Space Ace (NTSC)

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Details At A Glance

Category Game Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono)
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 3 - Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair 2, A Fork In The Tale
Year Released 1983 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time N/A Other Extras Featurette - History
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director  

Digital Leisure
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music  

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame (NTSC) MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio N/A Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No

Plot Synopsis

    Space Ace was the follow-up game to Dragon's Lair. It built upon the success of its predecessor whilst addressing some of its predecessor's shortcomings. Specifically, it offered more than one possible pathway to the finish of the game - an easier one and a harder one. Overall, it was harder to complete than Dragon's Lair. Most scenes in Dragon's Lair required between three and five moves to complete, but many scenes in Space Ace require ten or more moves to complete, particularly if you play through a scene as Space Ace rather than as Dexter.

    Borf, the bad guy, has kidnapped Space Ace's girlfriend Kimberley with the aid of his Infanto Ray - a weapon which regresses its victims to babydom. It is up to you, as either Space Ace or as his regressed version Dexter, to save Kimberley. Cheesy stuff, perhaps, but there's nothing wrong with a simple plot in a game like this.

    Throughout the game, you have the choice of continuing to play as Dexter, or to Energize and become Space Ace. If you remain as Dexter, the game is considerably easier, with far less moves to make to complete the game. The fact that once you have completed this game as Dexter you are able to repeat it as Space Ace, visualizing more scenes than you did previously, gives this game a reasonable amount of replayability.

    There are several improvements that have been made to the authoring of this title, presumably in deference to issues that arose from the release of Dragon's Lair. Firstly, there are two options for actually playing the game; one allows a minimum of two seconds to make every move, and the other preserves the original timing. According to the documentation, this improves the playability of this title on a number of DVD players. I also felt that the progression through the scenes was smoother and more responsive to keypresses than Dragon's Lair was. Additionally, the animation is more seamless in appearance between transitions.

Transfer Quality


    As with Dragon's Lair, the back cover of this disc claims that it has been remastered for DVD. It would be more accurate to state that it has been reauthored for DVD, as it appears that the video source elements have been taken either from a laserdisc or from the source video tapes used to create the laserdisc. It certainly has not been remastered in the true sense of the word which would have involved re-telecining the original filmed footage.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. It is in NTSC format, so your display device will need to be NTSC-compatible to play this game.

    This transfer looks considerably better than the one afforded to Dragon's Lair. Nonetheless, it remains somewhat blurred and indistinct by current standards. Shadow details are passable, but there is a little low level noise in the picture. Fortunately, this is much less noticeable than the low level noise exhibited by Dragon's Lair.

    The colours were far more saturated and vibrant than those in Dragon's Lair, which looked quite dull in comparison to this title. This, however, does come at the expense of some colour bleeding which is apparent in the most highly saturated elements of the image.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Video glitches were noted occasionally, but they remained minor and acceptable. A few film artefacts were seen here and there - comprising the odd nick or scratch in the original filmic elements.


    The packaging, as with the Dragon's Lair packaging, claims crisp, powerful AC3 sound. Well, it IS AC3 encoded. Crisp and powerful? No, not really. It is certainly better than the audio for Dragon's Lair, but it is still very dated by current standards.

    There is only a single audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0. This is predominantly mono, with some nice stereo sound effects.

    Dialogue, what there was of it, was always clear and easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The score is passable for an arcade game, but is otherwise unremarkable.

    The surround channels were not used.

    The .1 channel was not used.


    There is a good selection of extras on this disc considering that it is a game.


    The menu design is very plain and simple, and somewhat dated in appearance.

Featurette - History

    This is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. There are a collection of video excepts in this montage of historical footage, of variable quality.


    Frustrated gamers will appreciate this option, which is simply a linear progression through the entire game. Much to my surprise, the entire game, played as Space Ace, only goes for 8 minutes and 15 seconds. It certainly takes MUCH longer than that to play through the game.


    The Space Ace promo trailer plays before the main game, and can be skipped. There are also trailers present for Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair 2, and A Fork In The Tale.

R4 vs R1

    This is a Region 0 NTSC disc, so there is only one version of this disc.


    Space Ace is significantly better than Dragon's Lair from a technical point of view. The authoring is significantly better than that of Dragon's Lair, which enhances playability significantly. The quality of the source material is also significantly better, providing a better image.

    The video quality is dated, showing the analogue heritage of its source material, but remains acceptable.

    The audio quality is fairly unremarkable, with slightly better use of stereo effects than Dragon's Lair.

    The extras are interesting, even though the video and audio quality are lacking.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
6th October 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer