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Another '80s arcader that I could never beat and never met anyone who could, was Dragon's Lair. So I present:

All of the footage from Dragon's Lair, Part One
All of the footage from Dragon's Lair, Part Two
All of the footage from Dragon's Lair, Part Three

...and though it's not as good...

A complete playthrough of Dragon's Lair II: TimeWarp

Didn't find Space Ace anywhere, tho.

Last night was the third (I believe) session of Red Hand of Doom, in which our heroes completed Chapter One by destroying Skull Gorge Bridge. The text of the adventure describes the Skull Gorge Bridge fight as "the climactic battle of chapter one" and recommends bumping Ozyrrandion (the green dragon) up to "juvenile" if the party is too tough. I didn't do this, just ran the encounter as written, and it was still a pretty heavy slog -- not impossible, just tough enough to keep the characters on their toes.

laurie_robey's sorcerer opened up the fight by lobbing fireballs that quickly decimated the hobgoblin troops -- but of course that got the dragon's attention! He had to make something like a DC 30 spot check to tell where she was launching fireballs from, rolled a 36, and made a beeline for the party's hidey-hole. This began a wild battle of long shots -- arrows, fireballs, and magic missiles lobbed off at extreme range, while jamesbarrett's melee guy ran back and forth and back and forth trying to get a piece of the action.

This he finally managed to do, when the dragon got close enough to one of the bridge towers for him to run up the stairs and take a flying leap onto it -- or more accurately, just catching one leg and clinging on for dear life. While the rest of the party chased after the hobgoblin leader, who was trying to escape to warn the horde, jamesbarrett rode the dragon like a bucking bronco, planting his sword into its back and getting buffeted and slammed against the bridge.

Eventually, all of the Red Hand forces were defeated and the dragon slain by a vicious critical hit. The dragon had healing potions of his own and kept scooping up potions from dead hobgoblins, so his hit point record goes as follows: 104, 79 (from the opening fireball), 77, 69, 62, 53, 38, 48, 67, 63, 50, 46, 66, 58, 50, 30, dead.

Finally, after the fight, the characters met a senile ol' coot of a forest giant named Warklegnaw, a survivor of the battle of Vraath Keep. This was a slight extension on my part of the adventure as written, in that the text assumes that the characters will follow the path up to Warklegnaw's hut and initiate contact with him. When confronted with the effigy marking the path up to his hut, however, the players' reactions were pretty universally "Giants! Eek!" But as Warklegnaw is described as a hermit who forages around the Witchwood, I had him pass close to the bridge (where the characters were camped), and they called out to him. (Why a passing giant is less scary than a giant in his lair, I don't know! But whatever works.)

My portrayal of Warklegnaw came out different from what I'd had in mind ... I had intended to go for more slow and forgetful (a la Treebeard), but instead I think I was still channeling the NPC ranger and he came out more like an 18' tall Gabby Hayes. Still, it worked. :)

So now the characters are going to head back to Drellin's Ferry to unload loot and talk to the town leaders about what's transpired. The next session will probably take them well into Chapter Two, and its startling discoveries! :D

-The Gneech


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
The biggest problem with Dragon's Lair wasn't its difficulty (once you got the timing and the move sequence down for each screen, it was actually fairly easy), it was the fact that the laserdisc players kept breaking down and giving disc read errors so that even when you DID do it right, the player would skip or jitter and access the wrong section of the disc. Then you'd wind up dying anyway. :)

My local arcade had a scrupulously-maintained copy of the game, but most of the other ones I saw were not so well-maintained and were always trouble to play.

(he says, as he looks up at the signed Dragon's Lair poster hanging on his wall).

Dec. 3rd, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
There's actually a very simple reason for why Dragon's Lair (and most other laserdisc games) were so prone to breakdown.

The bottom-front panel of a videogame cabinet, especially the portion below the coin box, is often referred to as the "kick panel." Why, you may ask? Simple. What's the first thing a frustrated 12-year-old kid does when he loses at a game? He kicks the bottom of the cabinet.

Now -- guess where the laserdisc player was typically mounted in Dragon's Lair (and most other LD games?) :D In or near the bottom of the cabinet.

Result: the optics block kept getting knocked out of alignment and wasn't able to maintain proper tracking or seek to the correct locations.
Dec. 3rd, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
Oh, definitely!

A friend of mine who built his own DL cabinet from the ground up, though, said that the Pioneer LD-V1000 model used in Dragon's Lair was notoriously finicky ANYway, though. I have no idea whether he's right.

Curiously enough, the only laser game I ever played which never, EVER skipped was Cobra Command...which used (you guessed it) the LD-V1000. Just goes to show you how weird hardware stuff can be sometimes. :)

Dec. 3rd, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
The Data East cabinets (Bega's Battle and Cobra Command) had the player mounted a little higher up in the cabinet, and further towards the back, if I remember correctly, so they probably weren't as vulnerable to impacts. (Plus, I don't think CC was all that popular, so it probably didn't get kicked as much. :) )

Also, I don't think Cobra Command seeks around the disc as much; as I remember the game, it was a fairly linear progression through the disc from beginning to end. (Which was also true of other games like Cliff Hanger, Bega's Battle, Astron Belt, etc., so they typically held up fairly well also.) I suspect the cabinet getting kicked while the optic block was seeking (as would happen after a death in Dragon's Lair, since it had to play the death scene and then go off to a new randomly-selected stage) had a lot to do with why the Cinematronics games (Dragon's Lair, Space Ace) would go down more frequently than the others.

Personally, if I had a Dragon's Lair in my collection, the first thing I'd do is cut some extra vent slots in the back of the cabinet and put a couple of big 120mm fans to keep air circulating around the laserdisc player, and put some heavy-duty Sorbothane shock mounts under the player. :) (I know better than to kick my games, of course, but sometimes visitors will get a little overexcited, and...)
Dec. 3rd, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
You have your own collection? Okay, that does it, I'm adding you to my watchlist. It's been a while in the making, anyway, given that you're a fellow Tron fanatic. :)

Dec. 4th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
I do -- though no laserdisc games as yet, unfortunately. (Bega's Battle and/or Cliff Hanger are the LD games I desire -- unfortunately, both of them are extremely difficult to come by!) Currently, I have:

Space Duel (Atari, full-size upright model)
TRON (Bally/Midway, full-size upright model)
Uniwar-S (Irem, full-size upright model)
Megatack (Game Plan, full-size upright model)
Lazarian (Bally/Midway, cabaret model)
Space Firebird (Sega/Gremlin, cocktail-table model)
Phoenix (Centuri, cocktail-table model)

Plus these two which are (currently) non-working and in the process of being fixed up when I have a few spare moments to work on them: :)

Space Wars (Cinematronics, full-size upright model,)
Moon Cresta (Nichibutsu, cocktail-table model)
Dec. 2nd, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
Man, I miss Dragon's Lair. They had a 25th anniversary cabinet in the local arcade recently, but now it's gone...
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Dec. 2nd, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, all I got was sound, no picture. Thanks for trying, tho! :)

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Dec. 3rd, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
DivX worked, thanks! :) Now ... was it incomprehensible, or is it just me? ;)

Dec. 2nd, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
Space Ace and Dragon's Lair were both released as playable DVDs. (You used the remote to interact with the DVD.) But they also had "play the game as one movie" options.
Dec. 2nd, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, memories. :) Never beat the original but I did get to where I could play Dragon's Lair II all the way through. I don't want to think about how many quarters that cost...
Dec. 3rd, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
What is it with ladies named Daphne getting in some sort of peril?

As for the gaming, it sounds good. The Shadowrun Missions group I've been running off the past two months for zeroing for MACE and folks missing for Thanksgiving respectively. The next session is set for the 15th, so who knows.
Dec. 3rd, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
I loved Dragon's Lair when I was a kid, and ended up beating all of the Don Bluth based games except for Thayer's Quest which was nothing but a quarter vacuum.

Still, I must've blown hundreds of dollars in quarters to beat these games.
Dec. 3rd, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
wooot! That cost a lotta quarters :D
Dec. 3rd, 2007 11:59 am (UTC)
One of the greats in games though. Very ahead of its time.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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