Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair is an action-adventure video game released in 2002 by Dragonstone Software. The game is based on Cinematronics' 1983 laserdisc arcade game Dragon's Lair, and follows a similar story; the hero, Dirk the Daring, must enter the evil wizard Mordroc's castle to rescue Princess Daphne from a dragon. Many of the characters and locations from the 1983 original make appearances in the game, along with new puzzles, rooms and enemies. Animator and director Don Bluth, who produced the cartoon animation for the arcade original, also produced two new animated sequences for the opening and ending of the game. The game uses cel shading to mimic the distinctive style of the original.
The game is the first in the series to host non-restricted movement for the player. A mostly linear exploration of the castle is broken up with boss fights, many of which are characters from the original arcade game, but not all. Many of the rooms seen in the original are seen again, though some are modified. New mechanics are introduced by the Dragon Essences that grant new powers. Health and Mana meters are also introduced and can be given upgrades throughout the game. A crossbow is also introduced and is used as an alternative weapon and resourceful object for puzzles. Treasure is also brought into the game to act as rewards for going through optional challenges to reach them, though they do not give anything to the player except a higher count of treasure.
The story starts as the princess Daphne is captured by the dragon named Singe commanded by the wizard Mordrock. Dirk sees this as he is riding his horse, Bertram, and unsuccessfully tries to rescue her. Daphne is taken through a portal, but leaves behind an amulet that allows her to talk to Dirk as he works his way through the castle withholding her. Daphne explains to dirk how the wizard is powerful and would be undefeatable without the help of the Essences: magical objects that grant their users abilities and are each guarded by the strongest beings in the castle. Dirk manages to find the princess and goes into battle with Singe, largely mirroring the original arcade's version of the fight. As the knight walks away with the princess in his arms, he notices a different reflection in a nearby crytstal and drops her to find that she is really a dark alter-ego version of himself in disguise. The evil Dirk laughs at the hero for almost falling for his trap and goes on to explain how he is one of the beings holding an essence and that long ago, those who held the essences grew greedy, thus a civil war between the forces broke out. Dirk defeats the alter-ego and goes onto gather the rest of the essences, but as he gains a magical set of arrows that are capable of dispatching the wizard, Daphne begins to chastice Dirk for picking them up. Soon after, it is revealed that the Daphne speaking to Dirk up to this point was Mordrock impersonating her. Nevertheless, Dirk travels to where the princess is held captive and duels the wizard, who transforms into a dragon. Ultimately, he is defeatedby the magical arrows and the knight saves the princess.
|GameRankings|| Xbox: 67.4% (43 reviews) |
PC: 63.3% (17 reviews) 
GC: 61.4% (20 reviews) 
|Metacritic|| GC: 65% (20 reviews) |
Xbox: 62% (27 reviews) 
PC: 61% (13 reviews)
|GameSpot|| 5.1 / 10 |
PC: 5.3 / 10 
|IGN|| Xbox: 7.8 / 10 |
PC: 7.4 / 10 
GC: 6.8 / 10 
- ↑ Aggregate score for Xbox at Game Rankings.
- ↑ Aggregate score for Windows at Game Rankings.
- ↑ Aggregate score for GameCube at Game Rankings.
- ↑ Aggregate score for GameCube at Metacritic.
- ↑ Aggregate score Xbox at Metacritic.
- ↑ Aggregate score for Windows at Metacritic.
- ↑ GameCube review at GameSpot.
- ↑ Xbox review at GameSpot.
- ↑ Windows review at GameSpot.
- ↑ GameCube review at GameSpy.
- ↑ Xbox review at GameSpy.
- ↑ Windows review at GameSpy.
- ↑ Xbox review at IGN.
- ↑ Windows review at IGN.
- ↑ GameCube review at IGN.
- 'Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair' at MobyGames
- Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair at Giant Bomb