Dragon’s Lair Review
Dragon’s Lair is an historically significant video game, sporting exceptionally eye-catching graphics, for its time. Its remake for the PSN remains as true to the original experience as possible; unfortunately, this means the game has next to no prescribed action.
Sporting Disney-esque graphics, Dragon’s Lair was an arcade release that wowed gamers everywhere. The story follows Dirk the Daring as he fights against the appropriately-named dragon Singe, in order to save Princess Daphne. Instead of actually being a user-controlled experience, the game plays out like a cross between a Goosebumps “Choose Your own Adventure” novel, and the quick-time events from God of War. How does Goosebumps come into Dragon’s Lair? Well, unless you are spot on with your button presses, you’ll be greeted with an untimely death sequence, and make your way back to the title screen.
This sort of approach was inspired back in 1983. However, it must be said that come 2011, people expect a little more for their money. Obviously, remaking a nostalgic classic is touchy ground, and it is difficult to keep everybody happy. But I think even the most ardent fans of the game will have a hard time arguing that this is a strange choice for a reboot.
The actual experience only lasts for about 20 minutes, if you know what you are doing. If you are new to the game, it might take you double that, once you figure out exactly what is going on, and why you can only perform such limited actions. Also, the game’s best part is that it is a visual showpiece; however, when in control, your focus is directed so intensely at the input indicator, that it becomes impossible to take everything else in. As a result, Dragon’s Lair is more enjoyable when you’re watching, than when you’re playing.
Value content in this release is minimal. Although the game spawned sequels (for want of a better word) and spin-offs, none are included for the price. A “watch” mode is included that shows players what a perfect run should look like - only really handy for those who don’t have a friend to perform the actions while they sit back. For a current-day release, this little content crosses the border into ‘unacceptable’ territory.
The Final Verdict
Dragon’s Lair is no doubt a fond memory for many arcade-dwellers of the early 1980’s. It would appear, however, that this is where the game is best left; a loving, nostalgic memory. Trying to re-release the near-exact same package as was available almost 30 years ago is simply not good enough, and it is difficult to even recommend this game to fans of the original.
By Tom Hughes
We say: STAY AWAY