Dragons Lair Part II: Escape From Singe’s Castle

The home computer sequel to Dragon’s Lair, the arcade laserdisc sensation created by Don Bluth. A very mixed bag of game but had a great soundtrack, especially on the Commodore 64, with each level having it own musical piece composed by Rob Hubbard. 

The Game

Just a short time ago Dirk the Daring rescued the beautiful princess Daphne and returned her to King Aeithelred her father.

The Kingdom rejoiced at the return of their princess and the peace the has been secured for the kingdom. Dirk being made of sterner stuff decides to return to the dragon’s lair to seek his fortune from the Lizard King’s domain which lies deep within the castles depths.

It is rumoured that a pot of gold coins is there for the taking that will give wealth beyond dreams. However there are drawbacks, the Lizard King does not take kindly to visitors entering his domain and has enchanted the pot of gold with a magic spell. If Dirk does manage to collect the gold he will have to face many perils before encountering the mud monsters. Defeat them and freedom and the hand of fair Daphne will be his.

Critical Reaction

The Spectrum gaming press were generally quite pleased with Dragon’s Lair II giving some favourable reviews while the Commodore 64 magazines were extremely impressed with Zzap 64 awarding a Sizzler;

Crash, 83/100 (ZX Spectrum)

The graphics are excellently designed, and there’s always a large range of colours on screen. The screens are well detailed and contain no clashes, while Dirk’s animation is very smooth and realistic. Don’t be put off by the original – Dragon’s Lair II is much more addictive, and a hundred times more playable…

…The programmers’ defects really make themselves noticeable on the 128/+2. There are nine pieces of music, which would be excellent in their own right, but unfortunately they corrupt and change speed with the game…

Your Sinclair, 8/10 (ZX Spectrum)

The graphics are beautifully designed and make the game a joy to play as you flip from screen to screen, even if it does tax every brain and joystick waggling muscle you possess. It’s addictive too, and if you enjoyed Dragon’s Lair, you now have the chance to delve further into this realm.

Zzap 64 90/100 (Commodore 64)

I wasn’t looking forward to this at all, I didn’t think much of Dragons Lair and sequels are seldom a patch on their predecessors. Happily Dragons Lair II has turned out to be a very good game. However, I’m surprised that there isn’t a little bit more in the way of depth – eight levels aren’t really enough to keep me playing for very long, no matter how hard they are. The graphics are excellent, the attention to detail is commendable and the animation in some of the sections is really good. The music and effects are also brilliant. All in all I’d strongly recommend this – playable and extremely compelling.

My Thoughts

The original Dragon’s Lair arcade game from which this game is based was released in 1983! Wow! I’d seen it around and remember being very impressed by the amazing graphics but I never actually played it. When the home computer conversion of Dragon’s Lair was released in 1986 I was curious to see what it like on my Spectrum….

I never did…

Still a year later in 1987 Dragon’s Lair II was released and I eagerly purchased the game. Wow! I was very surprised by the quality of the music on the title screen it really set the tone for the game which was itself going to prove to be a difficult one to crack. I took me a long time to make any significant progress as the difficulty was set rather high. My favourite levels are the opening two – The River Caves and Boulder Alley.

ZX Spectrum

The River Caves has a stirring but gentle musical piece that completely suits the level and just sounds fantastic. The actual level itself is split into two sections; the first, The Rapids, being a simple task of dodging the rocks by choosing the correct direction for Dirk to travel and in the second you guide Dirk around some moving whirlpools.

Commodore 64

Boulder Alley reminded me of the famous introduction sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy get chased by the huge boulder. It’s quite an intense section as not only are you being relentlessly pursued by a huge boulder you also need to jump holes in the floor and avoid smaller balls that roll from side to side. Quite tricky!!

It was a great game and I could never, even with an infinite lives poke get past the seventh level, the Mystic Mosaic. It drove me round the bend!! Still, it could’ve been worse, it could’ve been the opening level… actually it was on the Amstrad version!

Overall though a great game, it hasn’t aged well though and these days it isn’t as fun to play as it was – perhaps my reactions have gotten slower!

The Music

I have three excellent musical pieces for you. From the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore C64 there is the Title Screen music. Following that there is the Commodore C64 music from the River Caves and Boulder Alley.

ZX Spectrum – Title Screen Music
Commodore C64 – Title Screen Music
Commodore C64 – The River Caves
Commodore C64 – Boulder Alley

About Phendrena

Father, Retro Gamer, PC Gamer.

2 responses »

  1. This was the first game we got on disc when my Dad bought us a C64 disk player. The river caves is the level that always sticks in my head, I don’t think I could get very far but I still loved it.

    Funnily enough the music doesn’t really ring any bells for me at all, even though I really like it! 🙂

    • Phendrena says:

      Rob Hubbard did a great job on the soundtrack – head to lemon64 and you’ll be able to listen to the SID soundtrack in full. Some superb pieces.

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