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Dragon’s Lair Trilogy Review

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Developer: Digital Leisure Publisher: Destineer
Release Date: October 12, 2010 Available On: Wii

For those who were fans of the original arcade games comes Dragon’s Lair Trilogy. The trilogy features Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair II and Space Ace. Some of you may remember Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace as cartoons from 1984 and 1985. Indeed, those cartoons were based on these arcade classics. If you were a fan of the cartoons or the original arcade games, perhaps this trilogy is right up your alley.

Dragon’s Lair Trilogy features three arcade cabinets to choose from: Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp, and Space Ace. All three games are interactive cartoons that play with timed events. The controls are all quite simple and constant throughout the three games. The controls are limited to the d-pad and buttons “1” and “2” on the Wii Remote. The classic controller is also supported with buttons “1” and “2” mapped to buttons “b” and “a” respectively. The whole setup is quite simple and straight-forward.

Each arcade cabinet has its own set of options allowing you to play the original arcade release of each game or an expanded laserdisc version or director’s cut. Each game also features an easy game setting or a hard setting. There are universal settings for all arcades such as setting the number of lives from 3 to unlimited, sound volume, and placement of button cues. I found the unlimited lives option the most useful setting of them all.

The precision needed to progress through the timed events is fairly tight. Decent reflexes are required. The existence of an easy difficulty setting does not seem to make the game any more accessible. Those with twitchy fingers be warned. Also, while the cartoon style of the trilogy sounds like a great product for children, the reaction times may not be suitable for very young children. The default three lives seem like very little for new players or those who may be distracted by the fun cartoon before their eyes.

I would not say that this game is very kid friendly, even though the cartoons themselves are really awesome. A player must keep their eyes fixed on the button cues. If you miss a cue or press the wrong button, you’re dead and are sent back to the beginning of that particular scene. The games all move along quite quickly. You have to keep paying attention to the button cues and, sadly, this causes a player to miss out on a great cartoon.

Thankfully, there is a “Watch Game” option that allows you to simply spectate an entire game and bask in the glory of silly cartoon animation. Unfortunately, this “Watch Game” option isn’t available on the Dragon’s Lair II virtual arcade machine. There is an “Attract” option for each cabinet that shows you an introductory sequence for each game. Also, Dragon’s Lair Trilogy is rated “T” because there is a lot of cartoon death, animated blood, ray gun violence, and things getting sliced in half.

Judging the creativity of a compilation disk is rather difficult. The parts that tie all three Dragon’s Lair games together is rather unimpressive. The setup is very simple, pre-rendered, more like a DVD menu than a video game menu, and there do not appear to be any extras to indulge in. The three Dragon’s Lair games have been simply been printed on one disc.

The creativity of the games themselves are quite outstanding. These games are like a gold mine of creative thought and excellent artistic execution. The animations are all mostly fluid, the scenarios imaginative and colorful, and the storytelling is humorous and entertaining. These three games are now some of my favorite cartoons. The art style is excellent. It is all very reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon with a giant budget. Sometimes, the quality of the animations seem on par with classic Disney movies.

Dragon’s Lair Trilogy features lots of bleeps and silly sound bites that seem to come straight from classic comedies like the Three Stooges. All the sounds and music are quite original and fun. The music is wonderfully over-the-top and dramatic. It all sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon. The one downside is that the games sounds more like mono audio converted into stereo audio but I suppose that’s all part of the charm of the originals. I am not really complaining here.

I do not believe that Dragon’s Lair Trilogy has very much replay value. Once you play through each game, there is no more to be seen. You can attempt to get higher scores, but this game is all timed events; there is zero room for growth. All the games seem to progress in random order of scenes, save for the beginning and end. Each play through would be as original as the combination of scenes allows. Dragon’s Lair Trilogy is a neat foray into video game’s past. A must see but not a must have.

As a side note, if you are interested in seeing something similar in artistic style, The Secret of NIMH was an inspiration to Dragon’s Lair creator Rick Dyer. The movie was directed by Don Bluth, who was also involved in Dragon’s Lair and whose name appears on the cover of this game as Don Bluth Presents Dragon’s Lair Trilogy.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 3
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 3
Final: 6.4 out of 10
Written by Angel Cortes Write a User Review