When you consider the fact that Dragon’s Lair has been available for just about every single platform imaginable, including but not limited to the Commodore 64, Sega CD, and even the Nintendo 3DS, since its original 1983 arcade release, it was only a matter of time before it made its way to Xbox LIVE Arcade. Now that it finally has, those who have never had the chance to experience the animated, almost thirty year old adventure classic are now able to do so in all of its original glory—with a few extra bells and whistles thrown in for unnecessary measures.
For the uninitiated, Dragon’s Lair follows the gangly knight, Dirk the Daring, as he traverses a series of trap laden-rooms, being controlled with one-at-a-time directional and sword based movements that are indicated by flashing objects on screen. When an object such as a door or a staircase flashes, you then have a very limited amount of time to press that direction and survive.
It’s the equivalent to Quick Time Events that permeate today’s games. Fail to perform the correct movement and you die. That’s about the gist of the entire game, but as mentioned, each room provides a different challenge and set of movements that must be undertaken to pass on your way to save the hyper sexualized princess Daphne from the flame-bellowing dragon, Singe.
The XBLA version of Dragon’s Lair offers plenty of varying options in experiencing the game such as giving the ability to play within an arcade cabinet, turning off the movement indicators, and even—-for the laziest of the bunch— watch the game get played by itself, from beginning to end. There is also a Kinect-enabled option to play the game, but like so many things that involve Kinect, it is not the best way to experience the game, nor is it suggested or even a necessity.
Dragon’s Lair was—at the time– a revolution in arcade machines that were designed to destroy the wallets of even the quickest of players. The animated graphics from celebrated Disney artist Don Bluth were unlike anything else at the time and anything since (not counting his other game Space Ace or sequels). Now you can play from the comfort of your couch with as many continues as you like, and using the included arcade mode option that allows you to skip the any room should you fail the actions, it makes the difficulty of the game non-existent.
If you have played any of the many iterations of Dragon’s Lair in the past -–and chances are that if you have been around gaming for a while, you have– then there really isn’t a reason to jump in with another version; not for anything other than nostalgic reasons. If for some odd happenstance you have never had the opportunity to play it previously, then the XBLA version is a great presentation of the game as it once was.
Title: Dragon’s Lair