Blu-ray Review: Dragons Lair II

May 19, 2009

Dragons Lair IIWithout rehashing my entire Space Ace review from last March I’ll just say that Don Bluth’s animated games (Dragons Lair, Space Ace and Dragons Lair 2) left a pretty big impression on me, that is to say once I saw Dragons Lair in an arcade my idea of “graphics” were changed forever. Now looking back that obviously wasn’t the best comparison as these aren’t games as much as animated shorts with brief shots of interactivity. I think more than anything else Don Bluth’s art style all but ruined me from ever thinking another game could be as beautiful.

My gaming preferences aside the good folks over at Digital Leisure were kind enough to send over a copy of ‘Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp‘ on Blu-ray the sequel to 2007’s ‘Dragons Lair’ in high definition. This time around Dirk is once again out to rescue Daphne but the game play is more linear and the storytelling even more engaging than its predecessor.

Plot: The game opens with Daphne kidnapped by Mordrok once again and Dirk right behind them. Dragon’s Lair II Time Warp moves beyond the straight dungeons and dragons theme of the first installment and into themes as varied as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Garden of Eden, a performance by Ludwig van Beethoven and a tomb sequence in ancient Egypt.

A note about the game play, Dragon’s Lair (any iteration) can prove to be frustrating for gamers who enjoy puzzle solving versus quick, random button twitching. One thing to keep in mind however is that in a pinch you can “watch” the game but I don’t recommend jumping too far ahead, at least not until you finish then the playback is a nice reward for your hard work. Remember, we’re talking about a short from a former Disney animator, an important piece of “film” history even if it was for a video game.

Sight and Sound: For those keeping score I used a PS3 running firmware 2.76 for this review. The image quality was quite good, bright vivid colors with no sign of bleeding or fade. There was some grain present but thankfully none of it ever felt out of place or digital in nature.

The 5.1 sound quality was nice as well, the effects were clear and intelligible enough but perhaps just a little light in the bass department. This really isn’t all that surprising considering that deep bass tracks really weren’t commonplace in games of this era.

Extras: While not necessarily an extra it was nice to see the level of attention given to the menu system, right down to the script lettering. The interviews with Don Bluth were interesting from a historical standpoint, especially the dialogue about the five year delay between Space Ace and Dragon’s Lair II Time Warp.

Overall: I’ve made no secret about my fondness for Bluth’s work, that said I am in the position of making a value recommendation. Honestly it would be tough for me to recommend Dragon’s Lair II over the original or even Space Ace for that matter, as the three titles are unique properties in the gaming/animation world, and all classics in their own right.

What I would say however is that if you’re old enough to remember any of the three in the arcade, consider yourself a fan of classic animation and enjoy Blu-ray then one of the three Bluth’s titles are a no brainer in my opinion. For everyone else I’d say take a look, perhaps give it a rental if one’s available and if you enjoy it consider a copy for entertaining friends and showing off your system.

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Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp : Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Video: 1080p
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Digital Leisure Inc
Original Release: (Arcade) 1991
Blu-ray Release Date: June 2nd, 2009
Run Time: Hours upon hours if you play like me



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blu-ray, Reviews


Comments

  • Personal review… Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp play is based on one solution for every puzzle. IMHO, this is an enjoyable, fun-filled cartoon game. Overall rating 8/10.

  • Personal review… Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp play is based on one solution for every puzzle. IMHO, this is an enjoyable, fun-filled cartoon game. Overall rating 8/10.

  • Richard

    Enjoyed the first one, might give this one a rent first.