VERY HARD DIFFICULTY  -  [Jump to hard difficulty]  -  [Jump to easy difficulty]

The following is a walk-thru for Cinematronics' 1983 arcade version of Dragon's Lair, set at very hard difficulty.
(ROM revision F/F2)

The 'very hard' game is basically a 'hard' game with the potential for scenes to be randomly replaced by harder versions of other scenes.  There are 5 additional scenes that play with a separate, very hard level of programming.  They are:
Ropes (reversed)
Flying Barding (reversed)
Socker Boppers (reversed)
Yellow Brick Road (reversed)
Tilting Room


To clarify, these are separate, harder versions of these 5 scenes that are waiting in the wings, available to be thrown into play randomly.  The normal hard versions of these 5 scenes are still in the game in their regular places.

During a game, when any scene gets replaced by one of these 5, it is permanently removed and will never be played in that game.  There is a weighted probability to the random appearance of the very hard scenes; for example, the Tilting Room has a habit of replacing the first scene of the game, while the other 4 do not.  Each very hard scene can only appear once in a game; however, the normal hard versions of these 5 scenes can also still appear separately.

What makes them very hard is that the timing for some of the moves is abnormal, requiring input much later or earlier than usual and with very short windows of opportunity for success.  Whenever they appear, they will look normal at first, and the only way to recognize them is to already be familiar with the regular arrangement of all the scenes, and then notice when they are out of place.  (Refer to the scene sequencing page for this info.)  Whenever a scene appears in a spot where it doesn't usually belong, you can conclude that it's the very hard version of the scene, and play it accordingly as per the guide below.

The trouble is, due to the random nature of the interjection of these scenes, sometimes one of them will appear in its regular spot, perhaps even replacing the less difficult version of itself.  In other words, every time that one of the normal scenes from the above list begins to play at its normal hard difficulty in its usual spot, you have to wonder whether it might actually be the very hard version sneaking in (unless you've already previously played the very hard version of that scene and have gotten it out of the way).

When the game nears its end, you will replay all the scenes that you've died on, including the very hard scenes; however, they will no longer be very hard.  They will be the normal hard versions of those scenes.

This web page only covers the 5 scenes.  Refer to the hard difficulty page for how to play the rest of the very hard game.

Moves colored red require particular timing and are only correct when performed at the right time, as explained in their comments.  They will cause death if performed too early.

Comments colored red warn about moves that have short windows of opportunity.

LEGEND

U - Up
D - Down
L - Left
R - Right
S - Sword
 

Ropes (reversed)

CORRECT MOVE(S)

L

L

L

L
CAUSES DEATH U D U D R U D R U D R
CAUSES BUZZ R S S S S
SEE COMMENT # 88 89 90 91
88. After the door shuts and the rope swings close to Dirk's hand
for the first time, move while the rope is slowing down, but before
it stops to change direction.  You cannot wait for the ledge to
recede as shown in the picture.
The time window to make this move is 0.23 sec.
89. Move (predictively) at the same instant the next rope appears.
The time window to make this move is 0.1 sec.
90. Move (predictively) at the same instant the next rope appears.
The time window to make this move is 0.13 sec.
91. Move immediately when the ledge appears.
The time window to make this move is 0.27 sec.

Flying Barding (reversed)

CORRECT MOVE(S)

L

R

L

R

R

R
CAUSES DEATH U R U L U R U L U L U L
CAUSES BUZZ D S D S D S D S D S D S
SEE COMMENT # 92 93 94 94 95 96
92. Move (predictively) at the same instant that the fire appears.  A diagonal Up/Left
is also recognized and accepted as a correct move.
The time window to make this move is 0.13 sec.
93. Move (predictively) at the same instant that the fire appears.
The time window to make this move is 0.13 sec.
94. Move immediately when the fire appears.
The time window to make this move is 0.2 sec.
95. Move when the wall first appears, while the pillar on the right side is still fully visible.
(This pillar is not shown in the picture; the camera has already flown past it, and it is too
late to make the move in the picture.)
The time window to make this move is 0.3 sec.
96. Move anytime slightly before the fire appears until immediately after it first appears.
The time window to make this move is 0.27 sec.

Grim Reaper / Socker Boppers (reversed)

CORRECT MOVE(S)

U

S

D

U
CAUSES DEATH L R U D L R U L R D L R
CAUSES BUZZ D S   S S
SEE COMMENT # 97 98 99 100
97. As usual, you have 3 chances to move immediately after
both socker boppers cross the path together, but each of these
time windows is now reduced to as little as 0.23 sec.
Alternatively, try moving when Dirk holds his hand forward.
98. Press Sword when the Grim Reaper flashes brightly.
The time window to make this move is 0.3 sec.
99. The time window to make this move is 0.2 sec.
Repeated early attempts to move may be helpful.
100. Move immediately when the door opens.
The time window to make this move is 0.2 sec.

Yellow Brick Road (pool of water / spider) (reversed)

CORRECT MOVE(S)

R

U

L

U

R

U

S

L

U
CAUSES DEATH U L L U D R D L R U D L S D L R D R D R D L R
CAUSES BUZZ D S D R S S S   S U L U S S
SEE COMMENT #
101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108
101. After the daggers appear in the wall, move as the camera angle changes and the daggers start flying through the air.
The time window to make this move is 0.4 sec.
102. The time window to make this move is 0.27 sec.  Repeated early attempts to move may be helpful.
103. This move will be accepted later than usual, at the moment when Dirk is about to jump.  (Early attempts will buzz.)
104. The time window to make this move is 0.37 sec., and this window expires immediately when the snakes first appear.
Repeated early attempts to move may be helpful.  (It is too late to make the move in the picture.)
105. Move after Dirk steps on the stone that triggers the trap.
The time window to make this move is 0.37 sec.
106. Press Sword after the spider has appeared.
107. The time window to make this move is 0.37 sec.  Repeated early attempts to move may be helpful.
108. Move after the door opens.

Tilting Room

CORRECT MOVE(S)

D

U

L
CAUSES DEATH L R D L U D R
CAUSES BUZZ U S R S S
SEE COMMENT # 109 110 111
109. Move at the same time that the wooden door on
the left closes down on the opening created by the
stone sliding away.
The time window to make this move is 0.23 sec.
110. Move (predictively) at the same instant that
Dirk lands on his feet from jumping straight up.
(It is too early to make the move in the picture.)
The time window to make this move is 0.1 sec.
111. Move after the door opens, as the exit flashes.

This guide represents the final Cinematronics ROM revisions F & F2.  Earlier ROMs that incorporate these 5 random scenes are not quite as difficult.
The specified time window lengths' values are approximate, as the different Cinematronics PCB revisions have different methods of handling the real-time clock and produce slightly different results.
The moves on this page without specified time window lengths are greater than 0.4 sec (on par with average ranges and not of special concern).

OTHER DIFFICULTY SELECTIONS

EASY DIFFICULTY
HARD DIFFICULTY

 


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