Zelda fans, I hate to break it to you, but Link was never the first hero to jump through time and space to fight evil, battle monsters, and rescue a princess. In 1983 and again in 1991, out hero was taller, older, and had more facial expressions than Jim Carrey.
Dirk the Daring, hero of the era of Arcades, faced the darkest of perils to save the voluptuous Princess Daphne from an evil sorcerer, a greedy dragon, and classic hand drawn surrealism long before Link and Zelda were ever a thought. Dragon’s Lair, a laserdisc video arcade game animated by legend Gary Goldman and directed by former Disney artist gone rogue Don Bluth, featured rich artwork and fast paced game play where you guide Dirk as best as you can through the castle of a Dragon who has kidnapped the love of your life Princess Daphne. Sadly, she is not as wise or resourceful as Zelda, but some would say at least she’s, um, easy on the eyes.
Back in the day, this game ate up tons of quarters as bad judgement calls and slow reflexes meant certain death for your hero. It played like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but with cartoon violence. And the difficulty level of the game play was more intense than Ocarina of Time’s Master Mode. To win this game was a source of great pride as it was near impossible to beat unless you took days on end studying what the right moves to make were. The game was so well received they made a second one, and that one is, well… I’ll let the intro video explain.
Does the drawing style look familiar? It should. Bluth and Goldman are the talent behind such films as An American Tale, All Dogs go to Heaven, Titan A.E., Anastasia, and the masterpiece Secret of NIHM. After watching that energetic, intriguing imagery, you may wonder “why did they not make this franchise into a movie?! Why did they make all the other movies instead?”. For 32 years, fans of Bluth’s work and the game have been wondering the same thing. And now they don’t have to wonder anymore: Dragon’s Lair: The Movie now has a Kickstarter headed by the creators themselves.
Curious to see what Legend of Zelda could have been like if they formatted the game to laserdisc? Want to take a crack at the nostalgic insanity but have no idea where to find an arcade anymore? You’re in luck! Nintendo has formatted the classic game to a 3D version for the Game Cube and recently rendered the classic Laserdisc version available for DS Ware download. But be warned! The game is not for the faint of heart as trying to defeat the game could frustrated you to the point of a heart attack. Don’t think you can handle it? There are a handle full of playthroughs on You Tube of the complete game you can watch. I’ve seen both one and two, and it’s like watching a short animated movie that is so wild and imaginative you wish it wouldn’t end. And if a movie version gets off the ground with this kick starter, I’d imagine it would be even more of that crazy thrill ride on the big screen as it is on the consoles.