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iPhone game of the day: Dragon's Lair

Game: Dragon's Lair
Price: $0.99 / £0.59
Size: 205MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/UK

We're going old school today with the classic Dragon's Lair, originally released in 1983 on a game machine the size of a refrigerator. At the time, it was dazzling - a laserdisc wonder with visuals light years ahead of other games' meager pixel mosaics.It was also pretty much a nightmare to play,devouring quarterslike a ravenous beast while gamers flailed miserably and cluelessly at the controls, never knowing when to do what.Thus, the heroic knight Dirk was repeatedly subjectedto deathsso grisly they'd make a slaughterhouse janitor wince in sympathy. That's why this version, thanks to one small tweak to the controls, may actually be the best version of Dragon's Lair ever released.

The tweak in question is simple, but it has a huge effect, at least for us: The controls - four arrows and a single sword button - are shown on the screen now. And when you need to take action, the control you need to press lights up for a split second, showing you exactly what to do. In any other game, it would be too much hand-holding. But in this game, in which you often have a mere split second to give Dirk direction before he's gruesomely murdered for the 10,483rd time, it's a welcome crutch.

There are two game modes in this version: Home mode, which takes you through the original arcade game, but with unlimited continues, and Arcade mode, which shuffles the scenes each time you play, so you can't guess what you're going to get next.If you've never played Dragon's Lair,now's the timeto do it. If you're a veteran, this is a great way to freshen up a timeless classic.

Oct 12, 2010