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DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP ($35) is a richer and more diverse game than the original DRAGON'S LAIR II. Instead of relying excessively on duplicate sequences that just forced the player to repeat mirrored versions of earlier maneuvers, DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP keeps the game fresh by not really repeating itself. For those unfamiliar with the original game or DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP, these were two hand-animated movies that were turned into video games with the aid of interactive Laserdisc players. At specific points in the game, players could move Dirk The Daring (the main character and mediaeval knight) up, down, left and right or choose for him to use his sword. If the player chose the correct move, the game would advance to the next sequence. If the player chose incorrectly, it would bring about the unfortunate demise of our hero knight. The scenario for DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP is similar to the original; Dirk The Daring has to rescue Princess Daphne (now his wife) from the clutches of an evil wizard named Mordroc. However, instead of just avoiding obstacles in a castle, Dirk must journey through time, with the aid of a clunky time machine, to rescue Daphne. DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP has a much broader landscape and is far more interesting (and challenging) to play than the original game.

Once again the folks at Digital Leisure have done a pretty nice job of porting a Laserdisc based video game over to the DVD format. DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP plays via the DVD player's remote control. Response to commands via the remote control is pretty good, once one gets used to the interface. However, there will be variations in response time from DVD player manufacturer to the next. Please note: DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP is not compatible with most Samsung and Aiwa DVD players, so owners of these players are out of luck. The video portion of DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP seems to be somewhat dark and murky, especially when compared to Digital Leisure's DRAGON'S LAIR and SPACE ACE DVD games. I kind of hoped Don Bluth's terrific animation would have looked better than this on DVD, but this is a video game and not a actual movie. The image also appears a bit grainy, but it isn't too bad. Color reproduction varies between muted and well saturated, and I noticed a slight fuzziness to some of the more intense hues. Digital compression artifacts never become bothersome on this DVD.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack is respectable, but the original recordings were never intended for the high fidelity playback of most home theater systems. DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP sounds better than it did in the arcade, which suits this DVD well enough. Like the other DVD games in Digital Leisure's arsenal, DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP offers one the ability to watch the entire scenario play out without any user interaction. Supplementing this release is a rough cut of the game footage, which kind of reminds on of the WORK IN PROGRESS version of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

If you enjoyed playing DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP in the arcade, then the DVD version of the game will bring you considerable enjoyment.




DVD reviews are Copyright 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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