Dragon’s Lair…. in space!

By Dan Zuccarelli . November 22, 2007 . 4:39pm


Back in the hay-day of arcades you could usually get away with creating an entire game around a gimmick (let's be honest it still works a fair amount these days too). One of those gimmicks was the laserdisc. It allowed for fantastic graphics and animation, but severely limited control and interaction. There were a few games out there that took advantage of this system, and the two super famous ones featured animation by Don Bluth.


Dragon's Lair is by far the most famous one, and to casual game fans probably the only one they know about. Well Don Bluth did a pseudo-sequel that used the same exact control scheme and animation style, only this time is took place in space. Dragon's Lair is fun for those of us that remember it, can Space Ace fill a similar niche?


It's hard to separate in my mind the two games, since they're so inheritely similar. In all honesty the only difference is the locale the game takes place in, space as opposed to a castle. The animation style is the same (not a bad thing, it is Don Bluth after all) but it doesn't do much to make the game feel like a different experience.


Even the control scheme is identical. A portion of the screen flashes and you have a split-second to take the controller in that direction. Rinse, repeat.



Now as I said, this isn't a bad thing… so long as you like Dragon's Lair. Otherwise there's nothing here that'll make you like this one over the other. It's a fun path to walk back down because I remember wasting quarters on both these games as a young arcade goer. But the gameplay is far to limiting to offer anything other than a nostalgic experience.


It seems that Dragon's Lair and Space Ace have been released on just about every format ever, so chances are good that if you don't but it this time you'll have another chance in 5 years when the cycle rolls over again. Though as the arcade memories dim further from view, these games just feel more and more dated.


Personally, I enjoyed it. But like I said, more from nostalgia than anything else. 

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  • http://blog.PaintedPixelStudios.com Toad64

    One important difference from this game and Dragon’s Lair were the *slight* differences in how you played certain portions of the game. You could occasionally activate a powerup that would change you from the scrawny person you normally played as to the fully buff Space Ace. If you didn’t you did more running from enemies, whereas if you transformed for a bit, you did more shooting and attacking. It’s a small addition, but worth mentioning just because it’s pretty much the *only* point that separates it from Dragon’s Lair.

  • Quaker

    Woah. I hadn’t realized people actually enjoyed Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. I thought they existed primarily as symbols of mediocrity in video games.

    Notably there is a cabinet at a pizza place in Juneau that has both games. I admit to having wasted my fair share of quarters on those games as well.

  • http://dotmemories.xt.pl Keii

    I remember playing Space Ace at my friend’s place when I was about 10 – we couldn’t beat it, but it sure was a fun game ;D

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