Eighties arcade phenomenon Dragon's Lair has been digitally restored and is to be re-released on Blu-ray disc. The Don Bluth classic becomes the first interactive BD-J (Blu-ray Disc Java) title to be released.
Dragon's Lair, which was one of the very first laserdisc video games, featured polished cartoon-quality animations and was the first game to allow players to control a 'fully realised' character.
Players would watch the hero, Dirk the daring, move through an elaborately booby-trapped castle on a Disney-esque quest to rescue the princess Daphne from the dragon Singe. But while its visuals were streets ahead of rival games (the vector graphic-based Star Wars arcade game was released in the same year), the downside of its sumptuous visuals was that the gameplay was reduced to a sequence of A, B or C choices.
Consequently, Dragon's Lair was a game that players watched more than they played. At key moments, the cartoon animation would prompt the player to make a choice or quickly perform an action. Hit the right button, at the right time (to jump, duck, swing a sword, etc) and the game would show the appropriate outcome - Dirk either moved deeper into the castle or suffered a jokey cartoon demise.
An instant hit in its 1983 arcade laserdisc debut, it has now been digitally restored and enhanced with an all-new 5.1 surround sound mix. "Digital Leisure, with authoring partner Infinite HD, transferred the video directly from the original film and painstakingly cleaned each frame by hand, creating a truly vibrant image," reads the press release we received today.
Re-written for high definition
The game has been authored in the BD-J environment, an advanced format that allows users to enjoy a fully arcade-authentic experience. Dragon's Lair is the first title to use this technology, and Digital Leisure hopes that it will set the standard for future interactive implementations of BD-J.
All Blu-ray Disc players, including the Sony PlayStation 3, are designed to play BD-J titles based on the Blu-ray Disc Association specifications.
"I've seen the newly restored footage and it just looks amazing," said Don Bluth, ex-Disney animator and original creator of Dragon's Lair.
"It looks even better than I can remember. The visuals, the 5.1 surround sound audio, all I can say is 'wow!' Now a whole new generation can enjoy Dragon's Lair all over again."
Digital Leisure plans to follow up Dragon's Lair Blu-ray with the release of the sequels Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp in the Blu-ray Java format. Dragon's Lair Blu-ray will be available on 9 April at many software and movie retailers as well as on an official website .
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.