Released in 2002 by Dragonstone Software, the game is an action-adventure remake of the original laserdisc arcade Dragon's Lair. The game follows a similar story to the original, with Dirk the Daring tasked with rescuing Princess Daphne from the evil dragon, Singe. Many of the characters, events and locations from the original game make a return appearance in an expanded form, along with new puzzles, rooms and enemy encounters. Don Bluth, the acclaimed animator and director responsible for the original game, produced two new animated sequences for the introduction and ending of the game. The game utilized a cel-shading technique to mimic the style of the original Dragon's Lair.
At the start of the game, Princess Daphne is captured by Singe the dragon, who takes orders from the evil wizard Mordroc. Dirk is riding past on his horse, Bertram, and unsuccessfully tries to rescue the Princess, who is forced through a portal to the top of Mordroc's castle. Dirk finds an amulet that allows him to stay in contact with Daphne as he climbs the tower to rescue her. Daphne explains to Dirk that Mordroc is invincible unless fought with the help of the Dragon Essences: magical objects that grant abilities to those who wield them. Unfortunately, these Essences are guarded by the strongest monsters in the castle. As in the original game, Dirk manages to find Daphne and defeats Singe in battle.
As Dirk walks away with Princess Daphne in his arms, he notices in a crystal's reflection that she is action a dark version of Dirk using a magical disguise. The dark alter-ego reveals that he guards one of the essences, and those protecting the essences long ago got greedy and started a bloody civil war amongst each other. Dirk defeats his evil doppleganger and gathers the rest of the essences guarded throughout the castle, including a set of magical arrows that are capable of killing Mordroc. Using the amulet, Daphne chastise Dirk for collecting the arrows, and soon it is revealed that the person talking to Dirk through the amulet has been Mordroc all along. Despite this, Dirk travels to the princess' cell and duels the evil wizard, who transforms into a dragon. In the end, Mordroc is defeated by Dirk using the magical arrows and Daphne rides off with her hero.
Dragon's Lair 3D is the first game in the series to not be controlled through Quick Time Events
and utilizing pre-rendered cutscenes for the main thrust of the gameplay. The castle is mostly linear, where the original was randomized
with each play through. This remake also includes a number of boss fights that are often made up of characters from the original arcade game. In this game, Dirk is given both Health
meters that can be upgraded throughout the game. Dirk is also given a crossbow in addition to his sword, which can be used as an alternate weapon in long-range battles. The crossbow is also heavily used in puzzles. Hidden treasures are included in the game (much like in the original arcade game's sequel
), which reward players who take on optional challenges with a higher point total at the end of the game.