Sinclair User

Dragon's Lair
By Encore
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2

Published in Sinclair User #99

Dragon's Lair

Dragon's Lair was a biggie amongst biggies when it first appeared at full price - but why? True, it was based on a phenomenally successful arcade coin-op, featuring laser-disc cartoon-style Don Bluth graphics. But you don't actually get those on the Spectrum, do you? No, you just get the usual selection of colours and the usual semi-jerky sprites. You don't get the marvellous multi-voice synthy music either, just the Spectrum's bleepy intro theme, and a few zips and zaps in the game itself. So what do you get? A series of nine very straightforward but irritatingly difficult arcade games interrupted by tedious loading sequences, that's what you get.

The plot - rescue maiden from clutches of evil dragon Singe and pinch his treasure, doesn't bear discussing, so let's plunge straight into the action, big joke, because the first section sees you leaping onto a plummeting platform. If you survive the leap you have to fight against the foul breath of demons who try to blow you off the platform - slip off the edge and you plunge to your doom, and get to see the sequence where you disintegrate to a skeleton then reform for another go, which rapidly gets tedious, as you can imagine.

In later stages you have to negotiate corridors with sword-wielding hands, thread your way through mazes full of deadly skeletons, swing on burning ropes, slice slippery tentacles and finally fight the dragon itself. You have different controls in different sections, but basically each routine is a matter of learning to make the correct joystick movements in the right order. It's more like being a laboratory rat than playing a game, if you ask me.

Dragon's Lair

I always thought that the arcade game was a complete rip-off, after all, once you've learned the correct movements, you could play the game all the way through in two minutes, but it would have cost you hundreds of pounds to get to that stage, which would be better off given to charity.

At least with the budget version of Dragon's Lair you won't waste more than £2 99, but if you ask me it's £2.99 wasted.

Overall Summary

Unaccountably popular laser-disc coin-op re-released at lower price.

Chris Jenkins

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