Video Game: Dragon's Lair
Yes, it's doubtful a princess would dress like that. Call it a "self motivator."
"Dragon's Lair: The fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight, on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. You control the actions of a daring adventurer, finding his way through the castle of a dark wizard, who has enchanted it with treacherous monsters and obstacles. In the mysterious caverns below the castle, your odyssey continues against the awesome forces that oppose your efforts to reach the Dragon's Lair. Lead on, adventurer. Your quest awaits!"
— Attract mode from Dragon's Lair
Still known as a classic to this day, Dragon's Lair
was the first arcade game that utilized LaserDisc
technology to provide an entirely new gaming experience... back in 1983
, at least. Rick Dyer and Don Bluth
basically created an entire animated world that was placed on a laserdisc, and animated progress screens, death scenes and the like played according to what direction you, as the player, moved via the joystick and "Sword" button.
Your role was Dirk the Daring, a brave yet still reluctant knight in medieval England whose goal was to save Princess Daphne
from the clutches of Singe the Dragonnote
. Although Bluth played it straight for the most part in order to give it the feel of games of the era, the characters all were somewhat on the cartoony side, as Dirk had the look of a gallant knight, but was somewhat of an average joe Comedic Hero
who would get freaked out upon seeing the random Nightmare Fuel
-type creatures and enemies he'd encounter within the castle in order to save princess "Daphne" (modeled from Playboy
pin-ups) from the dragon Singe.
The game itself has garnered a place in the Smithsonian Institution, and has had umpteen versions of home consoles, PC systems, smartphones and even homemade hacks adding further scenes and adventures. It also had an Animated Adaptation
, courtesy of Ruby-Spears.
The game (along with its sci-fi counterpart Space Ace
, as well as the sequel) was well-known for dozens of death scenes, all of which were unique to a given scenario. The cartoon included a variation by offering Dirk a choice of actions before each commercial, and showing what would have happened to him if he had made the wrong one in the next scene.
Even though it is the Trope Maker
for Action Commands
and Press X to Not Die
, its common place among gamers may set them off. This is still probably better than every other FMV game ever made, though - save for those that followed this gameplay formula (like the aforementioned Space Ace
, and Taito's Time Gal
A movie was announced (and even storyboarded), but has languished in Development Hell
for years. Bluth and Goldman are still trying to raise funds for it to this day. There's also a six-issue comic that's based on the game, but also incorporates elements from the cartoon series (such as Dirk's horse, Bertram).
It should be noted that Dragon's Lair was not the first laserdisc game ever made (that honor belongs to a Horse Racing
game called Quarter-Horse), but was the one that started it all. It was also the first ever arcade game to (initially) cost 50 cents (i.e., two quarters) to play.
Now available on Steam
Dragon's Lair contains examples of the following:
- Action Commands/Press X to Not Die: Pretty much the Trope Maker and Ur Example.
- Only it didn't even tell you what to press or when (though it did have the occasional flashing hint).
- Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp on the other hand had every possible correct move flashing (including the treasures that needed to be collected).
- Action Girl: In the comics, Daphne is this. Yes, Singe captures her, but he has to work at it, and she and Dirk were hugely overmatched.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: Whether they be crumbling bridges, encroaching acid blobs or electrified floors, Dirk is almost always being chased by something.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Stages are sometimes mirrored, and Dirk is either right or left handed depending on the mirror.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The home ports of the game often come with the option of having what button you need to press at what time displayed on default so as not to confuse newcomers—fortunately, the option to turn these off also exist for hardcore Dragon's Lair gamers.
- Animated Music Video/Machinima: "He's My Guy," sung by Julie Eisenhower playing Daphne's singing voice.
- Astral Checkerboard Decor: Dirk has to jump from square to square on an electrified chessboard to keep the bad knight from electrocuting him.
- Attack of the Monster Appendage: One of the first rooms you visit is slowly filled by the green tentacles of an unseen monster from upstairs.
- Badass Normal: Dirk the Daring. He has none of the magical, elemental or lethal weapons or abilities of the many, many monsters and villains he encounters in the games, armed only with a sword and his wits, yet goes through all of his adventures with virtually that alone.
- Bat out of Hell: The Bat King.
- Big Bad: Singe the Dragon.
- Bloodless Carnage: Most monsters simply vanish into thin air when slain by Dirk's sword. The best death scene that doesn't involve Dirk would be Singe, and there's still no blood here.
- Boss Arena Idiocy: Singe actually keeps the sword that is able to kill him in the Treasure Room where he sleeps, and he either told Daphne about it or let her find out about it some way. (Of course, that only makes him an idiot as far as the storyline goes; gameplay wise, knowing this information and actually grabbing the sword and using it right before Singe toasts Dirk medium rare are two different things.)
- Butt Monkey: Dirk.
- Combat Tentacles: In one room lots of green tentacles will fall from the ceiling in order to trap Dirk.
- Cowardly Lion: This describes Dirk to a tee, yet it doesn't mean he's any less deadly with that sword.
- Damsel in Distress: Princess Daphne.
- Dirty Old Man: In the 3D Remake's ending, Mordac zaps Princess Daphne in the butt. It doesn't seem to do much more than startle her, but Mordac seems to ...rather enjoy it.
- The Ditz: Daphne (Of course, Dirk isn't very smart either, so it evens out.) Played straight mostly, except when she tells Dirk what to do: She knows where the key is and how to defeat the dragon. Daphne also knows that the sword has magical powers. This Ditz is definitely smarter than she looks...
- Dragon Hoard: Singe owns a hoard in a treasure room.
- Dragons Prefer Princesses: The player's mission is to save Princess Daphne from a dragon.
- Dummied Out: Dragon's Lair didn't initially have the "only one way to beat the scene" scheme (the thing which was averted in Space Ace later): it indeed included more exits and versions of the same scene. Not even that, it included completely different revival and game over scenes! Of course, all that was redummied back into the game with the release of 20th Anniversary Edition, yet in a really, really VHSish quality compared to the main game.
- In a earlier version of the game's attract mode, there was a clip where a gargoyle is tossing a spear at Dirk. This was from a scene that was ultimately never finished. It got remade and was added into the 20th Anniversary Edition.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: In the NES port, you die if you walk into a door, A FREAKIN' DOOR. Dirk doesn't just die, he changes to a pile of bones,note from a door.
- Excuse Plot: Why did this dragon kidnap Daphne? Dragons like to kidnap princesses. Why is Dirk trying to rescue her? Knights always rescue princesses from dragons. Need more than that? Didn't think so. (Although, both the comic book and animated adaptations gave Singe a little more motivation.)
- Fake Difficulty: Ooooh boy... the NES version is probably the worst. Every single subtrope can be listed. The dedicated episode of Joueur du Grenier (in French) shows large portions of the pain the player has to endure.
- Fate Worse Than Death: If he makes the wrong moves, Dirk can be shut into a sarcophagus by ghosts or locked into a tiny alcove by a gate (in both cases, he probably dies slowly of starvation).
- Giant Spider: One appears in a room where he tries to jump on Dirk's face to bite his neck.
- Going in Circles: Zigzagged. Dirk has to go through a lot of areas twice, but there's always a subtle difference to getting through it the second time. (Like going left where he went right the first time.)
- Gory Discretion Shot: Some of the death animations cut to Dirk's sword or helmet hitting the ground rather than showing what actually happened.
- Heroic Mime: Dirk, for the most part. He only ever says three words, two in the first game and one in the second. In Dragon's Lair he says, "Uh oh!" during the flaming ropes scene, and "Wooooooooooooooooooooow!" upon seeing Daphne, and "D-Daphne? Yahoo!" when finally rescuing her in Dragon's Lair II.
- Hollywood Drowning: Certain Game Over sequences involve this happening to Dirk.
- Impact Silhouette: One death in the Smithy scene has an anvil hitting Dirk square in the torso causing him and the anvil to crash through the wall behind him. This leaves a Dirk+anvil shaped hole.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The magic sword which can kill Singe.
- Iris Out: The game over sequences.
- Literally Shattered Lives: One death scene in the Flying Barding level has Dirk and the barding literally shattered when hitting a wall.
- Living Statue: The Smithy qualifies as one.
- Magma Man: In the Lethal Lava Land section some fat, humming... humanoids made of red lava will jump out of the craters and go after Dirk. If they catch him they jump with him in a nearby crater, turning him into one of them.
- The Many Deaths of You: Indeed so much so you actually will purposely kill Dirk just to see how he'll bite it. Wanna see?
- Nintendo Hard
- No Name Given: Singe the Dragon, the villain, is not named in the actual game—that would be given to him later in follow-up material.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: In all versions of the game, excluding the NES version. Unless Dirk catches fire, which will kill him in just one touch, of course.
- About the NES version... you have 11 hit points, but there are very, VERY few enemies in the game that deal less than 11 damage per hit.
- Averted in the 3D remake; Dirk actually has a health bar in that game.
- It's also played straight by the enemies: Almost all of them, including the big bad Black Knight, the giant Bat King and the skeletal Crypt Keepers will get vanquished in a single sword strike.
- Press Start To Game Over: You could lose all your lives in a hurry.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Not only is the Lizard King abhorrent, he fights dirty. He attacks Dirk after a magic anvil snatches Dirk's sword and flies away with it, meaning you have to dodge his attacks while chasing down the sword, and can only get a shot at him when you recover it. Not as easy as it sounds, and when you manage to kill this guy, you're gonna feel as good as Dirk seem to, judging from his expression.
- Scare Chord: The game over screen.
- Schmuck Bait: One room is nothing but a table with a potion on it labeled "Drink Me". In a castle where every single inanimate object has been magically enchanted to kill you.
- Interesting fact: if you lose all your lives on this scene, the table will have a loaf of bread instead of the potion and the sign will say "Eat Me". Which still counts as a Schmuck Bait.
- Even more interesting fact: Losing your final life in this scene in the Xbox 360 and Steam versions gives you the "Eat Me" achievement.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Some of Dirk's screams are pretty high-pitched.
- Society Marches On: The original developers of this game admitted in a 2012 interview that they would likely never get away with portraying Daphne as the airhead she appeared to be here in today's video game market.
- Speed Run: Well, it's almost impossible, but if you can complete this game without being killed even once, while timing yourself, you'd find the total gamescore is just under thirteen minutes, amazingly enough.
- Stepford Smiler: Maybe Daphne is a little overconfident or just trying to Think Happy Thoughts when Dirk finds her. Whatever the case, she doesn't seem to be frightened in the least, even though she's eager for him to get her out.
- Stripped to the Bone: In the NES version, many enemies and obstacles (and DOORS!) do this to Dirk regardless of the HP meter.
- The Game Over sequence in the arcade original (but not the sequel).
- Stripperiffic: Daphne.
- Lampshaded in the comic: Singe has a legion of maidens he's transformed into vain bubbleheads who all dress like that, and Daphne just happens to be his latest acquisition. She does seem embarrassed about it and as they ride away at the end she's wearing a robe over it.
- Treasure Room: The final room.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: When an action doesn't have a preceding cue. Also applies to the Commodore 64 port.
- Updated Re-release: Oh boy, where to begin... Considerably, EVERY "direct-to-video" port was superior to the arcade original in the sense of having new scenes. Of course, it can't be compared with Dragon's Lair 20th Anniversary Edition which not only does includes loads and loads of bonus material, but also loads and loads of Dummied Out scenes. Escape From Singe's Castle for Amiga also has completely new scenes which are... Oh come ON, may anyone trace these for the new release already?!
- Yet Another Stupid Death: The direct-to-arcade versions indeed do qualify, but the NES port takes it to new heights. The castle door that kills Dirk instantly should only he contact with it? Everything's trying to kill you indeed.
- In the PAL Super NES version, you can even die in the password screen.
Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp contains examples of the following:
- Abhorrent Admirer: A section of The Garden of Eden involves escaping a morbidly obese Eve who thinks Dirk is Adam.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Daphne. She must be made of rubber. Look at the number of children they had. Look at Daphne's figure. The woman makes babies like popcorn (justified, given her looks and lack of birth control) and never loses it. She (and Dirk, granted) doesn't age a year, despite some of the kids◊ looking like they're 6-8, or possibly even teenaged. It's good to be a toon.
- Alice in Wonderland: The third stage.
- Ancient Egypt: Level 6.
- And Call Him George: Failing to dodge Eve causes Dirk to be hugged to death.
- Apocalypse Wow: The fall of Garden of Eden after Eve eats the apple near the end of Level 4.
- Artifact of Doom: The Death Ring, the one inside The Casket of Doom.
- Artifact Title: Cameo of Singe's bones aside, the eponymous Dragon's Lair only appears briefly in the opening sequence, and the plot otherwise involves sci-fi fantasy and time travel elements, and a wizard for a villain.
- Baleful Polymorph: If Dirk gets hit by one of the flying playing cards, he'll turn into a "Joker" playing card.
- Band Land: The second half of the Beethoven level.
- Big Bad: Mordroc the wizard.
- Big "Shut Up!": Near the end of Level 1 Dirk tangles with the Loch Ness Monster in Singe's old lair, who keeps shouting "Thief!" at him. After Dirk escapes in the time machine, Nessie yells "Thief!" to Daphne's mother Hilda who responds "Oh, shut up!" and hits him with a rolling pin.
- Book of Genesis: The entirety of Level 4 seems to be the first three chapters of this, combined with a bit of Faux Symbolism.
- Boss Banter: Mordroc seems to enjoy calling you "Fool" at every chance he gets.
- Brawn Hilda: Daphne's mother. She even wears a Viking helmet.
- Cats Are Mean: One is the Cheshire Cat. Another is Beethoven's cat. Both wanna eat Dirk badly and do a sweet, sweet crunch when they do.
- Colour Coded Timestop: The first time you grab one of the treasures in the Re Cut Edition.
- Concealment Equals Cover: Parodied in Level 5, when Dirk uses the giant flying violin as a shield against the music note bullets coming at him and getting deflected off the violin.
- Continuity Nod: During the first level you run in the old castle from the first game and in the treasure room you can see Singe's skeleton and even his golden key.
- In that same level, not only do you find Singe's skeleton and golden key, but also the Bouncing Skulls with a death scene that is like Dragon's Lair.
- Crazy People Play Chess: The second quarter of Level 3.
- Darker and Edgier: Even the attract mode clearly shows us that, well, the landscapes' brightness of the sequel has been decreased compared to the original Dragon's Lair. Still, it manages to couple it with purely insane things going on the screen. Can you say it isn't Tim Burton-esque at some points?
- Deranged Animation: The Alice in Wonderland sequence which makes the original look tame in comparison.
- The scene where Beethoven plays a piano and a giant cat (likely because you're shrunk in this scene), tries to eat you. Doesn't qualify yet. Just watching from there, the piano levitates, Beethoven briefly turns into a blonde version of himself wearing piano style clothing, violins fly out of the piano, the cat gets more purple in tone (as well as bigger), grows horns and breathes fire, musical notes attack you, you have to walk on a hovering piano key walkway and Beethoven's coat catches on fire. Definitely qualifies!
- Dinner Deformation: The giant snakes and a huge spider near the beginning.
- Dirty Kid: In the Eden level, the Cherubs—who look no older than kindergartners—seem a little too interested in climbing around on Dirk, tickling him, and holding him down and spanking him.
- Disguised in Drag: Though unintentionally, Tweedledee and Tweedledum dress Dirk up as Alice in Level 3.
- Disney Acid Sequence: While Stage 3 was trippy enough to begin with, it completely spirals into chaos following the appearance of the Jabberwock. Stage 5 starts normally enough, but Beethoven's "creative gust" quickly turns it into one of these.
- Dummied Out: The Pirate Ship. In the ending scene when Dirk is emptying his bag full of treasures a jolly roger flag is visible among them.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: In the first game, it made sense due to every creature in the castle being a murderous demonic thing, but in the sequel, even the characters that are not overtly malicious can still take you to your grave.
- Expository Hairstyles: All of Dirk and Daphne's children have most of these:
- Odango Hair: Two of the girls have these hair buns that are kind of an expy of Princess Leia's hairstyle from Star Wars.
- Girlish Pigtails: Two other girls have these.
- '70s Hair: All of the boys seem to have the same short hairstyle, be they large or small.
- Extreme Omnivore: Eve attempts to eat Dirk and then contentedly eats the flower Dirk puts in front of her.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Mordroc explodes in both endings.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The exterior of the Garden of Eden.
- Gag Nose: Mordroc's nose, so long that it has even a sort of tiny tree branch protruding from it.
- Giant Spider: Several in the Egyptian level, including humongous beetles.
- Also one near the game's starting point.
- Gold-Colored Superiority: All the bonus items appear to be made of gold, except for the Ace of Spades.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen of Hearts, of course, and logically, Daphne's mother.
- Happily Married: Dirk and Daphne.
- Heartbroken Badass: Near the end of the game, after Dirk brings Daphne down to normal with the deathly side effect of the Death Ring in the original edition, when he sees her lying in the pedestal bed, he thinks he has failed her or caused her death and gives what he thinks is their Last Kiss and buries his head in grief, all the while using Offhand Backhands on the little imps that repeatedly attack him. Little does he realize that the kiss was actually a True Love's Kiss that has broken the spell while he is fighting off the imps and trying to stay alive by climbing onto crumbling platforms; and when she calls his name, he recovers completely upon seeing her alive and well.
- The Hedge of Thorns: After the fall of Eden, massive thorns sprout up all over the place. If Dirk isn't careful, he may find himself caught between these spiny branches.
- High-Altitude Battle: Dirk spends about half the game hanging onto or falling off things.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Dirk manages to remove the Death Ring from Daphne and toss it back at Mordroc, turning him into a helpless, fat green thing full of greenish bumps. Dirk finishes the sorcerer off by slashing him, exploding as a direct result.
- Hostile Weather: The moment objects fly up through the roof during Level 5.
- How Do You Like Them Apples?: In Level 4, Dirk has to heed the advice of the Purple Snake and lure Eve into temptation with an apple of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (in belief that he would rescue Daphne), all the while fighting off its green snake twin who can't hesitate to devour him. And while in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you have to carefully find the two Golden Apples in this level, which are two of the eleven hidden treasures needed to move on to the final two stages.
- Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Daphne's Mother riding an ox while chasing Dirk early in the game. While the Ox itself is full grown, she is even larger than it!
- Impact Silhouette: In one failure scene of Level 3, Dirk crashes into one of the teapots, leaving behind a Dirk-shaped hole.
- Implausible Boarding Skills: Near the end of Level 3, Dirk the Daring uses one of the playing cards as a surfboard while riding the wave on the ocean of tears and avoiding the Jabberwock and oncoming teapots.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: For some reason, Dirk is the size of a mouse in the Beethoven level.
- Iris Out: As with the previous game, the game over sequences end this way. In the Garden of Eden level, many of the sequences end with a heart-shaped iris out.
- Kaizo Trap: Even after Dirk has defeated the Big Bad, there are still some monsters to fight, some crumbling floors to evade and a pillar you might fly into face-first.
- Well, naturally, Kaizoness begins a bit earlier, on the sixth level. After hours of attempting to beat this game, you find out that you actually weren't as close to mummified Daphne as you would think first.
- Killed Off for Real: The game confirms the death of Singe the Dragon from the previous game, via a cameo of his skeleton in the castle's treasure room.
- Lean and Mean: Mordroc is absolutely skeletal.
- Literally Shattered Lives: Some game over sequences involve Dirk literally shattered when hit.
- Little Black Dress: And a very dark version of Fairytale Wedding Dress, in which a transformed Princess Daphne is wearing along with her black wedding veil (and holding white flowers) in the Narrator's telling of the Bad Future (which is thankfully present only in the intro).
- This also occurs at the beginning of the alternate Level 7, as you can see her only for a few seconds before she suddenly vanishes.
- Magic Dress: When Daphne gets turned into a monster by the Death Ring, her dress grows with her so as to keep her modest at all times.
- Subverted with Mordroc, though, as his transformation has him completely bursting out of his cloak.
- The Many Deaths of You: And they all got batshit crazy.
- There is also a Director's Cut death scene in Level 7, which looks similar to the first death scene in Level 1. In fact, there are a total of 3 Director's Cut death scenes.
- Meaningful Background Event: Both played straight and inverted near the end of the game: while you are fighting off the imps, Daphne slowly wakes up in the background. In the next scene, you can see her stretching out her hands and yawning in the foreground while you control and spend the rest of the background fighting off more imps and jumping onto crumbling platforms, oblivious to her awakening.
- Mind Screw: Any level starting from the third, but Beethoven level specifically. Let's see. First, we have Mordroc, Daphne and Dirk shrunk down to the size of a mouse. Second, starting from the 30th second of the game, the piano flies into the air, breaks the roof of Beethoven's house and flies SO freaking high it's actually gone a bit farther than hemisphere. Next, Band Land sequence, where not only the instruments get maximally freaky, but Beethoven himself starts looking like Elton John, while his kitty becomes a fire-breathing devil. And it's not even the end of the level... yet.
- Mission Pack Sequel: The gameplay is identical to the original game, aside from being able to collect treasures and being more linear.
- Moment Killer: A LITERAL one: the demonic gargoyles can kill Dirk in interruption before he can perform a True Love's Kiss if you don't watch out.
- Motive Decay: A new record. Daphne's mother goes from telling Dirk to rescue Daphne to attempting to murder him for losing her within seconds.
- Mouth Cam: At the end of Level 2, the Tyrannosaurus Rex closes its mouth on Dirk and the time machine, and the scene cuts to the inside of its mouth as it attempts to swallow them both before they get a chance to escape.
- Mummy: A big one in the Egyptian tombs.
- Musicalis Interruptus: Occurs if you fail in some parts of Level 5, and if you grab each one of the two treasures — the hammer and the butterfly — in the Re Cut edition (complete with each of the two four-note "short-short-short-long" motif chimes of Symphony No. 5 as a downplayed Item Get).
- The Name Is Bond, James Bond: In the Treasure Room of Level 1, a talking time machine notices Dirk approaching it and says, "You must be Dirk, Dirk the Daring."
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the Eden level you actually have to listen to the snake and give the apple to Eve, who proceeds to devour it and cause the fall of Eden. Complete with thunderbolts and thorns everywhere. Bravo....
- Nintendo Hard: Even moreso than the original. The command windows are much shorter, and the visual cues as to what you're supposed to do next can be almost impossible to follow if you haven't memorized the scene. Even at its hardest arcade setting, Dragon's Lair was a walk in the park compared to the easiest settings for Dragon's Lair II.
- Non-Standard Game Over: One Game Over is Daphne being transformed into an old hag.
- Another involves Dirk becoming a clone of Mordroc.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: The whole first level is escaping Daphne's angry mother.
- Offhand Backhand: Dirk does this a few times throughout the game. Example: a snake tries to attack from behind, and he gives it a quick bop with his sword in such a way that it looks like it was on accident — but it's a player command, and you die if you don't. Dirk even does this while GRIEVING when he thinks Daphne is dead, his head buried in despair... but when an imp moves in to attack — smack! — and Dirk doesn't even acknowledge it.
- Off Model: When Daphne wakes up and is reunited with Dirk she knocks off his helmet and loses both her shoes, they randomly regain and lose both items in the final scenes at the game ends.
- One very glaring (but, given the game's breakneck pacing, easy to miss) continuity error can be seen in the opening sequence—when Daphne's Mother is chasing Dirk, in the scene right after Dirk mounts his horse and takes off, she is suddenly riding an ox literally out of nowhere!
- Beethoven's cat knocks a candle off the piano early on in stage 5, the candle is back in its original position in but a moment later.
- Our Angels Are Different: The Gatekeeper who turns Dirk into a female Winged Humanoid, and the tiny cherubim that try to tickle him in Level 4.
- Prehistoria: Stage 2. And it is here that Dirk fights off dinosaurs and winged centaurs that carry Daphne away.
- Press X to Not Die: As with the previous game, the entire gameplay is built around it.
- Public Domain Soundtrack Dissonance: The soundtrack that plays entirely in the background of Level 5 while you avoid getting eaten by a fire-breathing cat is the first part of Symphony No. 5 in C minor (Allegro con brio) by Ludwig van Beethoven. This also counts as a Genius Bonus when you notice that the song number is the same as the level number.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Another example is near the end of the game, when harp music plays in the background while Dirk is struggling to stay alive by fighting off imps and jumping onto crumbling platforms.
- Re Cut: The Director's Cut edition appears in most recent ports of the game. In this one, a special brief scene plays the first time you grab each one of the treasures, and once you collect all of the treasures, it triggers a short, alternate Level 7 in which, after Dirk throws the sword at Mordroc as the wizard places the Death Ring on Daphne's finger, instead of being turned into a monster like in the original, she suddenly falls in a deathly faint and vanishes, leaving the ring lying on the floor; and you suddenly find her lying on her bed after defeating him. This kinda counts as either Fridge Brilliance or Fridge Logic.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: A bit inverted with the Twin Snakes of Eden. The Purple Snake (Red Oni) is talkative but smart and cautious and tries keeping Dirk safe as best as he can; the Green Snake (Blue Oni), on the other hand, is quiet but ferocious and tries to devour our hero in spite of the Purple Snake's advice not to harm him.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Mordroc and his brother, though this mostly goes to the latter as a time machine.
- The Cheshire Cat can count, since he says the first stanza of Jabberwocky. So can Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
- Rolling Pin of Doom: Used by Daphne's mother.
- Rotoscoping: Used to animate the time machine.
- Sacred Bow And Arrow: The first two bonus items.
- Screen Shake: When Eve is prancing after Dirk, every time she lands on the ground there's an earthquake.
- Shout-Out: The Queen of Hearts, the playing cards, and the Cheshire Cat reciting the first stanza of Jabberwocky are a shout-out to the Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
- Sissy Villain: The Angel who watches over Eden. And don't try to deny it!
- The minions of the Angel are the baby angels, in which if Dirk fails to escape them, they will tickle him as he laughs.
- If Dirk is, however, caught by the flaming sword, he will be spanked by it.
- Sneeze of Doom: One game over sequence involves Dirk falling off of a tree branch into a patch of flowers, which cause him to sneeze.
- Split Screen: Happens twice in Level 5, though in this case it's more like a boxed screen that focuses on Dirk in order to let you help him know what to do.
- Stripped to the Bone: Dirk, in some death scenes. Despite the Game Over from the first Dragon's Lair game not appearing if the player loses all of his/her lives, this trope appears in Level 6, in which the flesh eating gas literally melts Dirk's skin, leaving behind only his skeleton. Which does not crumble unlike the first Dragon's Lair game. Also, in another death scene of the same level, a spider eats the flesh off his arm as he freaks out. Level 7 had this in another death, where Monster Daphne takes away his flesh, resulting in his skeleton.
- Strong Family Resemblance: It seems that all of Dirk's and Daphne's ten children have the same hair colors and clothes as their parents. All six of the boys have the same brown hair color and wear the same clothes, boots and helmets (and one of them has the same sword) as their dad; and all four girls have the same blonde hair color and wear the same blue dresses as their mom. The only thing different, however, is their hairstyles. See Expository Hairstyles above.
- Suddenly Voiced: At the very end when Daphne revives from Dirk's kiss, upon seeing her alive and well, the overjoyed Dirk gets his first and only full line of dialogue in the series by happily screaming her name.
- Swallow the Key: Parodied in the Re Cut edition: the first time Dirk grabs the key, he places it in a teacup and drinks it.
- Talking Appliance Sidekick: The time machine, which is (somehow) Mordroc's brother.
- Tap on the Head: More like bopped on the head. Failure to dodge certain characters results in this.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Dirk does this in the final segment stabbing Mordroc's arm. Mordroc tries to return the favor later, only for Dirk to catch the sword effortlessly.
- Time Travel: The whole plot of the game.
- Tragic Monster: Daphne turns into a horrifying purple behemoth when she wears the Death Ring.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Now, taken to the extreme. On your first time playing, you'll spend at least an hour to complete one 90-second scene. Two, when you play a slow reflex port of this game (DVD players port is just one of the instances).
- True Love's Kiss: Dirk uses this to revive Daphne at the end.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Apparently Beethoven isn't too concerned about tiny knights and warlocks jumping around his room. His cat on the other hand...
- It's no surprise that this scene is a Shout-Out to Beethoven's growing hearing impairment when he wrote the first part of his Symphony No. 5 in Vienna in 1804, which explains the timeline in this scene.
- Villainous Crossdresser: You didn't think Daphne would be THAT easy to find, did you?
- Watch Out for That Tree!: One game over sequence in the Wonderland stage involves Dirk headed splat into the trees if he fails to avoid them.
- You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Spoken by Daphne's mother to Dirk during the Chase Scene.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In both Level 2 and Level 6.
- Zerg Rush: The ancient Egyptian tomb is swarming with spiders. Two of the game over sequences involve Dirk getting swarmed by hordes of spiders, one of which involves him plunging into the webs below.