reviews\ Dec 10, 2001 at 7:00 pm

Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp - XB - Review

Technology and cinematic animation have collided head on with amazing results.

Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp sees the unlikely hero, Dirk, once again in search of his beloved. This game for the Xbox, from Digital Leisure, requires the DVD Movie Playback Kit (sold separately from the base Xbox unit) in order to play, or view.

This is an extremely linear game. When actually making the decisions for Dirk, there appears to be only one course of action that keeps the game rolling merrily along.

Here is the storyline: Princess Daphne has been kidnapped by the evil wizard, Mordroc. The latter plans to force her into marriage. Dirk the Daring uses a beat up old time machine to track down stolen princess. Time is not his ally. Mordroc plans to open the Casket of Doom and place the Death Ring on Daphne’s finger, which means she will be lost forever.

The animation is courtesy of Don Bluth, who brought such delights to the silver screen as “An American Tale,” “The Secret of Nimh,” “Anastasia,” “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” and “The Land Before Time.” It is flawless.

Because this is a DVD-powered ‘game,’ there are several things you can do. You can control Dirk, or you can simply watch the animated film. The program includes a bonus video, which shows Dragon’s Lair II in production.

Now this is an arcade-style game. It first appeared as a laser-disc program. Dirk has a long history in the arcade realm, and this newest translation loses nothing. However, as mentioned, it is a linear game – which means that when confronted with making a decision, there is only one way to go. Make the wrong one and Dirk gets clobbered, losing a life and you begin again. In some scenes there are objects to collect. All of the objects must be collected in order for the game to advance.

The controls are kept simple for the game. When a diamond appears, you have to make a decision, and make it quickly. The directional buttons on the DVD controller move Dirk. The enter button uses the sword.

The animation is very good, and it will seem amazing that you can actually control Dirk at all. And, like with any animated ‘film,’ the sound is superb.

This program has two modes of play, regular and slow. The regular setting keeps the game moving at a ‘real-life’ pace, while the slow gives players an extra blink of the eye to make a decision on which DVD remote button to stab.

This game is rated for Everyone, and does feature animated violence.

Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp is amazing to look at; unfortunately the game play is less than amazing. It survives as a stand-alone film, but because the play is based on one solution for every puzzle, this program lacks replayability.

Gameplay: 8
The flow of the film is amazing. And there are plenty of challenges along the way. The action is non-stop.

Graphics: 8.5
This is classic animation from the Bluth Group, Ltd. It features parodies of some famous cartoons (like “Alice in Wonderland”), and of course Dirk’s classic bumbling luck to survive crumbling towers and hordes of monsters.

Sound: 8.8
This features great music, and terrific vocal acting.

Difficulty: 8
The game features two modes of play, and controls are kept simple.

Concept: 8.5
This is a nice package – with bonus videos, a game and movie mode.

Overall: 8.3
Despite the linear nature of the game play, this program is action packed. For kids who may not want to wade through all the levels, the entire story can be viewed as a short animated feature. The storyline may just be a setup for all the action and challenge, but it works. This is enjoyable, fun-filled cartoon gaming.  


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