Title: Dragon’s Lair
System: Nintendo





This game makes me want to rip the spine out of a puppy and club a baby seal to death with it. After more than 15 minutes I couldn’t get past the bridge into the castle itself and I didn’t understand how people like my mom spent money continuously playing this game in the arcade when it came out. Considering one hit kills you the challenge factor is incredibly high but having infinite lives in the console version at least partially makes up for that. At least, I didn’t understand it until I looked up the game (thanks, Wikipedia!) and found that the NEs port version of the game has at least half the response time as the original arcade and laserdisc versions.

In the game you play as Dirk the Daring, out to save Princess Daphne from the forces of evil…if you have a few dozen hours to spare. The gameplay is slow to respond, sluggish on button presses and absolutely infuriating. And yet it was almost hard for me to put down. It’s part of my stubborn nature to want nothing more than to at least get into the friggin’ castle and see what’s behind this snake monster in the moat. I’m sure there’s more of the same, but one day I will get there.

The thing is, this is a game for the patient. Me? I’m stubborn. I will play for hours given the chance just to see what lays beyond. I hate being defeated and having seemingly infinite lives makes it possible to play this game for hours at a time. The same can be said of the updated version for Dragon’s Lair 3D for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube. This game at least had me get further but with the updated graphics and gameplay it was a little easier to master.

I can’t in good conscience say this is a bad game to play because honestly, it isn’t. It’s a prime example of how system limitations led to poor porting in the early consoles, but it’s far from a bad game. And one day, Dragon’s Lair, I will conquer you. Oh yes, I will.

I think I pretty well covered this in the review, but this game takes days to beat. You have to take time to learn the specific timing of every little thing while you’re repeatedly mamed, stabbed, and otherwise killed in a variety of unfortunate ways. The challenge factor here is incredibly high so that will make or break a person who is out for a leisurely stroll through the land of the 8-bit NES. But it doesn’t cost you a dumptruck full of quarters to get there.

Dragon’s Lair 3D (PS2, GameCube, Xbox) – An updated version of the original has you solving puzzles much the same way…and being destroyed in much the same fashion. If this game didn’t have a save feature it would be just as aggrivating as the original but the good news is that said save feature is indeed there for you.

Flashback: Quest for Identity (SNES, Genesis), Out of This World (SNES, Genesis), and Heart of Darkness (PS1) – All 3 of these games are similiar in their linear gameplay and learn-as-you-go style. Each have their frustrations and aggrivations but because they’re about 15 years later they all have a much better grasp on what they can get away with when you die every time you look at something funny. And they have a save feature which makes things far less annoying.