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Dragon’s Lair for Kinect Review

/ May 29th, 2012 No Comments

Dragon's Lair for Kinect Review

Dragon's Lair for Kinect Review

Dragon's Lair for Kinect Review

Dragon’s Lair for Kinect, released May 18th, brings the cult classic arcade game to the Xbox Live marketplace (XBLA) for download. It offers a solid retro experience, but at 800 Microsoft Points is it worth the buy?

For those unfamiliar with the title, Dragon’s Lair was originally released in 1983. The story revolves around the character Dirk the Daring, a quirky knight on a quest to rescue Princess Daphne from an evil dragon living inside a castle. Using laserdisc technology, the game was one of the first arcade machines to have pre-recorded animation for its graphics. Gamers watched charming cartoon scenes of Dirk’s quest, and had to move the joystick or press a button at times to save the hero and advance to the next scene. By using video instead of pixels (like in Pac-Man, for instance), Dragon’s Lair had stunning graphics for its time and was extremely popular in arcades across the country.

Fast forward almost twenty-nine years to today and the Xbox 360 version remains true to the original. The same videos of Dirk navigating halls, swinging on ropes, and slashing enemies with his sword are used just as they were before. The dialogue and sound effects are unchanged; and while everything’s crisper and smoother than it was on the arcade machines, this is mostly the same game brought back on a different platform.

A number of features, however, set Dragon’s Lair for Kinect for the Xbox 360 apart from the original. The most obvious is that it’s Kinect-enabled. Throughout the game’s video sequences, players now have to actually perform Dirk’s motions. There are ten different pose icons that pop up on screen throughout the game, and when you see any of these icons you have to act them out in time. Depending on your accuracy and timing, Dirk’s character will flash one of three different colors: green if you’re successful, yellow if you’re early, and red if you fail to do the pose correctly or are late.

Dragon's Lair

Dragon's Lair

Of the ten different motions you have to perform, a few examples include jumping to your right (indicated by an arrow pointing right, for instance), slashing with your sword by raising your arm and bringing it down quickly, and running in place. The game has brief tutorials where you practice the moves on a 3d Dirk before jumping into the action. That’s really it in terms of gameplay but there are three different difficulties to shake things up: “Adventure”—where you can infinitely miss moves and Dirk won’t die; “Daring”—where Dirk will die as soon as you miss a move”; and “Quest”—somewhere in between the two.

In terms of the good and the bad, Dragon’s Lair for Kinect has a few things working for it. It’s very true to the original and goes above and beyond to satisfy fans. The game features extras like a “Watch Game” mode, as well as an “Attract” mode for people interested in seeing the original trailer that played on arcade machines. Developer Digital Leisure knew that the driving point on this game would be nostalgia, and delivered accordingly. The title also offers online leaderboards, a “Co-Op” mode, and the option to turn Kinect off and play with a controller. These are nice additions for those gamers who like to play with a friend or who prefer sitting down with a controller.

On the other hand, one of the biggest problems with this game is that it’s incredibly short. At the most difficult setting I managed to complete the story in about half an hour, which made the game’s price tag (800 MS Points) seem a bit unreasonable. To add to the problem, the animated sequences are recycled a lot (simply flipping video backwards to make things look different) and after a short amount of time it gets repetitive and dull. There also aren’t a lot of breaks in between scenes and the pacing is pretty hectic. If you’re playing using Kinect expect to get tired. Beyond that, the game has little replay value and a couple of the Kinect motions don’t register very well with the camera, leaving you frustrated and ready to quit at times.

Overall, Dragon’s Lair for the 360 is a game made for fans of the original title. It offers Kinect capability and fresh new features like leaderboards and tutorials, but these feel more like gimmicks padded on and probably won’t do much to attract younger gamers. If you’re a fan or collector who has Kinect and can afford to drop $10, the game is a reasonable purchase. Otherwise, there are plenty of other titles that offer more bang for your buck.

Overall Ratings – Dragon’s Lair for Kinect (XBox 360)

Faithfulness to the Original:






Replay Value:




Romtin Erfani

Romtin Erfani

Romtin Erfani is just another kid in college whose been playing video games as long as he can remember. FPS games are his favorite, but he's been known to dabble in a little of everything.
Romtin Erfani

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