Saturday 8 August 2015

Dragon's Lair (Philips CD-i review)

Developer: Superclub
Publisher: Philips Media
Released: 1994

Dragon's Lair is a Full Motion Video (FMV) game that was first released in the Arcades in 1983.

You play the role of Dirk the Daring and your mission is to rescue Princess Daphne who's being held captive by a fire-breathing dragon. Your adventure takes you through 30 different scenes and each one consists of quick-time events. As you watch the video footage it's up to you to escape unharmed by using the d-pad to move Dirk in four directions or pressing the 1 button to swing your sword. Occasionally a flash of light will show you the correct route but other times you're left to your own devices. The game requires some serious trial and error so it's definitely not for those with little patience! It isn't always clear what you're supposed to do in each scene and you'll die many times before being able to figure it out. The main problem with this version of Dragon's Lair is that you only have three lives (no continues) and the scenes play out in a different order each time. Although some might enjoy this (as it allows them to see the majority of the game) I found it frustrating as I couldn't memorise the order of events. If there was an option to play the scenes randomly or in a standard order this would have pleased everybody. At least you're not punished for pressing a button early unlike some other ports. The most annoying part of the game is that every time you lose a life or complete a scene you're taken to a screen that displays your score and remaining lives; this breaks up the action unnecessarily and for some reason each letter and number is irritatingly chiselled out one-by-one! The best part is the video quality as it features smooth animation and full screen gameplay.

Dragon's Lair on the CD-i is an unforgiving game and one that's almost impossible to beat unless you put many hours into learning each scene. It's a shame as I really wanted to like it but the random scene order and lack of continues really ruined it for me.

Random trivia: A sequel called Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp was also released on the Philips CD-i in 1994.

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