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Android App Video Review: Dragon's Lair

by Andrew Koziara

Dragon's Lair is classic adventure originally released on Laserdisc back in 1983. The epic story features animation from the legendary Don Bluth, back when he was making really good movies like The Secret of Nihm or the original Land Before Time. It's a great piece of gaming history, and while the gameplay may not hold up so well, it's definitely worth looking at.

The game tells a simple story in which Dirk the Daring tries to save a princess from an evil wizard in a castle. The premise alone may be trite, but the inhabitants of this castle are strange and surreal, ranging from octopus monsters, mechanized horses, giant marbles, and a plethora of other traps and enemies. The Don Bluth animation style is very recognizable, and really brings these characters to life even without much dialogue at all.

This is the game that basically invented the concept of the QTE, also known as quick time events. You don't control Dirk directly, but you react to the environment by pressing the proper buttons when prompted. Failing to press a button will lead to one of the dozens of death animations, and you'll start again. Every time you enter a new area, it acts as a checkpoint. You only have to deal with four directional buttons and an attack button, but it can still be very challenging. Sometimes the buttons flash so ridiculously fast that you'll miss the prompt even after you know it's coming. You can get through the game fine if you have half decent reflexes, but several sections will be extended exercises in trial and error.

As I said, the classic eighties animation and sound have a certain charm to them, and the soundtrack is quite memorable. The app comes with two versions of the game, featuring slight tweaks to the events and animation. This golden oldie might not appeal to everyone, as it can be quite frustrating at times, and QTE's have become universally hated by now, but it really is great to have this piece of gaming history on your Android device. Whether it's worth it to you or not, you can download it for five dollars.

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