Justin Lee On May 30, 2007 at 9:41 am

Get ready to game on your Blu-Ray player! When Dragon’s Lair was first released in the arcade, it was cutting edge; full motion video in an arcade game was unheard of when it was first released in 1983. The laserdisc would play the story of Dirk the Daring trying to rescue Princess Daphne from the dragon and at key moments you would have to move the joystick and/or press the action button. You really didn’t control Dirk like you do in modern videogames, it would just play the next “video” depending if you dodged correctly or pressed the action button at the correct time. If you didn’t, you watched Dirk die.

There has been many a DVD game that you would play with your remote control that would keep your attention for a full 5 minutes. Dragon’s Lair on is different in that you do need reflexes to react to what is happening on the screen.

Dragon’s Lair on Blu-Ray is the first “game disc” to use the BD-Java standard that is built into Blu-Ray players. What BD-Java does is allows a programming standard to be present in Blu-Ray players that allows for a richer and more interactive discs.

Digital Leisure has cleaned up the video and added some nifty bonus features including original commentary from the original creators Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and Rick Dyer. There is even a new 20 minute interview which is not found on any other version of the game.

There are a few game options that you can set:

– Arcade or Home: The Arcade version is identical to the original version found in the Arcade. The Home version includes some video that was not in the original game.

– Lives: You can have Unlimited or 5 lives.

– Easy or Hard. The Easy mode will string together the videos in sequence. The Hard mode will also add some randomness to the scenes and additional moves/action button presses you need to do in order to pass that scene.

– Visual Move Guide: There will be indicators on the screen whether you moved the controller in the proper direction and or pressed the correct button. This is useful for gamers who have never played this type of game and are wondering if they are even close to pressing the correct direction at the right time.

Unfortunately the BD-Java standard is not fully implemented in many current DVD players. The date for all Blu-Ray players to have fully compliant BD-Java is October 31st 2007, some of the above options can not be set which may make for a frustrating experience. It would had been nice if the website of Digital Leisure would list which Blu-Ray players have what issues before you buy it and bring it home; after all you can’t return it after it is open.

If you are a hardcore fan of the arcade game you will be frustrated that some scenes are not mandatory to finish. If you die, it will just continue on to the next scene with just a punishment of a life if you even have that option on.

Let’s get on to the gameplay, if you can call it that. If you just let go for a moment that you can not directly control the movement of Dirk, you will have fun with this game. Paying attention to the visual clues on screen, you can figure out you should dodge left…other times you might die about 40 times wondering what you are suppose to do.

The animation of the original game was well done and carries well over to HD resolution with brighter colours and no bleeding; you will also enjoy watching Dirk die many times and will get a good chuckle out of that.

All in all, there will be two camps for this game: If you are a hard-core gamer and just tired of playing Playstation 2 games on your Playstation 3…this is not the game for you. If you missed the game arcade and keep hearing about how ground breaking this was back in the 80’s or just not happy with the previous versions of Dragon’s Lair, this is a must own just for the beauty of the video in HD and the extras.


You will either hate the way the game controls or you will love it. This isn’t a action game that requires you to move in every which way while swinging your sword. You must decide which direction to press up/down/left/right and that is about it. There are no annoying pauses between the scenes.


The digital clean up of the video is nice in HD for the Blu-ray version of the game. The animation is just like before, from the 1980’s.


From mono to Dolby Digital 5.1 the sound does the job, not much talking in the game so just enjoy the visuals.


I personally played this game in the arcade and found it frustrating as heck. Now that I have the home version I can play it without worrying about blowing $10 in quarters to finish the game and can actually enjoy how amazing it was in the 1980’s. So in short, you’ll either hate this kind of “interactive movie” or love it, it is your $29 to decide.

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