Despite fantastic animation, Dragon’s Lair iPhone app a flameout

Dec 13, 2009
Games

Dragon’s Lair ($4.99) has some deal-breaking problems, but the animation is fantastic. This iPhone app version of the ’80s arcade game is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good part of the Dragon’s Lair iPhone app is the artwork. Your character is the archetypal Dirk the Daring, making his way […]

Dragon’s Lair ($4.99) has some deal-breaking problems, but the animation is fantastic. This iPhone app version of the ’80s arcade game is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good part of the Dragon’s Lair iPhone app is the artwork. Your character is the archetypal Dirk the Daring, making his way through a haunted castle to rescue the princess. Dirk the Daring is a goofy hero, furrowing his brow, grimacing and screaming through his cartoon adventure. When he is killed, the animations are comical, such as being squeezed by snakes so his head looks like it will pop, or slamming into a brick wall and breaking into small pieces.

The bad parts of Dragon’s Lair are the controls and the omission of a save feature. You have five controls: sword, up, down, right and left arrows. The game play is the same throughout. One of the five buttons glows yellow, and you have a split second to tap the button. Sounds easy, right? It isn’t. I don’t know if it’s the iPhone app or the hardware, but the controls are not adequately responsive. Even when you know which button to tap ahead of time, the game does not respond to the signal, making you go through dozens of your unlimited lives trying to get past a signal point in the game.

In the original Dragon’s Lair arcade game, the glowing cues are integrated into the game’s scenes. So if you are supposed to swing your sword, the actual sword would glow. By moving these cues to tap buttons at the base of the screen it takes your eyes off the entertaining animation, and focuses your attention on a few icon controls.

What’s worse is you cannot save your game. If you pause it, and let your device go to sleep, when you wake it back up, the window asks if you would you like to continue or quit? If you tap continue, it still takes you back to the beginning of the game.

The ugly part of Dragon’s Lair is the cost. Five dollars for a game that doesn’t work properly and does not allow you to save your spot is not cool. It’s a shame, because the cartoon animations are so wonderful. Hopefully the developer will fix the iPhone app, but, until then, venture elsewhere.

Search for more

Home Apps Games