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Dragon's Lair App Lets You Relive Dirk's Glory

By Chris Maxcer MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Oct 14, 2013 5:00 AM PT

Dragon's Lair App Lets You Relive Dirk's Glory

Dragon's Lair 30th Anniversary by Dragon's Lair is available in the iTunes App Store for US$4.99.

Dragon's Lair

One of the amazing things about our new connected world of software development and easy access to consumers is how old-school games can find new life with entirely new audiences through iOS and OS X. Case in point? The Dragon's Lair 30th Anniversary app for iOS.

Dragon's Lair is a really old arcade game. Seriously old, as in it was a laserdisc video game. I barely remember laserdiscs, and until recently, I had no idea the game spans three decades. I just vaguely remembered it from my youth -- more warm and fuzzy feelings than memory, really.

I'm not even sure how old I was when I first stumbled onto the big-footed animated hero, Dirk -- but I do remember awesome brightly animated scenes and a gangly hero who must swing his sword and leap from spot to spot, all with perfect timing.

Your reward? A smoothly animated action scene. Somehow, despite being hopelessly 2D, the game managed to feel lively. And does it hold up after so many years?

Snakes, Bats and Dragons

In the game, you play as Dirk the Daring, and your goal is to rescue Fair Princess Daphne who has been kidnapped by Singe the Evil Dragon. Dirk must make his way through the castle and caverns below the castle by tapping in the correct direction at the right time, in addition to swinging a sword.

On one side of the screen, you have four directional arrows to tap. On the other, a round sword button. Each control will light up to give you a cue as to when you need to tap it.

There are numerous foes, fire and perilous drops. To survive, you don't actually control Dirk -- seems odd now, I know, but hey, that's how it was. Instead, you tell Dirk which direction to go at the right time and tell him to swing his sword by tapping the aforementioned buttons. Get the timing right, and the game unfolds as if it were a running action cartoon.

Nostalgia Bonanza

In 2013, I'm not sure how enjoyable the game play is vs. the joy of watching an old masterpiece come back to life. Would a 12-year-old kid care? Hard to say. For older gamers, though, Dragon's Lair will be a fun diversion.

The artwork is done by the ex-Disney animator Don Bluth, of course, and the 30th Anniversary game itself includes a full watch feature that lets you see the animation unfold in all its glory.

If you're so inclined, Dragon's Lair 30th Anniversary has Apple Game Center support, which will let you see high scores from around the world.

As for game play, you can choose a Home mode or the original Arcade mode that pushes you forward. Each mode contains a few different scenes in addition to the core action. Either way, I keep the Lives setting on Infinite.

Want to Pitch an App Review?

Is there an app you'd like to suggest for review? Please send your iOS picks to me, and I'll consider giving them a whirl.

And use the Talkback feature below to add your comments!

MacNewsWorld columnist Chris Maxcer has been writing about the tech industry since the birth of the email newsletter, and he still remembers the clacking Mac keyboards from high school -- Apple's seed-planting strategy at work. While he enjoys elegant gear and sublime tech, there's something to be said for turning it all off -- or most of it -- to go outside. To catch him, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at WickedCoolBite.com.

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