Dragon's Lair (NES)

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Dragon's Lair
Dragon'sLair-NES-US-Front.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1990
Developer: Motivetime, Ltd.
Buy: Amazon

Dragon's Lair is a sidescroller loosely based on the infamous arcade game of the same name. The player takes the role of Dirk the Daring, who is trying to rescue Princess Daphne who has been taken by Singe, the Dragon. The player must navigate through five levels to get to Singe. There is also a bonus level in which Dirk tries to steal a piece of gold from the Lizard King, but this is optional and serves no other purpose than to increase your score.

The Japanese and European versions are very different from the North American release. The Japanese version features much faster gameplay, but changes the B button to the candle and the up button to jump. The European version improves the game even more by adding splash screens, more enemy designs, but also is made more difficult because of these new enemies, making it harder to complete each level.

The game was developed by a few Elite Systems employees under their subsidiary MotiveTime; it was programmed by Andy Williams, with graphics by David Percival, and music by Mark Cooksey. Trevor Williams was the project manager. MotiveTime would also go on to develop the Game Boy and SNES versions of Dragon's Lair, as well as an unreleased Mega Drive version, which was the same as the SNES version.

The game was heavily criticized for its slow gameplay, laggy controls, and that most enemies kill the player in one hit, resulting in an unfair advantage. However, the game was praised for its graphics and music.


Screenshots

Dragon's Lair - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Dragon's Lair - NES - Ending.png

This ending's not worth your frustration.


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Music

Out of all the bad things in this game, the music is not one of them. The music fits the game nicely. For example, when you're in the caves, the music sounds suspensful. When you're on the descending elevator, the music sounds rushed. The only drawback to the music is that each tune is short, making it loop more often than other games, which will make it sound annoying after a while.

Since the game lacks credits, MotiveTime's only known composer was Mark Cooksey, so we have asked Mark for confirmation of composing this game's soundtrack and he confirmed that he wrote the music to this game. He says the music was composed in Notator for the Atari ST and converted the MIDI files which he made in Notator to the NES with his sound driver. Mark Cooksey said the title music was an actual song he wrote and recorded called "Mark's Medieval Lahs" in which he used a Roland D10 for piano backing while he used several 8-track tapes to record his voice. Since we have not yet received permission from him to upload the song here, it is not available to listen to. Mark would go on to compose the Game Boy and SNES versions. The Game Boy version uses an arrangement of Mark's Medieval Lahs, but the SNES version does not borrow any songs from the NES or Game Boy versions.

The names of the songs come from the game's manual. The manual however states that the official level 1 is The Entrance Hall.

The Stage 2 music has the noise channel go out of sync with the other sound channels, and takes 3 loops of the square and triangle channels to resync properly.

The Japanese version and European feature changes to the music, and should be uploaded. The Japanese version starts with a 2 and the European version starts with a 3.

Recording

1 - USA/NTSC
2 - Japan/NTSC
3 - Europe/PAL

# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
101 Mark's Medieval Lahs Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:57
Download
102 The Drawbridge Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:06
Download
103 The Entrance Hall Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:54
Download
104 The Gold Mines Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:52
Download
105 The Hall of the Grim Reaper Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 2:18
Download
106 Singe's Cavern Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 2:05
Download
107 The Elevator Shaft Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:34
Download
108 Boss Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:01
Download
109 Ending Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:46
Download
# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
201 Mark's Medieval Lahs Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:35
Download
202 The Drawbridge Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:52
Download
203 The Entrance Hall Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 2:02
Download
204 The Gold Mines Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:27
Download
205 The Hall of the Grim Reaper Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:46
Download
206 Singe's Cavern Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:27
Download
207 The Elevator Shaft Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:35
Download
208 Boss Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:48
Download
209 Ending Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:39
Download
# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
301 Mark's Medieval Lahs Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:32
Download
302 The Drawbridge Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:00
Download
303 The Entrance Hall Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 2:25
Download
304 The Gold Mines Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:42
Download
305 The Hall of the Grim Reaper Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 2:05
Download
306 Singe's Cavern Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:42
Download
307 The Elevator Shaft Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:42
Download
308 Boss Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:56
Download
309 Ending Mark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:47
Download

Credits

(Source: Verified by composer, game lacks credits)

As per usual with the Elite NES titles, this game does not have credits. However, the game uses Mark Cooksey's sound engine. We have contacted Mark Cooksey who has confirmed composing the music and sound effects to this game.

Game Rip

Formats

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Size

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Releases

  USA.svg   USA
Dragon'sLair-NES-US-Front.jpg
Title: Dragon's Lair
Platform: NES
Released: 1990-12-??
Publisher: Imagesoft
  Japan.svg   Japan
Dragon'sLair-NES-JP-Front.jpg
Title: ドラゴンズ・レアー (Dragon's Lair)
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1991-09-20
Publisher: Epic
  UK.svg   UK
Dragon'sLair-NES-UK-Front.jpg
Title: Dragon's Lair
Platform: NES
Released: 1992-01-03
Publisher: Elite Systems

Links