If you’re a Dirk the Daring fan who has purchased a PS3 (or other Blu-Ray player) and have previously purchased a copy of this game on DVD or PC then you can stop reading now and just go ahead and buy a copy of Dragon’s Lair (Blu-ray). The retail price is $29.99, and the improved video quality alone makes it worth it for true fans.
For those of you not familiar with the game, Dragon’s Lair hit arcades in 1983 and stayed out on the floor for a number of years after that. I know I put quite a few quarters into my local copy. The best way I can describe Dragon’s Lair is that it is similar to a video game choose your own adventure book. Pick the wrong thing and you die, pick the correct thing and you go on to the next challenge.
The game consists of navigating Dirk the Daring through a trap filled castle to rescue the beautiful Daphne (and she really does look much better in hi-def) from the evil dragon Singe. Choosing your next step is done by quickly (time is of the essence because Dirk does not stop moving) moving Dirk in one of four directions on your remote (or the joystick in the arcade) or by telling him to attack with his sword.
As you can probably tell by now, this was not a high-end game. In fact I think I read somewhere that the game uses less then 20 minutes of hand animated footage including all of the puzzles, different death scenes, and dead dirk pictures. And still it is the stuff that addiction is made of.
The menu on the new Blu-ray setup is limited to playing the game, setup, and features.
Setup consists of five options. Arcade / Home game play, which comes down to whether you want the drawbridge scene not in the original release. A difficultly level of easy or hard, where hard adds more movement options. A choice of five or unlimited lives (FYI the five life option apparently does not work on the PS3). And a visual movie guide which is a little red dot at the bottom of the game screen that pops up when you make the wrong choice or try to hit the button at the wrong time and a little green dot that pops up when you make the right move. The last option is game statistics which displays your lives and your score.
None of the game play is different from earlier versions; the major change is that the graphics have been completely upgraded to 1080p including a reformat to 1:78:1 widescreen to better run on all of the 16×9 home theater systems that everyone has these days. Not that this title uses a lot of audio, but Digital Leisure went the extra step and redid the audio along with the video.
The funny part about this title is that the features actually use more video then the original game. The ever popular watch feature is back from earlier versions and here is where you can watch all of the newly reformatted scenes section by section or all at one.
There is a problem with the menu here and after a brief flash where they show up the video screen shots go away and you are left with just the names of each section. According to a couple of websites, this is specific to the PS3.
Besides the watch option, there is a video commentary with the game designers, a little narration free clip of the restoration which really shows off the differences between the versions, and review trailers for Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, and Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp.
Overall this title is just one big piece of nostalgia, but if you are a fan of the game, as much as I was, you really are going to want to pick up a copy of the latest release. Even if you have previously purchased a copy, if you can play a blu-ray, your money would be well spent in grabbing this off the shelf or in ordering a copy online.
It earns 4 out of 5 GiN Gems for its treasury, and would have had more if it were not for some of the unusual playing issues encountered when working with the PS3.