Dragon's Lair

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Yes, it's doubtful a princess would dress like that. Call it a "self motivator".
"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!"
Attract mode from Dragon's Lair.

Still known as a classic to this day, Dragon's Lair was the first arcade game that utilized LaserDisc technology to provide an entirely new gaming experience... back in 1983, at least. Rick Dyer and Don Bluth basically created an entire animated world that was placed on a LaserDisc, and animated progress screens, death scenes and the like played according to what direction you, as the player, moved via the joystick and "Sword" button.

Your role was Dirk the Daring, a brave yet still reluctant knight in medieval England whose goal was to save Princess Daphne from the clutches of Singe the Dragon. Although Bluth played it straight for the most part in order to give it the feel of games of the era, the characters all were somewhat on the cartoony side, as Dirk had the look of a gallant knight, but was somewhat of an average joe Comedic Hero who would get freaked out upon seeing the random Nightmare Fuel-type creatures and enemies he'd encounter within the castle in order to save the Playboy Bunny-esque Daphne (she was modeled from Playboy pin-ups) from Singe.

The game itself has garnered a place in the Smithsonian Institution, and has had umpteen versions of home consoles, PC systems, smartphones and even homemade hacks adding further scenes and adventures. It also had an Animated Adaptation on ABC, courtesy of Ruby-Spears.

The game (along with its sequels) was well-known for dozens of death scenes, all of which were unique to a given scenario and many of which verged on Nightmare Fuel. The cartoon included a variation by offering Dirk a choice of actions before each commercial, and showing what would have happened to him if he had made the wrong one in the next scene.

Even though it is the Trope Maker for Action Commands and Press X to Not Die, its common place among gamers may set them off. This is still probably better than every other FMV game ever made, though - save for those that followed this gameplay formula (like Space Ace and Time Gal).

A movie was announced (and even storyboarded), but has languished in Development Hell for years. Bluth and Goldman are still trying to raise funds for it to this day. There's also a six-issue comic that's based on the game, but also incorporates elements from the cartoon series (such as Dirk's horse, Bertram).

Tropes used in Dragon's Lair include:
  • Action Commands/Press X to Not Die: Pretty much the Trope Maker and Ur Example.
    • Only it didn't even tell you what to press or when.
  • Action Girl: In the comics, Daphne is this. Yes, Singe captures her, but he has to work at it, and she and Dirk were hugely overmatched.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Whether they be crumbling bridges, encroaching acid blobs or electrified floors, Dirk is almost always being chased by something.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Stages are sometimes mirrored, and Dirk is either right or left handed depending on the mirror.
  • Animated Music Video / Machinima: "He's My Guy," sung by Julie Eisenhower playing Daphne's singing voice.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: One of the first rooms you visit is slowly filled by the green tentacles of an unseen monster from upstairs.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The Bat King.
  • Big Bad: Singe the Dragon.
  • Butt Monkey: Dirk.
  • Combat Tentacles: In one room lots of green tentacles will fall from the ceiling in order to trap Dirk.
  • Cowardly Lion: This describes Dirk to a tee, yet it doesn't mean he's any less deadly with that sword.
  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Daphne.
  • Don Bluth: His animation studio did the work for the game, and The Secret of NIMH is often credited as the inspiration for the game's creator to make the game the way he did.
  • Dummied Out: Dragon's Lair didn't initially had the "only one way to beat the scene" scheme (the thing which was averted in Space Ace later then): it indeed included more exits and versions of the same scene. Not even that, it included completely different revival and game over scenes! Of course, all that was redummied back into the game with the release of 20th Anniversary Edition, yet in a really, really VHSish quality compared to the main game.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: In the NES port, you die if you walk into a door, A FREAKIN' DOOR. Dirk doesn't just die, he changes to a pile of bones, from a door.
  • Fake Difficulty: Ooooh boy… the NES version is probably the worst. Every single subtrope can be listed. This episode of the Attic Gamer (in French) shows large portions of the pain the player has to endure.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: If he makes the wrong moves, Dirk can be shut into a sarcophagus by ghosts or locked into a tiny alcove by a gate (in both cases, he probably dies slowly of starvation).
  • Giant Spider: One appears in a room where he tries to jump on Dick's face to bite his neck.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Some of the death animations cut to Dirk's sword or helmet hitting the ground rather than showing what actually happened.
  • Heroic Mime: Other than grunting and yelling in pain, Dirk never actually talks in the games.
    • For the most part. Dirk says three words, two in the first game and one is the second. In Dragon's Lair he says, "Uh oh!" during the flaming ropes scene, and "Wooooooooooooooooooooow!" upon seeing Daphne, and "Daphne!!" when finally rescuing her in Dragon's Lair II.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Dirk defeats Singe by hurling his sword into its chest.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The magic sword which can kill Singe.
  • Magma Man: In the Lethal Lava Land section some fat, humming... humanoids made of red lava will jump out of the craters and go after Dirk. If they catch him they jump with him in a nearby crater, turning him into one of them.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Indeed so much so you actually will purposely kill Dirk just to see how he'll bite it. Wanna see?
  • The Movie: Don Bluth is making an upcoming hand-drawn movie prequel that is currently in Development Hell.
  • Nintendo Hard
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Excluding NES version. Unless Dirk catches fire, which will kill him in just one touch, of course.
    • Averted in the 3D remake; Dirk actually has a health bar in that game.
    • It's also played straight by the enemies: Almost all of them, including the big bad Black Knight, the giant Bat King and the skeletal Crypt Keepers will get vanquished in a single sword strike.
  • Press Start to Game Over: You could lose all your lives in a hurry.
  • Schmuck Bait: One room is nothing but a table with a potion on it labeled "Drink Me". In a castle where every single inanimate object has been magically enchanted to kill you.
    • Interesting fact: if you lose all your lives on this scene, the board will say "Eat Me". Which still counts as a Schmuck Bait.
  • Stripped to the Bone: In the NES version, many enemies and obstacles (and DOORS!) do this to Dirk regardless of the HP meter.
  • Stripperiffic: Daphne.
    • Lampshaded in the comic: Singe has a legion of maidens he's transformed into vain bubbleheads who all dress like that, and Daphne just happens to be his latest acquisition. She does seem embarrassed about it and as they ride away at the end she's wearing a robe over it.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: When an action doesn't have a preceding cue. Also applies to the Commodore 64 port.
  • Updated Rerelease: Oh boy, where to begin... Considerably, EVERY "direct-to-video" port was superior to arcade in a way they had new scenes. Of course, it can't be compared with Dragon's Lair 20th Anniversary Edition which not only does includes loads and loads of bonus material, but also loads and loads of Dummied Out scenes. Escape From Singe's Castle for Amiga also has completely new scenes which are... Oh come ON, may anyone trace these for the new release already?!
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: The direct-to-arcade versions indeed do qualify, but the NES port takes it to ridiculous heights. The castle door that kills Dirk instantly should only he contact with it? Everything's trying to kill you indeed.

Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp contains examples of the following:[edit | hide | hide all]