Dragon's Lair HD Review


Dragonís Lair HD is a game for the serious nostalgia buff. If you know of the game then it needs no introduction. If youíre unfamiliar with it then more than likely itís not for you. The novelty of ďplaying a cartoonĒ has worn off in the nearly quarter century since the game first appeared in arcades and the gameplay itself just hasnít stood up to the test of time.

To those of you new to the game, Dragonís Lair involves watching short video scenes play out on the screen. At certain points an action will be required on your part which involves using one of the four arrow keys to move in a direction or an action key (in this case the spacebar) to do things like swing your sword. Youíll know that youíve reached an action point because a part of the screen will blink and youíll hear a noise like a ding. Press the right key at the right time and scene will continue or youíll move on to the next scene. Miss your cue and youíll see a death animation (every mistake is always fatal) and youíll come back to life at the start of a new scene. The gameplay boils down to an exercise in trial and error and once you figure out which key to press and when itís all rote memorization. This leads to a game thatís frustrating at first and then boring after.

This version of Dragonís Lair has been remastered for HD and 5.1 sound, which makes it look and sound good although it still will appear as a 2D hand-animated cartoon. For gameplay graphics you have to give the edge to todayís gameís computer generated 3D graphics over hand-drawn cells.

Dragonís Lair HD features a few other things that you donít have in the last version of the game that you bought. You can adjust the time required for you to hit a button in the game, which is a godsend to those frustrated to death by the gameís default requirement of near split-second timing. You can also watch the game as a movie, with or without the death scenes in-between. The best part of this feature is that it shows you areas of the game that you may never reach if you get too bored or frustrated with the gameplay. On the downside the disjoint nature of the scenes means that it doesnít play well on its own as a movie and overall it is surprisingly short. Because of this itís not something that youíll be sitting down to watch over and over again.

Dragonís Lairís gameplay just hasnít aged very well. I can always jump into a quick game of Asteroids or Galaga, but playing Dragonís Lair over and over again just doesnít have the same appeal. This one is best left to the gameís true fans and collectors.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 57%.  Dragonís Lair HD is not likely to appeal to anyone who is not already a lifelong aficionado of the game.