gone and you can move about freely and do what you want.

Dirk is pretty nimble. He can run, roll, climb, etc. He can also pick up objects and weapons so he doesn't always have to rely on his sword. Overall, I'd say the game play is similar to Eidos' Deathrap Dungeon.

All of the characters and several of the objects are cel-shaded to keep the original Dragon's Lair 'look' and it works beautifully.

The sound effects work. They aren't fantastic, but most are lifted from the original, so I can't rightly label this as bad.

The Bad
My one major complaint is the lack of skill settings. There is no easy/hard choice at the beginning of the game and overall the game is just too easy. You hit a Giddy Goon with your sword once and he stands there dazed while you take him out with chop number two.

In a room where several armored bad guys teleport in and rush you, you can tell that this should be an adrenaline filled moment, but the knights are bested so easily that the overall effect is boredom.

While the sound effects go from being great to just serviceable, I do HATE Daphne's breathy-but annoying voice. In the original game, her husky voice came off as comically sexy because she only spoke a few lines. Unfortunately, in Dragon's Lair 3D, you have an amulet that communicates with her constantly. Let me tell you, her voice gets pretty irritating pretty quick.

She also gives you hints, but it would have worked better if the game allowed you to access the amulet to request a hint. Or maybe a chime could let you know hints are available for the area you're in. As it is, Daphne sometimes spells out exactly what you have to do to move on, destroying any small semblance of adventure or puzzle solving that might have been present.

There are a few rooms that are exact recreations of rooms from the original (the burning rope swing and the knight with the electrified floor for example) and at these times the game will take away the free floating camera in favor of a stationary camera to make the game feel like the original. This wasn't terrible, but it did get me killed a few times.

One last little niggle is that while the characters are all cel-shaded and beautiful, the rest of the graphics are just standard polygon fare. I personally would have liked to see every wall/floor/object cel-shaded. The only time this is really a bad thing is when a statue comes to life. First, he's just an object in the room. Then when he starts to move, he's suddenly cel-shaded, with no real transition in between. It's pretty distracting.

The Bottom Line
I see my cons are longer than my pros, but overall I like this game. If you remember blowing all your money on the coin-op version, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. The nostalgia factor is pretty high.

For other, younger gamers, the game is pretty and it's not a bad third-person dungeon-crawl, but there are lots of better ones available.

Bring on Space Ace 3D!

Windows · by Atomic Punch! (186) · 2003


Subject By Date
Let's Play Series on YouTube ikrananka Mar 13, 2017



This is the first ever Xbox title to feature 1080i High Definition (HD) TV graphics mode.

References to the game

The game is featured in the 2005 movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when the in-movie filmmaking team of Tibby Rollins and Bailey Graffman interview Brian McBrian, resident convenience store arcade whiz of this game (sometimes homophonically described as "Dragon Slayer", despite a legible Dragon's Lair 3D marquee -- presumably a prop devised for the movie, as the game isn't on record as existing in coin-op format) for their "suckumentary".

BAILEY: I think I found a good subject for an interview. His name is Brian McBrian, king of 'Dragon's Lair.' I've heard he's broken every record there is. Okay, he's definitely not what you'd call lame... but I figured he'd be a good contrast to all the loser types in the movie.

TIBBY: Start setting up. Stand next to him. Pretend you're a fan, like you watch him all the time. Right. And action. Video arcade wizards are fixtures at most convenience stores. Brian McBrian is a fixture at this one. 'Dragon's Lair,' he says...is his calling. So, Brian, you spend a lot of time here?

BRIAN: Sometimes all day.

TIBBY: So you prefer to spend most of your time here at the Quick Mart...instead of out in the real world?

BAILEY: Well, maybe he finds the world of 'Dragon's Lair' more interesting.

TIBBY: Tell us about it, Brian.

BRIAN: Well... basically, you're Dirk the Daring... in the year 1305 AD. See, the goal is to rescue Princess Daphne, who's being guarded by Singe, the dragon. See, chamber number one is the snake room -- see, snakes slither from the ceiling. You don't even get to see the dragon until chamber number 23!

Later in the film, Brian gives Bailey a GBC with its different Dragon's Lair version to play while she recuperates from leukemia treatment in the hospital.

Information also contributed by Pseudo_Intellectual


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  • MobyGames ID: 7798
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Roger Wilco.

GameCube added by Corn Popper. PlayStation 2 added by The Cookiesh.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Indra was here, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Đarks!đy ✔.

Game added November 22, 2002. Last modified April 30, 2024.