Dragon's Lair 3D

Dragon's Lair 3D

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 11/30/2002 for Xbox  

It seems that the year 2002 is the year of the remake; we saw a re-invention of some sorts from SEGA who decided to recreate their most storied franchises, Tecmo brought back Rygar from the grave, Nintendo released updates of Metroid, Star Fox and Mario while Konami unleashed Contra upon the gaming masses. Looking at the sales it seems that there is obviously an audience who remembers these storied franchises so what better time to bring back one of the most beloved franchises of all time, Dragon’s Lair?

This 3D remake breaks the mold of the original game and instead of just watching pre-rendered cartoon sequences, you’ll be able to romp freely through the original environments. While this sounds good on paper the truth of the matter is that this remake can’t hold a candle to the original and to be honest, the original is a far better experience than this remake.

In order to replicate the feeling of the original 1983 arcade classic, the designers opted to go for the cell-shaded look that gives the characters that sort of 3D cartoon feel to them. In order to differentiate the players from the environments the levels are rendered in a traditional style, allowing you to distinctly see the separation between the two. While the game generally looks good through and through, you’ll notice more and more faults with the character and graphics design as you play through the game.

The gameplay also has many faults, most of which can be derived from the unserviceable jumping mechanism. You’ll be able to perform only two kinds of jumpzs, a stationary jump and a forward leap. This leads to much more frustration than need be, especially in the game’s numerous jumping puzzles. Fighting is also pretty bad as it seems to be rather incomplete and counterproductive. Thankfully you can basically run around and hack away blindly at your enemies as they are generally pretty inept. Dirk can also tuck and roll, block, scan the world from a first person perspective and utilize a bow. While this update seems kind of nice, it appears to be the anti-thesis of the original game which was quite beautiful because of its simplistic gameplay. This time around you’ll be using nearly every button on the controller and it becomes quite clunky after a little while.

Many 3D platformers have been making advances with their camera systems, tweaking them and making sure to provide the best angle possible for most situations. Unfortunately, the camera system in Dragon’s Lair is one of the worst to date, seemingly always searching to provide you with the worst possible look at each situation.

The same trial and error nature of the original game returns, as do many of the general aspects. This means that Dirk is usually silent and his sidekick, Daphne is the chatty one. Much like the rest of the game, everything feels rather stripped down, including the dialogue and aural effects. The orchestral score feels generic and isn’t really as compelling as the original. The sounds are separated into the 5.1 channels but they aren’t all that impressive. The game also includes support for progressive scan but it doesn’t really make too much of a difference.

There’s not much to like here and the only people this game might appeal to are nostalgists who still have a soft spot in their heart for the nearly 20-year-old original. Otherwise, there just isn’t very much to like here, every aspect seems to have been rushed and although the programmers had nearly 2 decades to perfect the craft, it feels like it was rushed out the door in a matter of months. It’s a little too ambitious and complicated for its own good and the end result isn’t really too pleasing for hardcore fans or casual fans.
A game that is marred by some technical problems, weak combat system and repetitive gameplay. If you're craving some Dragon's Lair action do yourself a favor and stick with the original.

Rating: 5.7 Flawed

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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