Dragon’s Lair (PC) Review

Dragon’s Lair (PC) Review
Review Score:

After receiving a warm reception from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 gamers, Don Bluth’s legendary Laserdisc coin-op, Dragon’s Lair, has finally made its way to Steam courtesy of Digital Leisure and the Steam Greenlight Community. With vastly improved HD graphics and bonus features, the Steam release of Dragon’s Lair is by far the best one.

Like most coin-ops from back in the day, the story behind Dragon’s Lair was simple and to the point – as Dirk the Daring, you must survive the dangerous traps inside the castle to save Princess Daphne from Singe the Dragon. It must be understood that Dragon’s Lair was released during a different time.

Video games were just beginning to evolve. Before it was released during the summer of 1983, video games were limited to stick figures, blocks and beeps for sound effects. Imagine the impact Dragon’s Lair had when gamers finally experienced it for the first time. It was like graduating from an Atari 2600 to a PlayStation 3.

The Steam release of Dragon’s Lair retains the gameplay and rooms from the arcade classic. The Tentacles, Skull Hallway and those ever-annoying Giddy Goons are still waiting to give gamers a challenge. The half-second decision gameplay – or QTEs (Quick Time Events) as they are called today – is every bit as challenging as it was then.

The player is given seconds to avoid danger as they rush through red rapids, avoid giant whirlpools and fall to their death on large wooden platforms. Performing the wrong action results in Dirk’s untimely demise, but like the game itself, the death sequences are just as enjoyable to watch as Dirk is drowned, stabbed and even thrown to his death.

The gameplay requires patience as each room is basically a puzzle that must be completed with a certain combination of moves. Once you have learned these patterns and their timing, you can complete them again without too much difficulty. However, this does depend on which version of the game you decide to play. The ‘Home’ version option plays the scenes in a specific order and the timing for some of the moves are different.

Additionally, some rooms like the Magnetic Chair and Fire Room have entirely different patterns. Arcade mode is similar by adding additional patterns to some rooms, while changing the timing in others. There is also an option to play the game on easy or arcade, so this changes the experience as well. Essentially, there is some replay value if you’re willing to master the various game modes available.

Digital Leisure has included some extras to appease their fans. The game contains the original attract mode from the coin-op, a ‘watch mode’ where the game plays itself, a high score table, and a tutorial to familiarize gamers with the gameplay. There is also a move guide that briefly displays the right moves on-screen to help gamers. For veterans of the coin-op, you can disable the move guide and play Dragon’s Lair the way it was originally intended.

There is no questioning Dragon’s Lair and its place in video game history. It not only revolutionized the way we played games, but it paved the way for future innovation in the industry. And even if you didn’t grow up during the 1980’s, you deserve to experience this masterpiece at least once. It may not be Battlefield, Resident Evil or Left 4 Dead , but it did inspire an entire generation as well as some of the people who develop the games you play today. As a game, Dragon’s Lair comes highly recommended. If you haven’t already, play it today. Princess Daphne needs to be saved.

Mike Pittaro
PC (Available on Steam / Also Available for Mac)

PC System Requirements:
OS: Windows XP SP3
Processor: 1.8 GHz dual core CPU
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: 256 MB GeForce 8800, Radeon 3850, or Intel HD 2000 Graphics
DirectX: 9.0
Hard Drive: 1 GB HD space
Sound: DirectX Compatible Sound Card

Developer: Digital Leisure
Publisher: Digital Leisure
Price: $8.99 (Originally $9.99)

Dragon’s Lair Official Website

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