Sunday, February 07, 2010

The PK 27 -- Game No. 7

Way back when, I discussed my first encounter with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time while on vacation to Niagara Falls and Clifton Hill, though I neglected to mention that it hadn't been the only arcade game discovered in that slice of Paradise Ne'er. The second game was, indeed, a doozy of a title known as Dragon's Lair II : Time Warp, a game best described succinctly, as follows:

1) interactive cartoon
2) quarter-muncher
3) frustrating as fuck

But there's just so much more to be said about DL2TW, yeah? Sorta. Ostensibly, DL2TW is merely the sequel to an enormously popular -iconic, perhaps?- LaserDisc arcade game, but that reveals little, if anything about either title. At its core, DL2TW is, as mentioned above, an interactive cartoon in which a visual prompt of some manner is displayed, to which a player responds by pressing the appropriate button or direction of the joystick to progress to the next portion of the animated tale. Failure to act accordingly would result in death for the player's avatar, Dirk, followed by a repetition of some preceding portion of the story (designated by the system as checkpoints). Sounds easy enough in theory, yet in practice becomes an arduous trial of eye-hand coordination to the nth degree.

The time allowed for the proper action to be made is roughly a second in duration, and obstacles present themselves in maddeningly, seemingly-sporadic succession. Make an incorrect move and you'd be treated to an initially amusing death sequence, then restart at a given checkpoint. Next time, you'd know what to do but lacked the celerity to perform that particular movement in the time allowed, and thus be treated to the same exact death sequence as before, only this time it would piss you off prior to being placed back at the checkpoint. Third time's a charm, as they say, so you'd accomplish the task, only to encounter another challenge three seconds later, die, suffer through a death animation, restart back at the previous checkpoint, die again, etc.

Before you knew it, you'd be out a roll of quarters; and if you were playing this in Canada (where, at the time, games required sixteen quarters to equal one American quarter) you'd literally have to stuff five rolls of quarters into your pockets to get anywhere in the game, which, as we all know, is loads of fun 'cause there's nothing finer than seeing what appears to be five throbbing erections on the verge of bursting through some twelve-year-old kid's already tight jeans as he curses, sweats, and moans in front of a DL2TW machine.

Normally, I'm all about a digital challenge. Give me a game like Contra and I'll play it till my eyes bleed, sure, but with DL2TW, at some point I decided the best course of action was to study older, more experienced players as they happily wasted their money on the game, all for the purpose of memorizing the necessary sequences to achieve greatness (and even then, I couldn't hack it).

Fuck you, Dragon's Lair II : Time Warp. I don't care if you were animated by Don Bluth, you can still burn in the Hell of Endlessly Repeating Death Sequences.*

* That's what it's called in Chinese mythology, anyway.

No comments: