You'll be seeing scenes like this, a lot
The option to use Kinect does help. The game remains essentially the same, but rather than prompting to go left, right etc. you move in that direction or grab for the rope. However, the implementation of the Kinect sensor is so loose that it often triggers the animation for you anyway – thanks Kinect you make even Hard easier! Before plugging in your Kinect you may have been asking yourself where is the co-op? That’s because the option only becomes available with Kinect and a new option pops up once you are plugged in, slightly confusing.
With the Kinect the co-op finally comes into play; after one player finishes a room/dies the other jumps into their spot and tackles the next puzzle. This does add a little to the enjoyment of the game, but seeing as you are never working at the same time it does not feel like true co-op. Some of the rooms are also very short; you have just sat down, only to be told to stand back up again. A holding screen is used in the game as you and your partner shuffle into position, this is a nice addition, but it does slow the game down as you have to use the Kinect option to start the next scene, clunky. A side by side mode; or a couple of Dirks would have made it more inclusive, instead the game is essentially the 1980s experience exact. Why this co-op experience is Kinect only is a mystery, although the co-op may be limited in entertainment, controller based players should have been given the option to tackle the challenges in turn as well.
The final option to diversify the gameplay is the playmode; either a linear game, or a random set of levels. An odd option as the random mode just feels strange, but at least you get to see more of the rooms. The rooms themselves still look good, but in a Bluth 80s way. Once crisp visuals are now jagged when compared with the HD animation of today. The game looks like it was transferred directly from laserdisc to XBLA without any touch ups.
The flaws with the game are not down to any sense of single player antics or co-op, both are near identical. You could easily play the game in ‘single’ player and choose to play it co-op by alternating lives, this is essentially the same thing as the ‘co-op’ experience. The flaws are with the fact Dragon’s Lair has been so faithfully adapted. This is a 30 year old game that has not changed one bit – no additions have been added to create a fresh co-op experience, the Kinect option feels crow barred in for a bullet point on the box. The Kinect inclusion is the only USP of the XBLA version, but even this is not implemented well enough to warrant 800 MSPs.
The Co-Op Experience: Play the classic Dragon's Lair in co-op (ish). One player takes control of Dirk using Kinect and when they lose their life the other player jumps in for a second chance. While the main game supports traditional controls, multiplayer specifically requires the Kinect.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.