My relationship with Dragon’s Lair is a romantic one. There’s love, excitement, disappointment, and anxiety. The machine at Insert Coin(s) here in Las Vegas sits and taunts me. It knows I can never win but will always dump a few quarters in it’s full belly in an attempt to prove it wrong. I never do. But alas, the Xbox Live Arcade is here to the rescue! I can practice to my hearts content and soon…soon I will have my revenge. *maniacal laugh*
Let’s get back on point, before it’s day of many, many playable ports and now arcade versions, Dragon’s Lair was just a video game on a laserdisc. You still with me or did I lose you at laserdisc? Dragon’s Lair has you avoiding death at any cost as the hero Dirk in a feeble attempt to rescue the bodacious Princess Daphne. The game is prompt based and separated by scenes rather than levels. If you’re feeling lucky you have an option to turn off “move mode” and simply try to hit the correct actions according to hints on the screen that could be anything from blinking doors to just remembering what direction to jump from the scene right before it. Trust me, it’s incredibly difficult.
The XBLA version is true to both the laserdisc and arcade versions of Dragon’s Lair. The menu, which is only accessed via Kinect if you have one, lets you choose plenty of fun options to keep your attention. You can choose the Easy or Hard difficulty settings, although both of which are not friendly, and you can also choose between a Home or Arcade version. The Home version follows the classic laserdisc version and forces you to actually successfully pass each scene before you can progress in the story, while the Arcade version will cut to the next scene each time you turn to bones, which is often.
The Kinect version of the game is the new and not improved version of the game. Because of how different the game plays on Kinect, Dragon’s Lair has an Adventure, Quest, Daring and even Co-op modes. In Adventure you play without consequences since you cannot die, Quest mode lets you make a few mistakes as Dirk before you perish, and Daring gives no leeway just like the unforgivable original game. The Kinect mode prompts have been replaced with side steps, sword swipes, and rope grabs when the action glows green. The Kinect controls do work but are very tricky and difficult when forced to be done in a timely manner…which is always. It’s a cool change, but ends up being unneeded by adding more undue stress on the game players morale.
Dragon’s Lair on XBLA is a fantastic port, although the addition of Kinect controls were in my opinion unneeded, they neither felt out of place or unusable. I actually commend Microsoft and Digital Leisure for successfully integrating the Kinect technology into a game originally out in 1983. That being said, I only used the Kinect controls as a reference for this review and will probably never, ever, use them again. Some of the command prompts blended in with the environments making them difficult to see, but these times were few and far between. The game is quick and responsive otherwise. Running through Dragon’s Lair has never been so fun, I was set to fight and die without fear of ever running out of quarters. The XBLA has brought this adventure game back to life for me. And talk about life, what about Princess Daphne? Holy cow is she one hot piece of ace. I would battle through scene after scene for that girl, no wonder Dirk was entering such a god forsaken place.
Dragon’s Lair is available on XBLA right now for a reasonable 800MP. The adjustable difficulty settings, different versions, and Kinect options make that price a smoking deal. This game is a timeless classic that combined with alcohol can easily become a party favorite.
Dragon’s Lair Drinking Game
- Anytime you die. *Drink* Yeah that’s it. With an abundance of friends and alcohol, you will all die and drink often.
- At a continue. *Chug your whole drink* If you find the game to be too easy, which eff you, you can always turn the “Move Mode” off for some extra added difficulty.
Head back to the Farm.