1. cjvitek's Avatar
    Dragons Lair, by Electronic Arts
    $4.99, ****


    • Brings back the excitement of the arcade games
    • Includes a hint mode and unlimited lives options

    • No save game feature

    AhhDragons Lair. I remember when this game came out in the arcades and was a huge smash hit. There were literally lines of kids waiting to play it. It wasnt like anything that arcades had previously seen!

    And now it comes to the iPhone. Dragons Lair is a faithful import of the arcade game, complete with two different play modes. In the game , you play Dirk the Daring, trying to rescue the Princess Daphne from the evil wizards castle. The game was unique because rather than rely on computer generated graphics, it used hand drawn cartoon scenes for the game play. The beautifully drawn scenes were almost like watching a movie, and you were the main character! The game relies on reaction time and speed more than anything else.

    The iPhone version of the game is almost identical to the arcade version, with some additional options. You can control various features about playing the game the two most important (IMO) are the number of lives you have, and a hint mode (move guide) which will help you when trying to follow the different moves.

    Now, I never finished the arcade version, but I know a lot of people memorized the specific sequences of moves you need to make when playing the game in order to finish. For those of us lessdiligent, the move guide flashes the correct move on the screen when it is time. Having said that, the game is still difficult to play. I had the move guide helping me, but the exact reaction time can still be very tricky.

    In addition to the move guide, you can control the number of lives (3, 5 or infinite), size of the controls, left handed or right handed, and if the game will beep when you need to move. I havent played with anything but unlimited lives, but if people want a real challenge they can try to limit themselves in that way.

    The game also has two game modes home mode is the full laser disc version, which some scenes that were cut out from the arcade game. Arcade mode is the exact same as the game that was available in the arcade.

    One of the biggest drawbacks of the game is the lack of a save/resume option. I was playing the game for about half an hour and had to stop. Unfortunately, when I came back, I couldnt resume where I had left off I had to start the game all over again. This is the biggest failing in my book, because anytime you stop playing (low battery, phone call, to clean the dishes) you will have to start over. While I was only playing for half an hour, I can imagine how annoyed I would have been if I was 10 seconds from finishing, suddenly to get a telephone call!

    All in all, this is a fun game, and the graphics are great. It will be especially fun for people who remember it from the arcade. At $4.99, its not cheap but well within a reasonable price range (IMO, people expect too much programming for too little money from iPhone apps, myself included!). The biggest drawback is the lack of a save feature, which is enough to known it down to four out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = 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.
    12-21-2009 03:36 PM
  2. Geoff's Avatar
    I LOVED this game when I was younger, so of course I had to buy it as soon as it came out. Just hearing the starting sequence brought back a lot of memories for me, that's for sure. The price wasn't a biggie for me as I know that I spent way more than 4.99 on this game at the arcade!

    Agree that it needs the save/resume feature...but I'm still having fun with it as it.
    12-21-2009 05:54 PM
  3. lungho's Avatar
    I remember this game sucking quarters when I was a kid in the good ol' '80s. I could get all the way to the lair and about halfway through the sequence of moves before dying. There were no nifty arrows telling you which way to move the stick or when to press the sword button.

    This is one of the very few games I was never able to beat. Glad to see it made it's way to the iPhone. Nice review!
    12-21-2009 07:41 PM
  4. Dene's Avatar
    Thanks for the review - I'm now getting flashbacks to '80s arcades.
    This was *the* game I was worst at. Period.

    After the coin went in, the aural experience was something like this:

    Dah-de-dah-deDEAD (wait for skeleton sequence).
    Hup-haDEAD (wait for skeleton sequence).
    Ha-humph-ya! YaaDEAD (wait for skeleton sequence).
    12-22-2009 04:20 AM
  5. cjvitek's Avatar
    I want to see Cyberball.
    12-22-2009 12:17 PM
  6. jonmars's Avatar
    i'm an old guy, i will take it
    01-08-2010 08:44 PM