The classic predecessors of QTEs are back on GOG with the Dragon’s Lair Trilogy.
Before Heavy Rain or any other game that uses quick-presses-of-buttons mechanics, there was an 80ies arcade game called Dragon’s Lair that would later be ported to all kinds of home computers and consoles. The idea was simple: decide which action to do or which direction to go without dying. And dying was the reason why so many coins went into those arcade cabinet slots…
There wasn’t much else to the game than remembering the right input at the right time, but people would still play the game, its sequel Dragon’s Lair: Time Warp, and Space Ace because of the impressive animation work done by Don Bluth, a former Disney employee who later did his own movies like The Land Before Time or All Dogs Go to Heaven. The games were nothing more but also nothing less than interactive movies, with the first two focusing on fantasy and the last title on sci-fi themes, but always with some humor thrown in.
Dragon’s Lair tasks the brave but often clumsy knight Dirk to save Princess Daphne from a dragon, while the sequel Dragon’s Lair: Time Warp is about a time warp in which the wizard Mordroc wants to marry the princess, and the knight has to go on a rescue mission again. Space Ace is about the space warrior Ace who has to fight against the evil Commander Borf and destroy the Infanto-Ray. If this all sounds cheesy, then it’s because it is, but it doesn’t take anything away from the humorous animations and the action on screen that might be light on player agency, but big on thrilling set-pieces, including lots of frustrating deaths, obviously.
Dragon’s Lair Trilogy includes all these three games and is now available DRM-free on GOG. The titles have been remastered and also offer some nice extras, like interviews with the creators or making-ofs for those who are curious about the development.
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