Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Don Bluth Game Trilogy

About Don Bluth

Many of us in our late 20’s to early 40’s are very familiar with the name Don Bluth.  He started his career working for the Walt Disney Studios as an animator.  He didn’t start making a name for himself until shortly after Walt Disney died in 1966.  After such a sad event for the company, Bluth was granted the opportunity to directed several animated films such as “The Rescuers” and “Pete’s Dragon”.  During the 70’s ,the quality of Disney animation was dropping and there were fears that the Disney Studios might shut down.  As a result several artist including Bluth went on and created their own company called Don Bluth Productions.  As an animation house they went on and created many of the 1980’s and early 1990’s animated classics we all still recognize such as “Secret of NIMH”, “An American Tail”, “All Dogs Go to Heaven”, "We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story", lets not forget that never ending series “Land Before Time”, and his final major project in (2000) “Titan AE”.  

Bluth's Game Ventures

What a lot of people forget is that Bluth also pioneered into the world of video games for several platforms in the 1980’s.  The most memorable ones are “Dragon’s Lair” (1983), “Space Ace” (1983), “Dragon’s Lair II: Timewarp” (1991).

Through the years, these games have been release and re-release in several platforms.  In each released the gameplay was extremely frustrating as you play along a non linear storyline that had questionable reaction to the controllers.  However regardless of how frustrating this made players, these games hold a special place in our lives.  In fact its influence is so epic, that these games have come back in a modern gaming platform known as the Apple iOS systems for our iPhones and iPads.

You may ask yourself what company would be brave enough to tackle such an iconic a frustrating game? Well; none other than EA Games, w
ho else.

 Dragon’s Lair


When you first see the game on the trailer (back then or now) it looks like a movie and you wonder what the game is like. The game play features a sequence of arrows you have to hit with your controller in order to make it through the dark castle to rescue the princess. I compare it to a torture version of the Simon game with gorgeous visuals. The sad part is that at times you know you have hit your controller at the right moment but you still die over and over again.  Most of us witness more epic deaths than epic progress but luckily the animation is good and funny.  After a while, people who are dedicated to play this game develop a list of favorites death scenes.  

As bad as the game play is you will be amazed that is has been released in Arcade form, Sega CD, CD-i, Game Boy Color, NES, PC, DVD, HD DVD, Blu Ray Disk, Playstation Network for PS3 and PSP, Nintendo Wii, DSWare, and iPhone and iPads.  You will also be amazed to know that there’s a second game to this series. So I guess the fans do love punishment.  

Dragons Lair app is available at the Apple's App Store for only $0.99. Shortly after opening the app you will realized that nothing has changed. This includes the poor maneuvering, the confusing game play but with the awesome death scenes that taunt you in your tiny iPhone screen, you'll continue to play it over and over again.

Dragons Lair App

Drgons Lair Comic Book App
This is also available to download for free, however the app comes with one free comic, but you have to pay $1.99 for the other comics.

 Space Ace

So imagine you just picked up not just one but maybe two next generation games including this golden oldie called Space Ace.  Both  “Dragons Lair” and “Space Ace” were released in the same year trying to market on this new technology.  Sadly, because they were both developed around the same time, the technology did not get any better. They simply carried the same problems over to another game. So yes, this game is equally frustrating but it’s also a classic.

Just like it’s predecessor the game has been release multiple times
as well. This game has been released in Arcade form, 3DO, Amiga, Apple IIGS, CD- i, Jaguar CD, PC, Atari ST, Sega CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, Wii, DSiWare, iPhone,and  PS3.  This game makes it part of the Don Bluth Trilogy games.

Unlike Dragons Lair that only cost you $1,  Space Ace will cost you a few more bucks.  At the App Store you are looking at around $4.99 for the game, but you will have the same fun frustrating time you had the first time you played it with a joystick.

Space Ace

If the App experience is not your cup of tea, keep in mind you can picked up all three of the games for the Wii so you can enjoy it with not just yourself but also taking turns with the family.  

Article by Ana Bruja-Khayos

1 comment:

  1. I gotta get this. I wish they would have included Badlands and Cliffhanger. Although Cliffhanger was actually cut scenes from random Lupin the 3rd episodes. As a kid all of these LaserDisc games were awesome!