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Dragon's Lair


Dragon's Lair

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Arcade
Author: NeoSteel

Giddy Goons, The Smithee, Daphne, Dirk, the Sorcerer, the dragon...to the newer generations these words won't mean anything. However, those who remember the game will be more than aware of the amount of money they spent on the infinitely difficult game that is Dragon's Lair. Help Dirk the Daring through a game built on the idea of trial and error followed by a quick series of memorization. In attempts to save the beautiful Princess Daphne from the clutches on an evil dragon, Dirk must first run for his life from the infinite perils of the twists and turns that make up the game's name. After that seemingly endless frustration, you end up in the lair of the dragon and see the princess locked in a...glass ball of some sort, with her magically glowing robe thing covering next to nothing, and her leotard covering even less, and then you listen to Dirk swoon over her before you get right back in to the interaction. Fight the dragon, slay the dragon, save the day, get the girl, credits roll.


The sounds in this game are truly representative of the early 1980's when the original game came out. Very cartoon like, somewhat entertaining in and of themselves, and unlike today's games, constant. You know that when Dirk swings his sword, you're going to get the goofy sound of some guy going “Swoosh!”, or the monsters going “Bwowolwlwlwowlw!” The sorcerer shooting magic at you is another great example of the sound effects in this game staying absolutely true to the “Peoo!”s of yesteryear. All-in-all, the game's soundtrack and effects board are 100% true to the original, and if you're into the 80's sounding games, you can't go wrong.


This game is simply a cartoon that you interact with. There aren't really any “graphics” to speak of, simply because it's all hand drawn and animated, and that was how the game was supposed to be. You don't go into this game expecting a remake of the original, you go into it expecting to see the cartoon as it was originally drawn by Don Bluth. It is an entertaining trip down the old path of cartoons, when they were actually worth watching.


The gameplay in this game is frustrating to say the least. Who knew that a trial and error game could be so devastating? There is absolutely no forgiveness, and if you play with the game guide off to get the achievement for it....be prepared for a possible rage quit. Because of the gameplay, I can understand why this game made so much money. There are no warnings, and the only way to beat the game is to memorize the actions you are going to help Dirk do.

The way the game plays is unorthodox in the land of games. Instead of controlling Dirk and making him do what you want, you push a corresponding arrow or attack button to trigger the next animation sequence or miss said buttons to listen to Dirk scream like a girl during the death sequence....which is followed by one of the most famous and recognizable “Back to action” screens, consisting of Dirk's skeleton returning to the living Dirk, and returning to the action.

You do have moments of rather easy button pushes with the guide on, but there are moments where the guide blends in with the background, or is just too fast that you barely see it, let alone actually hit it. However, it is far from being impossible. Even with the game guide off, once you understand the particular level you're on, and remember what you have to do, trial and error becomes, more or less, muscle memory.


I never had the chance to play this game in the arcade. I was born in the era during this game's reign and never could get into it. With that said, understand that this is a fresh perspective from a modern gamer. My conclusion is if you are nostalgic about games that you played way back when, or wonder about the games your mom and dad possibly played, this is most likely the game for you. The achievements are interesting and seem odd to me, though I suppose the whole game is quite strange. All-in-all, I think this is a good purchase, especially for those who enjoy the nostalgia of spending money on something that doesn't seem to have much replay value......at all.


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