I have “fond” memories of playing the incredibly frustrating arcade version of Dragon’s Lair when I was but a child, content to waste many of my parents’ quarters in the brainless attempt to pull the joystick in whatever direction or push the correct button quickly enough to thwart the reaper. Little did I realize that I’d be writing a review for another version of the game over two decades later. Even littler did I realize that this newer version would be worse in every conceivable way.
One of the main things the arcade version of Dragon’s Lair had going for it was the then-gorgeous graphics. The arcade game looked AMAZING. I think I played the game just to watch the animation as Dirk the Daring met end after inglorious end thanks to my incapable hands (I was also bad at video games when I was a child, though not quite so bad as I am now). When I play this version of the game and Dirk sticks his gangly neck in-between the eager skeletal hands of Death, I feel nothing. Nothing. The animation is substandard. The music subpar. The office submarine.*
The controls in this game are bad. The jumping is reminiscent of Luigi from Super Mario Bros. 2, except instead of going where you want, Luigi would instead opt to fall into a pit and break his neck. Since it’s kind of hard to make Dirk land where you intend, he gets hit an awful lot.
It took me several tries to get through the first level of Dragon’s Lair—remember, I am bad at video games—and every time I died, I started cursing Dirk’s seemingly useless armor. I mean, come on: the guy is dressed in chain mail. Are you seriously telling me an animate broom that casually strolls into his leg is going to do him fatal damage? Is it a poison broom? Is the broom crawling with nanites that immediately jump onto Dirk’s leg and burrow their way through his flesh shutting down internal organs as they go? That gives me an idea for a movie.
The only way I could ever see myself playing this game for more than a few minutes (outside of having to so I could write this review) would involve a complicated series of circumstances involving hostages and SAW-esque death traps. Even then, I’d have to think long and hard about letting my loved ones die in a pit full of needles and snakes before I picked up that controller again.
If anyone wants me, I’ll be working on my horror movie script, “DEATHSWEEPER.**”
* That’s a KITH reference since I always need to jam pop culture into my reviews. If you don’t know what KITH stands for, maybe your brain needs to eat more candy. That was a reference to the movie Brain Candy. There. That should be all the information you need to figure out what I’m talking about if you care enough to expend fifteen seconds of effort—which you probably don’t.
** Optional titles: “BRISTLE COMMAND”; “BROOMITES”; “SWEEP THE LEG, BROOMY”