I’ll be the first to admit that I've only played Dragon's Lair maybe once or twice. While I appreciate the legacy left by this game and its exceptional animation from the legendary Don Bluth, I’ve never felt the urge to play it whenever it gets remastered and released on modern platforms simply due to the fact that Dragon's Lair was always meant to be played in an arcade. When New Wave Toys reached out to us to review and test their Dragon's Lair x RepliCade cabinet I was more than happy to give it a shot.
Similar to last year's, Street Fighter 2 X RepliCade I reviewed here, the quality here is beyond what you would expect from a desktop arcade machine. There’s a ton of attention to detail throughout, from the comfortable joystick and button spacing, to the near perfect emulation, its rechargeable battery, and overall premium presentation, it's clear that RepliCade amusements went all out with making sure this cabinet has a premium feeling.
The emulation is top notch and I never felt like I was playing a crappy port of Dragons Lair. Don Bluth's legendary animation looks crisp and clear on the tiny LCD screen, and the game itself controls exactly as it should. One of the biggest surprises here is how comfortable the game's tiny joystick and button layout is. After an hour of dying in the game, I didn’t feel any discomfort or annoyance due to the small form factor here. There’s also a hidden LaserDisc player in the rear tray of the cabinet. I go into more detail on why this is a pretty cool addition and how its part of a much bigger experience RepliCade is delivering with this machine in the video above.
The only real drawback here is the system's HDMI out capabilities. While it's a welcome inclusion—and lets be honest, not why anyone would buy this—the crispness and fidelity of the animation I grew accustomed to from the small screen didn’t translate to my 4K tv whatsoever. The signal is a 4:3 720p image that looked blurred at times and definitely was the less ideal way to play the game. I tried this out on a few monitors and only saw any improvement when hooking the cabinet up to a Flanders Scientific. So unless you’re planning on playing Dragon’s Lair in a color bay anytime soon, the HDMI out option isn’t the best way to go. While the option to play the game on a bigger monitor is cool, there are much better ways to do this.
Overall the Dragon’s Lair X RepliCade arcade cabinet is absolutely worth the cost. The almost surgical attention to detail here sets this arcade machine well above the competition and makes for a great addition to any desk or office setting. The emulation and gameplay experience is top notch, and aside from the one drawback concerning its video out capabilities, it's hard to really find anything wrong here. If you’re a fan of Dragon’s Lair, arcades, or are just looking for something interesting and cool to add to your desk/office/game room/wherever, this is definitely worth looking into.
You can get one here.
A Dragon’s Lair X RepliCade was provided by its manufacture New Wave Toys for Techraptor to review.