Dragon's Lair © 1983 Cinematronics.
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|Dragon's Lair was released on June 19, 1983.|
The attract mode of the game displays various short vignettes of gameplay with the accompanying narration : 'Dragon's Lair: The fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight, on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. You control the actions of a daring adventurer, finding his way through the castle of a dark wizard, who has enchanted it with treacherous monsters and obstacles. In the mysterious caverns below the castle, your odyssey continues against the awesome forces that oppose your efforts to reach the Dragon's Lair. Lead on, adventurer. Your quest awaits!'
Dragon's Lair was one of the first games to use the then-new Laserdisc format. It was the first game to have feature-quality animation (exactly 22 minutes of full animation at a cost of 1.3 million dollars). This set it apart from the other arcade games of the day which had very primitive graphics.
The animation was done by Don Bluth Studios, which also did feature-length animated movies such as 'The Secret of NIMH' and 'An American Tail'. Don Bluth was a former Disney employee who left to start his own company. To keep the cost as low as possible, they decided not to hire professional voice actors. Instead they all pitched in and did the voices themselves. Sound Engineer, Dan Molina was the voice of Dirk the Daring. Vera Lanpher, head of assistant animators, was the voice of Daphne. The narrator was Michael Rye and the musical score was created by Christopher Stone.
Dirk only speaks twice. Once, he mutters 'Uh, oh' when the platform begins to recede during the fire-swinging sequence, and exclaims 'Wow!' when first entering the dragon's lair.
Dragon's Lair had a huge impact on the arcade industry in 1983 (grossing more than 32 million dollars in the first eight months in the arcades). It was so big that quite a bit of merchandise was produced. Dragon's Lair books, buttons, trading cards, stickers and toys were just a few of the many different items that could be purchased.
Lance Mazmanian was the one of the first ever in the US (or perhaps actually the first in the US) to successfully complete the commercially released Dragon's Lair game. This happened at Zody's Arcade in North Las Vegas, Nevada, 1983, when Mazmanian, then 17 years-old, narrowly beat Rick Gurlach to the prize (Gurlach completed the game a mere day later). When word of the victory spread, two Japanese executives from a competing game company flew to Las Vegas to meet with Mazmanian, who was privately interviewed for an hour in the arcade (which was closed by the operators to accommodate the interview). Mazmanian was asked extensive questions about the interface, the gaming experience, the control cluster, the story progression, the animation, and so on.
Marvel Studio produced a Saturday-morning TV-show based on the game. The TV show, produced by Ruby Spears, debuted in the fall of 1984 on ABC and lasted only 1 season.
There was also a Dragon's Lair feature film that was planned, storyboarded, and written but never put into production. The film was to be called 'Dragon's Lair - The Legend'.
The 'Hover Joust' scene and 'dirk turns into a skeleton' death scene was parodied in an episode of the animated television show Family Guy in 2009
Dragon's Lair has been parodied in a sketch on the television show Robot Chicken.
KOTO, an Italian synth group released two Discs in 1988, KOTO 'Dragons Legend' and KOTO 'Dragons Megamix'. The remix music themes include takes of the audio from the attract mode of Dragon's Lairas well as some dialogs of Daphne in game. The themes are Dragons Legend, Dragons Legend (Dub version) and Dragons Megamix.
Greg Sakundiak holds the official record for this game with three starting lives with a score 374,954 points on July 20, 1985.
Judd Boone holds the official record for this game with five starting lives with a score of 558,724 points on October 31, 1983.
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