AGH Jaguar CD Review: DRAGON'S LAIR
Until the coming of age of the CD-ROM format, fans of 1980's-era
Laserdisc arcade games had no choice but to search out their local
amusement centers if they wanted to try their hand at classics like
Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Cliffhanger,
Astron Belt and Firefox.
Unfortunately, by the early 1990's, most of these games had been
phased out of all but a handful of arcades in favor of newer machines.
Sure, you could play the game on a PC, Amiga or even the Super Nintendo
(which was actually nothing more than a crappy side-scroller), but
they were no substitute for the real thing. Classic gamers and
nostalgists rejoiced when Dragon's Lair made its way to the PC CD-ROM,
and subsequent releases for CD-i, 3DO and even the Sega CD were
released and met with generally high praise. And now it's finally
available on the Jaguar CD!
As in the Laserdisc Dragon's Lair, you take control of Dirk
the Daring, a galliant but goofy medievil knight who searches
through the castle in search of Princess Daphne who has been
kidnapped by Singe the Dragon. You don't so much "control"
the character but rather guide him by telling him what to do
in certain places. You have a choice between moving or
using your sword, that's it. You're basically locked-in and
forced to make decisions that determine the outcome of each
sequence.. no complete interactivity with your environment here.
The game has 38 to 42 different episodes with over 1,000
life-and-death situations and over 200 different decisions to
make. There's a total of 22 minutes of fully animated video,
although players who have memorized the movements can complete
the adventure in less than ten minutes or so.
Sure, I could go on about how limiting the gameplay is, or
how Dragon's Lair offers nothing new after you finish the quest.
There are no higher levels of difficulty, and while the sequence
of events is randomly selected for each game, the required
actions to clear each stage stay the same. But most people
familiar with Dragon's Lair -- and other games of its ilk --
don't need a preaching on whether to like the game or not since
just about everyone has played the game at some point and can
make a decision on his/her own. I'm just here to tell you that
Dragon's Lair for the Jaguar CD is a good port and should
satisfy players who don't yet have the game for any home
Just about all of the stages, cut-scenes, animations and features
found in the coin-op are preserved on this disc. Because of the
use of Cinepak compression, however, video quality takes a slight
hit. It's not quite on the same level as the CD-i (MPEG), Pentium
PC or 3DO versions. Colors seem washed-out in places, and sound
gets muffled at times. Given the powerful full-motion video
capabilities of the Jaguar CD, however, there was no excuse for
this to happen. This version is still superior to the Sega CD version
by a mile, however.
Like it or loathe it, let's give Dragon's Lair some credit. It's about
as interactive as Myst (meaning not very), but at least it was originally
made in 1983 and was fresh and unique when it first debuted at arcades.
Not only was it the first animated laserdisc game (Sega's Astron Belt
was the first laser disc coin-op), it was also the first video game to
look like a movie and be treated like a movie. After all, it was animated
by Don Bluth and other animators who used to work for Disney. If you
want a piece of history or want to impress your girlfriend, this game
is a must.
Atari Jaguar CD