By Sean Harris

Released in 1984 as a cash in on the DRAGON’S LAIR craze, Universal’s SUPER DON QUIX-OTE was the first in what was to be a series of laserdisc games based on their System 1 conversion kit. Sadly, the decline in popularity of the hardware and the industry video game crash stopped any further titles from seeing completion. While the DRAGON’S LAIR franchise would find its way ported to many home systems over the next two decades, Universal’s single animated opus would fall into obscurity and never receive a license for retail distribution.

The fair Isabella is captured.

Just as in the game that inspired it, SUPER DON QUIX-OTE featured a cartoon story line that the player watched and then performed embedded “timed” commands from the joystick and single sword button at prompted junctures. While DRAGON’S LAIR left the correct moves up to occasional screen flashes and second guesses, SUPER DON overlayed a series of computer generated arrow signals and green button icons to show you where to make your inputs. As the game progressed, the signals quickened and became closer together, making the player rely on memory and speed to advance.

Don's first encounter in the game's opening stage.

The plot of the game was pretty much the same as in DRAGON’S LAIR, substituting the titular dragon for a cackling wicked witch (one whom bared a strong resemblance to Maleficent in Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY). Don must traverse twenty three scenarios riddled with a tome of deadly encounters, including a fight to the death with skeletons, vampire bats, electronic flying jellyfish, giant snakes, and numerous traps and natural disasters such as avalanches and closing brick walls. After a final confrontation with the evil female necromancer, Don frees his love Isabella, who was snatched away by a winged minion in the game’s intro attract sequence.

Traverse the jagged rocks with caution.

A cult classic if ever there was one, SUPER DON QUIX-OTE remains a solid and entertaining laserdisc game from a bygone era, and I would rank it alongside the great DRAGON’S LAIR as the best of the bunch. The quality of animation isn’t quite as lavish as the million dollar Don Bluth progenitor, but it is still very good, particularly the background canvases, and it features some of the craziest creature designs ever thought up by a team of ragtag illustrators. It can be played today only through emulation on the Daphne emulator (, though you still must obtain the over 1 gigabyte large audio and video files ripped from the original laserdisc, or by finding a restored arcade cabinet in a private collector’s arcade or CES showroom floor.