Format reviewed: SNES
Publisher: Digital Leisure
Whenever I’d visit my cousin’s house, I’d play his SNES. This might sound like a dull statement, but in the early Nineties it was a bit of a transgressive act – the console war was raging and the infinite marketing power of Sonic the Hedgehog had secured my loyalty to Sega. But those visits to my cousin allowed me access to the games I’d never normally play, and I’d often leave with an unspoken envy of games like Super Mario Kart. Most of my cousin’s games were the era’s big hits – Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and the like – but there was one that stood out as being a bit different. That game was Dragon’s Lair.
I’d never seen the arcade version of Dragon’s Lair before, so I wasn’t aware of the fact that the SNES game was completely different to the original game, nor that people were fond of Dirk the Daring. All I could see was a generic platformer whose main character was incredibly unwieldy, due to his slow speed and inertia. It was also a frustrating experience, featuring instant deaths, false exits and enemies that could spawn from nowhere. Some of the sprites were pretty, but the animation rather less so.
The result of all of this was that I got a very negative image of Dragon’s Lair, which took years to undo. In an age of arcade-perfect conversions and incredibly close cross-platform releases, it’s easy to forget how your view of a game could be tainted by one bad version.