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Reviewed: Dragon's Lair 3
Producer: Digial Leisure
Required System: DVD system (DVD player, Xbox, PS2, or PC)
Overall Rating:
Author: Michael Ahlf
Date: December 23rd, 2004


Rule of Acquisition #239: Never be afraid to mislabel a product

Digital Leisure's a company with a mixed history - some of the games they've attempted to revive were simply awful, like Hologram Time Traveler. Others they managed to re-create rather faithfully, like Don Bluth's old Dragon's Lair and Space Ace titles.

So I was drawn in by the potential of a third game in the Dragon's Lair series. Who wouldn't be, really? Action, adventure, and minimal controls, plus some major nostalgia; the game seemingly would be glorious. Also offered was the "updated" graphics, which in screenshots looked absolutely beautiful.

Unfortunately, that's where the fun ends. The graphics are indeed gorgeous, and why wouldn't be? It took me two play-throughs to figure out what I was really seeing: someone had painstakingly taken gameplay video of the rather lackluster Ubisoft offering Dragon's Lair 3-D, and spliced it together into a "Dragon's Lair" style video game. The tip-off was when Dirk began slashing enemies (one button press dispatching every enemy on the screen), and they dropped items behind; a sure indication of video gameplay being taken from the 3-D game. Whoever put the thing together couldn't even be bothered to get their sound levels right, so the "death" animations were ridiculously quiet compared to normal gameplay.

Control-wise, someone took their job of simplifying the game too seriously. While in a Dragon's Lair title players expect to be waiting to make choices, the gameplay movies make the choices painfully few and far between; a simple task like choosing which door to enter is normally skipped over completely, and fighting enemies is as simple as pushing the action button and waiting for Dirk to swing his sword wildly for a few minutes, finishing them all off. Only in places where timing would be required to start with, such as swinging from ropes, is any illusion of gameplay maintained.

As sad as that sounds, Dragon's Lair III is still a step up from the abysmal 3-D as created. But I can't say I recommend buying either of them. Advertising this game as a new title all its own, rather than a re-hash of the mediocre Dragon's Lair 3-D, comes perilously close to false advertising.

Added:  Friday, December 24, 2004
Reviewer:  Mike Ahlf
Page: 1/2

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