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Dragon's Lair becomes even more linear on the DS


United Coders sent out a press release aimed at soliciting publishers for the PSP version of Dragon's Lair, and revealed some details about the identical-in-gameplay DS version in so doing. Since we didn't know anything about the game other than that it's Dragon's Lair, we were happy to see some specifics.

The Director's Cut mode adds the drawbridge sequence that didn't make it into the original arcade game, but has been found in most home releases since then. It also removes the score counter from the game and increases the number of lives. But more interestingly, the Director's Cut changes the level structure of the game into a more linear one. The original Dragon's Lair levels were presented in a semi-random order, with each level selected from a small pool of potential choices. The Director's Cut follows a prescribed level order designed by Technical Producer Dave Hallock. There's also a scrolling display of your progress

In the NeoGAF discussion thread, we also found a link to videos taken by a beta tester on the game. Some HUD elements have been added since the last video. the Director's Cut is not shown, but the Arcade Mode footage looks fantastic, with the arcade-accurate LED score counter and everything. It is unknown whether the bizarre dual-screen view option is still around.

Check after the break for, oddly enough, the PSP press release.

Dragon's Lair® Up For Grabs On Sony PSP!


Dragon's Lair®, the world's first full-animation laser disc video game - debuted in 1983. The game features Dirk the Daring, a rather clumsy knight that must make his way through the castle of an evil wizard to save the beautiful Princess Daphne. The game's visionary team of creators (Don Bluth, Rick Dyer, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy and Chris Stone) was astounded by the public's overwhelming enthusiasm and witnessed lines as long as several city blocks as people of all ages waited to play the game. Currently, Dragon's Lair® is one of only three games on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution (the other two are Pac Man and Pong).

United Coders, developers of the Nintendo DS version of the game, are currently putting the final touches to the Nintendo DS version, and is currently seeking a publisher for a version of the game on the Sony PSP. In exchange for funding the development and intellectual property cost of Dragon's Lair® for Sony PSP, the publisher will be granted the global publishing rights for the format. United Coders expect to begin development of Dragon's Lair® for Sony PSP in February with a release date of Christmas 2008 on the platform.

The story of Dragon's Lair® is classic: "Dragon's Lair®: The fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight, on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. You control the actions of a daring adventurer, finding his way through the castle of a dark wizard, who has enchanted it with treacherous monsters and obstacles. In the mysterious caverns below the castle, your odyssey continues against the awesome forces that oppose your efforts to reach the Dragon's Lair. Lead on, adventurer. Your quest awaits!"

According to Hans Olsen, the Executive Producer and Lead Programmer on Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, the PSP version will feature – like the Nintendo DS version, two distinct modes of play:

"From a players perspective you can choose to play an arcade accurate version simply called Arcade mode, or you can opt to play the more unique Director's Cut mode. The Arcade mode is exactly what its name implies; a genuine arcade accurate version of the 1983 arcade game with LEDs for scores, featuring the same semi-randomness of the scenes being played. The Arcade mode was implemented to maintain the current hardcore fan base of Dragon's Lair®, which is quite large in numbers, and naturally also because never before has there been an arcade accurate version on any handheld.

The Director's Cut mode is very different. One difference is that the Director's Cut mode features 5 lives instead of the typical 3 lives for Arcade mode. Another difference is that Director's Cut mode features extra scenes, such as a scene where Dirk the daring has to cross a drawbridge and avoid getting killed by tentacles. This video footage existed in 1983 but was never used in the North American version, only in the European version of the arcade. In Director's Cut mode, this is always the very first scene you play, as it gives a nice introduction to the player beginning the adventure. The laserdisc from 1983 had a lot of video footage that was never made available to the player in 1983. All this extra footage is now available in Director's Cut mode, and the amount is quite substantial.

Another important difference is that back in 1983, the game played somewhat "semi-random"; some scenes, such as the falling platform, was played no less than 4 times during a single game play session! To new players who has never played Dragon's Lair® before, it's highly confusing that you need to play the same sequence over and over again, and unlike Arcade mode, the Director's Cut mode is based on a more linear adventure approach where the scenes are not really played semi-random, but rather in a specific sequence carefully conceived and invented by our Technical Producer, Dave Hallock, who is, without doubt, the worlds leading expert on Dragon's Lair®. Dave Hallock is also one of the few people who has ever reversed engineered the original ROMs, and improved flaws in the original game from 1983. But this is only the beginning! In addition to an extra scene, more video footage, more lives, and more logical scene sequencing, the Director's Cut mode also features a unique scrolling castle showing new players how they are currently progressing throughout the adventure to save princess Daphne.

In Director's Cut mode, you don't play to achieve the highest score; scores doesn't exist in Director's Cut mode! You play to save the princess, and the game play experience for a player who has never played Dragon's Lair® before will love the unique Director's Cut mode. In Arcade mode you have the old-school audio effects, while in Director's Cut mode we have added more "modern" audio effects to the game. Director's Cut mode is also the only mode featuring the unique Sony PSP features. To summarize, the Arcade mode is for the hardcore fan who wants to play the game from 1983 – unedited from 1983. Director's Cut mode is aimed at new players more familiar with the Sony PSP as a handheld, but no prior experience to Dragon's Lair®, who seeks an arcade adventure experience featuring fantastic visuals and unique controlling mechanisms ", Olsen concludes.

[Via NeoGAF, GamesPress]

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