Novemberís Program: Dragonís Lair

My ZX81 version of the classic arcade game, just without the LaserDisc and slick animation.

Dragonís Lair, 1985One of my favorite video games as a kid was a rather unlikely one. It wasnít the coolest graphics or excellent control. It was about story and animation. It was, of course, Dragonís Lair. The odd laser disc game by famed animator Don Bluth. Not surprisingly, I tried to recreate a bit of the game's feel on my ZX81. My attempt is, of course, Novemberís Program of the Month.

My version of Dragonís Lair lacks the awesome animation of Donís studio for obvious reasons. The ZX81ís weak graphics not withstanding, I actually enjoyed my attempt. It retains the basic ideas. A scene is displayed and you have to press the right direction at the right time to win. In that, it actually does a decent job.

This version recreates a number of scenes. It includes the falling floor, the rolling borders, and the falling skulls.† Itís hard to relate them to the story unless youíve seen the original. Again, itís because of those pesky graphics. They are there though and actually donít play half bad. In fact, the controls are about as finicky as the originalís. The opening castle, though, actually looks pretty good all things considered. The ending dragon isnít so bad either, although he does look a bit droopy.†

Dragonís Lair code isnít all that bad. Not surprisingly, almost all the code is around printing the various graphics and animations. Very little of the code is for movement. I suspect that was the case for the original game as well. The game mechanics are actually simple if then else scenarios. If you hit the right key, continue. If you donít, you die.

An old but goody, I think my version of Dragonís Lair is a pretty good attempt, even if not the same as the original. Now, if I can only find those Dragonís Lair II printouts.

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