A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while the game involves plenty of sword-swinging, you kill only fictional creatures and there is no blood or gory details. If you choose the wrong way for Dirk the Daring to move, he will come to an untimely death, which is shown in a humorous manner, including getting squeezed by a giant hand or falling dramatically into a lava pit.
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What's it about?
When DRAGON'S LAIR debuted in arcades in 1983, the world's first laserdisc video game looked more like a Saturday morning cartoon than it did the typical quarter-eater at the time. Animated by former Disney animator Don Bluth (The Land Before Time, An American Tail) and designers Rick Dyer and Gary Goldman, Dragon's Lair introduced players to Dirk, a daring but dopey knight out to rescue a princess from an evil dragon. This proves no easy task as Dirk must navigate through traps in and around a huge castle, such as swinging over a lava-filled chasm; defeating ghosts, giant skeletons, and huge snakes with a well-timed swing of the sword; or hopping from square to square on a chessboard-like floor to evade electrocution and defeat a mysterious knight.
Controlling this Blu-ray version of the game is easy. Using the Blu-ray player's remote, press an arrow key to move in the desired direction, while the center Enter key (or Select button) is used to swing the sword. The controls are similar on the PS3, but with the button to swing Dirk's sword. Among other options, you can choose to play the game with unlimited lives or with the standard five deaths before having to start again from the beginning.
Is it any good?
According to game publisher Digital Leisure, this Blu-ray version has undergone a frame-by-frame digital restoration to remove dirt, scratches and cel deterioration from the original footage. The game looks vibrant and clear, especially compared with past versions. You can even play the game with picture-in-picture commentary with the game makers. The game was also remixed in 5.1 surround sound.
Dragon's Lair on Blu-ray Disc is without question the finest reproduction of this beloved adventure, but it's a pricey pick at $50, not to mention the game can be completed in less than half an hour if you know all the moves. But nostalgic gamers who own a Blu-ray player should enjoy this disc and its supplemental material -- if you haven't already purchased any of the other home-based versions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the trade-off in this type of game: visuals that rival Saturday morning cartoons but at the expense of interactivity. Parents who remember when this game debuted in arcades in 1983 might explain to kids how these graphics were a big deal at the time.
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