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Dragon's Lair

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Digital Leisure
Developer: Digital Leisure
Media: HD DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Dragon's Lair, is a remastering of the classic (and possibly original) laserdisc game. Visuals put the quality of this version just as good as the original. This says something since the previous re-works of this game (on everything from the Coleco to the home DVD player) haven't been able to show the quality of the originals. This is really apparent in the special feature found on the disc called Legacy. In this feature, you get side-by-side comparisons between various versions of this game. An interesting distraction in case you get a bit fed up with Dirk the Daring's various plights.

If you haven't seen or played any of the previous renditions of Dragon's Lair, then you should know that all of the video in this game is hand-drawn cartoons rendered in FMVs. While this means that there will be a few stutters as you select your options, for the most part, the transition between one clip and the next is pretty smooth.

Audio-wise, Dragon's Lair seems to have just as high a quality as it ever has, but then there is also the full surround-sound support that really helps to immerse you into the game. The music and sound effects have always been a high point in getting this game's mood across, and this version doesn't fall short.


Dragon's Lair lets you guide the valiant knight Dirk the Daring on his quest through the Wizard's Castle in hopes of rescuing Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe. Instead of directly manipulating Dirk, you watch him walk into a room as some catastrophe occurs (typically some monster, breaking walkway or other imminent dangerous thing). You then use your remote to get Dirk safely past the immediate danger.

The game is pretty lengthy with several dozen rooms and creatures. I've played the game several times and each time I pick it up, I find an FMV that I haven't dealt with before.

But the game itself isn't all this product has to offer. There are quite a few special features like the ability to watch a number (if not all) of the FMVs, the Legacy featurette mentioned above, and a whole slew of interviews. These are all fun additions to the game that any long-time Dragon's Lair fan will want to see.


I had forgotten just how hard Dragon's Lair was. If you don't get your timing just right, or if you panic and just hit buttons, then you will kill Dirk more times than let him progress. You have to be quick on your fingers in order to realize that part of the floor is falling apart or an enemy will come at you from around the corner.

All I can say is, it's a good thing I didn't have to keep pumping quarters into my HD DVD player cause I would be out some major cash just trying to get to the dragon (let's not even talk about how hard that final chamber is).

Game Mechanics:

Like most menu-based games, Dragon's Lair is controlled with your remote. You use the direction buttons to tell the game you want to move in a direction (through a door, off to a side, etc.) and you use the OK/Enter button to tell the game you want to attack. This game is all about keeping your eyes peeled and your fingers ready for anything.

It was interesting to see how the game used some of the features of HD DVDs. For instance, one of the specials is a picture-in-picture commentary from the original creators of the game as you watch the FMVs.

Dragon's Lair on HD DVD is a pretty good find for anyone who already has an HD DVD player and is an existing fan of the game. I wouldn't say its all that great for newer gamers (most would find it too old-school) and it definitely isn't worth getting a player for.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Any computer with an HD DVD drive or an HD DVD player or an Xbox 360 with the HD DVD Player attachment.

Test System:

Xbox 360 with HD DVD Player

Sony PlayStation Portable Dragoneer's Aria Windows Hacker Evolution

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated