Review: Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp, by Dragon's Lair LLC.
Dragon’s Lair 2: TimeWarp, by Dragon’s Lair LLC.
- Nice continuation of Dragon’s Lair
- Some useful added features in the game play
- Progress saved, so you can’t continue games from where you left off
- Pay too much attention to the game to follow or appreciate the story
Dragon’s Lair was an innovative video game that came out in the last 1980’s. It featured what was (at the time) movie quality graphics on a laser disc. Rather than rely on a player controlling a character, these games basically used a series of cut-scene animations, where the player had to hit a specific button or direction at a specific time to continue. In the arcade, these were a huge hit because of how different they were, but they also were very difficult and relied on either fast reaction time or memorizing a series of moves.
Figure 1. Dragon's Lair return with Dirk again needing to rescue Princess Daphne.
Dragon’s Lair 2 came out in the arcade as well but I never played it, so I was excited to see it available on the app store. Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp follows a similar theme – you are Dirk (the knight) and have married Daphne (the princess). She has now been kidnapped, and you must rescue her before she is forced to marry the evil Wizard Mordroc (all the time pursues by your angry mother-in-law). As with the original, there are a series of short videos (maybe 2 to 5 seconds long) and depending on what buttons/direction arrows you push (at the right time) you move on to the next, seamless video, or you die. Unlike the original game, this gameplay is linear – you always have the same order of sequences (in the original, you completed a series of quests in random order).
Figure 2. Nicely animated scenes abound in the unique game-play style of Dragon's Lair.
This game also introduces save checkpoints, so if you progress to a certain level, you don’t have to start over at the beginning again. This is a huge time saver, and something that is greatly appreciated. In the settings options, you can give yourself 3, 5, or infinite lives. You can also change the controls to left handed mode, have “beeps” precede any move you need to make, and adjust the size of the controls.
Figure 3. Many options can be set, including unlimited lives, and a cheat "move guide" mode.
One of the best “cheat” features, however, it the move guide. When you play normally, you need to wait until you see something flash on the screen – this will indicate the direction you need to move (the direction to push the joystick) or hit the sword button. Your success is based on reactive to that flash and hitting the button or joystick in time. To give you an idea how fast the flash is, I tried many times (at least 20) to get a screen shot of the “flash”, but never got it. In the iOS version of the game, you can turn on the move guide which will highlight the button you need to push before the screen flash. Yes, this is cheating, but this moves it from almost impossible to merely difficult.
Figure 4. With "move guide" activated, the button you need to hit (such as a sword to block Daphne's mother in law) is highlighted before the screen flashes.
One problem with the game is that you are paying so much attention to the timing and button pushing is that you can’t keep track and follow the story line. I was playing for about 10 minutes, and I realized I didn’t know what I was doing, why I was there, or what my goal was (in terms of the story line). While there may be an option at the end for a “video replay”, it would be nice to have an option to replay the various animations so you can follow the story.
The game also comes with both the original arcade release as well as the “director's cut”. The director's cut is a little bit different in that there is an alternate ending. Unfortunately, I haven’t solved the game yet, so I can’t tell you what the alternate ending is. There are also “achievements” based on how you complete the game (such as using 3-lives mode).
Figure 5. In game tutorials and instructions are limited, but they can help people unfamiliar with the game.
All in all, this is a fun throw back game to the ‘90s. While the game play is simplistic, the type of game may be challenging for people not familiar. In addition, the Don Bluth animation is really quite nice, and harkens back to many animated movies in the 1980’s. The addition of a few “cheats” – like move guide and unlimited lives, makes the game a little less maddening. For $4.99, it isn’t a cheap game, but it should be fun to play (although the replay value is limited). Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.