DGT #37: Dragons Lair


Dragon's Lair is a laserdisc video game published by Cinematronics in 1983. Wow, guess I am really dating myself with this reference. Come on, you guys totally remember this game! Back in the day, this used to be all the rage at the arcade. It was so freaking hard, because all you could do was push the joystick in the direction of the arrow that flashes on the screen or you would be dead. It kinda sucked that you couldn't actually move the character, but I liked the game because it reminded me of a movie. The visuals were awesome.

In the game, the protagonist Dirk the Daring...

is a knight attempting to rescue Prince Daphne...

from the evil dragon Singe...

who has locked the princess in the foul wizard Mordroc's castle...

    

It featured animation by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth. Obviously, the real star here was Singe. He makes all dragons proud with his purple ears, love of gold, and appetite for destruction.

Most other games of the era represented the character as a sprite, which consisted of a series of pixels displayed in succession. Due to hardware limitations of the era, artists were greatly restricted in the detail they could achieve using that technique; the resolution, framerate, and number of frames were severely constrained. Dragon's Lair overcame those limitations by tapping into the vast storage potential of the Laserdic but imposed other limitations on the actual gameplay. The success of the game sparked numerous home ports, sequels, and related games. Here are some of the subsequent games:

 

  • Escape from Singe's Castle also known as Dragon's Lair Part II - Escape From Singe's Castle is a 1987 video game released by Software Projects
  • Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp is the first official sequel other than Escape from Singe's Castle. Released in 1991, its story takes place years later. Dirk has married Daphne, and the marriage has produced several children. When Daphne is kidnapped by the evil wizard Mordroc in order to be forced into marriage, Dirk's children are clearly upset by the abduction of their mother, and Dirk must once again save her. 
  • Dragon's Lair III: The Curse of Mordread was made for Amiga, Atari ST, and PC in 1993, mixing original footage with scenes from Time Warp that were not included in the original PC release due to memory constraints. 
  • Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair was developed in 2002. It is based on the original Dragon's Lair and follows a similar story as Dirk must enter Mordroc's castle to rescue Princess Daphne from a dragon. Many of the characters and locations from the 1983 original make appearances in the game, along with new puzzles, rooms, and enemies. 

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