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Dragon's Lair

version: ntsc (usa) - year: 2006 - original developer: advanced microcomputer systems - publisher (s): cinematronics, taito, digital leisure inc. - format: blu-ray - condition: mint - rarity: slight

Digital Leisure's remastered edition supports full HD and widescreen!

































Review - Dragon’s Lair is the first laserdisc game ever made.

It hit the arcades scene back in 1983 thanks to Cinematronics. Just think that during that period, games used to be an almost unintelligible agglomerate of pixelated shapes sprinkled with some colors. Players had to make a big effort of imagination to interpret the stylized graphics.

In this scenario, the freshness of the cartoon visuals of Dragon’s Lair had the effect of a small atomic bomb. Players could actually have some degree of control in a game that looked as good as a Disney movie! So it is no surprise that people started lining up in front of the Dragon’s Lair cabinet, staring at the screen in pure awe.

Cinematronic knew the potential of its game, so many arcade cabinet were equipped with two monitors: one for the player and another one on top of the cabinet for everybody else to see.

Since a lot of money was invested in this new laserdisc technology, Dragon’s Lair was probably the first game to require as much as 50 cent to play a single game. After its success in the arcades, Dragon’s Lair started spawning a myriad of ports across almost all gaming platforms known to man. From the personal computers of the 1980s such as the Commodore 64, the Amiga and the PC to almost all consoles out there, including the GBC(!), Dragon's lair spread everywhere with mixed results. What is unbelievable though is that despite the game being so old, we had to wait for this HD port to have a version which finally matches the original arcades visuals.

This Blu-Ray version is probably the best available port because it was transferred and remastered from the original film. It has been noticeably cleaned up, getting rid of stains and dust and the result is a very lively picture, crisp and extra colorful. Even on the audio side things have improved, with full 5.1 support.

A few other interesting options include wide-screen support and the inclusion of various extras such as the option to watch the whole game from start to finish, interviews and footages comparison between some of the ports (amiga, pc, dvd, ld and hd) and more.

As a game, Dragon’s Lair can be pretty tough since the window in which you are supposed to give an input with your joypad is short. Moreover, many scenes will require inputs which are not logical with the action taking place on the screen. These flaws actually plague all versions of Dragon’s Lair and cannot be attributed to the quality of this port.

One thing that left me cold though is the fact that there is no way to play the game sequences in order. Every time you lose a life, you get redirected to a new scene, This is how the arcade game was programed indeed, but most of the home ports proposed the scenes in the same chronological succession. I really do not understand why this option was not included here!

Another aspect that disappointed me is that when switching to a death scene, the game kinds of hiccups while it is looking for the new scene to load. The effect is unfortunately rather annoying...

Bottom line: In the end, despite the great conversion work, this port by Digital Leisure falls short in becoming the ultimate Dragon’s Lair version. It looks fantastic but there is still room for improvements on the gameplay front....8/10










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