Dragon’s Lair, Atari ST

Released for the Atari ST, Amiga, Mac, and DOS, ReadySoft‘s 1990 adaptation of Don Bluth‘s classic laserdisc arcade game Dragon’s Lair relied on a small army of artists to painstakingly convert the video frames into 2D hand-drawn art, which was done for the entire game.

And that hand-drawn 2D artwork would then be animated at I don’t know how many frames per second (it’s not 25, or 30 or 60, but somewhere in the region of ten frames per second) for the duration of the game.

Dirk the Daring‘s controls are the same as in the arcade game: up, down, left, right, and fire (which can be jump or any number of other actions), and Dragon’s Lair is a memory and reaction game where you must defeat a number of traps and enemies by issuing joystick commands at the right moments.

These 2D drawn artwork ports of Dragon’s Lair are fascinating because the translation to clean-lined almost rotoscoped artwork works extremely well and gives a better result than simply digitising the original video and using that instead. It’s obvious that a lot of work went into producing these 2D ports. The artists did a significant amount of hand/eye work on frames, rather than relying on automation, and you can tell just by looking at the screenshots in this article.

The game came on a significant number of floppy disks (as this was before the CD-ROM era began) and was split into two parts. The second part was released as Escape From Singe’s Castle in the same year, also for Atari ST, Amiga, DOS and Macintosh, and used the same 2D graphical art technique.

More: Dragon’s Lair (1990) on Wikipedia

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