Dateline : 23rd November 2011


Well the good stuff didn’t last as RetroBear plays one of the biggest steaming piles of cow dung ever released on the Super Nintendo. The question is why did anyone really both trying to convert a game so shallow as this ?


Well the box looks nice I suppose, but its all downhill when you open it

Do you remember laser discs ? Now that is a fair slice of retro history right there. This was meant to be the technology that revolutionised how we watched movies in our own home, with the chance to have almost cinema quality picture and full channel stereo sound blasting us out of our armchairs. Those in the know say that this was a technology that should have succeeded if only for one small, tiny problem : the laser disc players were the most unreliable piece of machinery that was ever produced.


No bother that you could have the most incredible version of Star Wars or Jurassic Park thundering out of your TV. If your player was throwing a wobbler there was no chance of getting anything out of it. All too soon laser discs lost out to the already established VHS market and, before they had a chance to improve, the DVD came along and did what laser discs should have done in the first place. Gamers though also had their own slice of good fortune when Don Bluth, and ex-Disney studio animator, and his Bluth Studios decided to not only make an arcade game with high quality cartoon graphics but also stick it on laser disc.


Sadly these machines were as unreliable as their home counterparts. Too often machines broke down awaiting repair and at the time charging you £1.00 a go when the average game would give you 3 credits for 50p was extortionate. The games produced, Dragons Lair : Escape From Singe’s Castle, Dragons Lair 2 : Timewarp and Space Ace, were some of the most simple ever made. All you had to do was move the joystick or press the fire button at the right time to move to the next screen. Basically you were playing a cartoon with interaction, and limited interaction at that. You couldn’t fault how the games looked and sounded, but as playing experience it was like being hit with a wet lettuce over again and having someone nick a quid from your pocket for the privilege.


Whilst it all looks very nice it cannot compare to the arcade original in any way shape or form


Some bright spark thought it would be fun to secure the rights to the home conversions and try and make some money. When the third game in the series, Space Ace, was released it had a whopping 9 discs for the 16 bit versions. How on earth could you fit all the tech into one small tape ? Well you couldn’t and anyone expecting a similar experience to the arcade game was living in cloud cuckoo land. Finally, Escape From Singes Castle arrived on the SNES and what a disaster it was.


Rather than make any attempt to recreate the arcade game, the SNES version like the NES one was turned into a side scrolling platform game (The Angry Video Game Nerd has done a pretty scathing review of the NES version). Whilst there is no doubt the game has some nice colourful graphics the fun ends there, when you realise the whole game moves like a slug in treacle with a brick tied to its back. The controls are amongst some of the most unresponsive I have ever experienced, switching from incredibly twitchy to sluggish to just damned unresponsive with each flick of the joypad.


You don’t get any joy from this game at all. It might have been prudent to try and do a straight conversion with the obvious graphical limitations, but when the original has little or no game play in the first place, it makes you wonder why this wasn’t left in the dust covered memories of the past. You might give some small applause for the effort but when platform games are ten-a-penny and as bad as this it really doesn’t bear thinking about. You can now play both Escape From Singes Castle and Dragons Lair 2 via your PS3 should you wish to download them. It must be added that after all these years it’s a straight conversion and as such all you have to do is move the pad or press the button at the right time. Yawn. That’s now like being hit in the face with a case of wet lettuces whilst someone takes £8.00 from your pocket. No thank you.


It is hard to tell whether the game is moving or whether it is a trick of the eye


Dragons Lair at least holds a place in games history for trying to do something technologically advanced. Unfortunately either someone was very greedy or someone simply didn’t think it through properly. Make up your own minds, I’m off to play Asteroids instead.


VERDICT : Hopeless controls and a game speed to rival the 100m final of the snail olympics, this is not recommended at all unless you are a fan of masochism.


NOTES : For those of you who don’t wish to heed my advice you can buy a copy for £2.39 on Amazon whilst you’ll have to pay an insane £4.00 for a loose cart version on eBay.


UP NEXT : Horror of horrors – Footballer Of The Year on the Commodore C16+4