Reviewer: Linda Barker
Robin Hood is a complete and utter hero, his good deeds have gone down in folklore and have been passed on to each generation. On film and television we've had Errol Flynn, Richard Greene, a red fox, Michael Praed, Jason Connery and Kevin Costner. And on the Speccy there was Super Robin Hood. But now there's a new hood in town, he's lean, green and he's got one hell of a cute smile. Welcome to the Codies' latest hit - Robin Hood: Legend Quest.
Legend Quest is a cutie horizontally-scrolling collect-'n'-beat-'em-up with plenty of platforms (moving and stationary) for you to jump around on. The main idea is to collect the treasures which, I think, belong to good King Richard. The action is set in a castle which is home to hundreds of fast-shooting archers who are out to get the feather in your cap. They're blimmin' good shots as well, so you're going to have to do a fair old amount of duckin' and divin'. Various dark bits of the castle also hide absolutely massive monsters whose white eyes shine out of the darkness, warning you to steer clear of those scary spaces under the stairs. (Err, they're the background graphics, Linda. Jonathan) There's also the most ridiculous little guard who stalks up and down relentlessly, like a wind-up Christmas pudding fitted with everlasting batteries. Let this little blighter bump into you and... Wham! That's a life gone. There are also various flying things, and maces on chains that go up and down.
To aid you in your quest for treasure there are hearts to give you more energy and keys that open up parts of the castle that were previously inaccessible. As you run through the castle, you'll often come to a platform which goes nowhere. But, pick up a key and a moving platform will miraculously appear so you can jump on and travel to the next bit of the castle.
AND HE STILL FOUND PLENTY OF TIME TO SING (OI!)
Legend Quest looks lovely, even Andy O was smitten by the screenshots we gave him. (They're lovely grabs to work with. They're so colourful! I'm particularly fond of the title screen, is that what it's called? I'm going to incorporate that in the page design. Andy O) He's right, you know! The graphics are some of the nicest we've seen in a while. Robin's all green and the backgrounds are loads of other colours, yet there's virtually no colour clash to write of (ho ho). The castle looks suitably mediaeval and the dank, dark bits look jolly spooky. When Robin (a very cheery sort of chap who turns and grins at you now and then) dies, all these incredibly cute hearts burst out of his body in a terribly sweet circle. Then he flashes and disappears back to a previous point in the game. This is so much better than being put back to the beginning of a level - it's far less frustrating, more user-friendly. This explosion of hearts also takes effect when Robin picks up a heart, or a piece of the treasure. It's such a nice little touch. and sometimes it's the little things in games that sneak into your heart. (I think she's got a bit too much goodwill left over from Christmas, Spec-chums. Jonathan)
YOU COULD HAVE SOMEONE'S EYE OUT!
Robin Hood is famous for his courage and valour, with nary a thought for his own safety he swings through the trees kicking Nottingham's guards and laying traps for the tax collector. There isn't a lot of this kind of thing in Legend Quest, the action seems to consist mainly of avoiding the nasties' arrows and shooting your own in the desperate hope that they'll hit the enemy archer before his one hits you. Fortunately, the enemy archers do shoot off their arrows in some kind of pattern, so you can suss out just when a pointed piece of metal is going to come skimming past your ear and clamber up, or down, a ladder whilst the archer's busy placing the next arrow in his bow. As it were.
All this dodging and jumping of arrows takes time to perfect. At first Robin Hood: Legend Quest seems quite easy and then (ho ho ho) you skim past the easy bit and suddenly you lose two lives in a row and you think. "Hang on, this is a bit of a toughie." Jon... sorry, Jonathan (I'll sellotape it to your forehead if you want. Jonathan) actually got to the next level before saying, "In the big scheme of things, if you make a basic distinction between easy and difficult, this is a bit on the difficult side, isn't it?" or Hmmm. He's right.
Doubtless, some of you lot will float through this game and send detailed maps into Tipshop, making Jonathan and I look a bit ridiculous in the process. But hey! Maybe you won't. Robin Hood: Legend Quest is a lovely-looking game and there's really nothing wrong with the gameplay apart from the fact that it's a bit hard. But perseverance isn't difficult as it's got that addictive factor that makes playing the same bit of the game over and over again quite enjoyable. I really found myself looking forward to the next bit of the game and, when we've finished this issue, I'm going to have another go. Smart!
'Yo ho, ho and a bottle of rum'. Or have I got that right? No, that's a pirate song. What did Robin Hood and his Merry Men sing anyway?
Whatever it was it must have been good 'cos they've gone down a storm in popular legend, not only here in Britain but all over the world. Especially the USA where Robin Hood movies have been big business for decades. This could be why Codemasters released Robin Hood Legend Quest first in America, on, of all things, the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The story of Robin is well known. He was an impoverished, dispossessed, Saxon Lord who, maddened at the wealth of the church and the Norman aristocracy, embarked on a 'rob the rich to feed the poor' policy the like of which has never been seen since. (Though many since have robbed the poor to feed the rich - OO-er, SU's social comment of the year!) No one really knows whether Robin was very successful, in fact no one really knows whether he even existed at all but it's a great story and who am I to buck it.
In this game Robin Hood. must do the two things that matter most to him. (A) Rob the rich to feed the poor by raiding the Sheriff of Nottingham's castle, and (B) Rescue his love interest, the gorgeous Maid Marian (or Marion as the Americans insist on calling her even though it's a boys name) from the very same fortified abode.
It's not easy though. The castle is gigantic with lots of battlements, dungeons, kitchens, bedrooms, torture chambers and other less identifiable (and undesirable) rooms to explore. Plus there's the usual complement of guards, midgets and orcs who may not really be all that bad off the job but are certainly being paid to stink at the moment by the evil Sheriff Of Nottingham.
Our little Robin is equipped with a bow and arrow and a very nimble pair of legs. He must dispose of those guards that are disposable of by arrow and avoid those that are just too tough for words by waiting out of their range and then running for it when they turn their backs.
Dotted around the keep are extra lives and treasure. The treasure consists of chests (not of the hairy type you understand), crowns, diamonds, rubies, shields and goblets. All are objects one would expect to find in a medieval castle and all are also highly redeemable by the poor for food. His final task is to rescue Marian.
Robin Hood Legend Quest is extremely well put together and beautiful to look at. It's basically a horizontally scrolling platform game and the main screen consists of the central playing area, to the right of which is the life and icon panel. This panel shows (in hearts) how many life points Rob has and also indicates how much of the treasure you have recovered so far. Although Robin starts off with three life points more are dotted around the castle and if you manage to collect a further three you will automatically get an extra life. Also, to finish the game you'll need eight of each item of treasure.
The graphics are colourful and superbly animated. If you leave Robin alone for a moment to think he turns towards you and smiles and the sequence where he aims his bow, draws it and fires is excellent. Control is a little soft but not annoyingly so and it is easy to get the main sprite to respond to your commands.
Overall Robin Hood is a high quality title that deserves to do well. The quality of its graphics and playability is undisputable and it's nice to see Codies converting a a console game to Speccy when Nintendo users now have Dizzy to play with. Robin Hood isn't a difficult game but it's very refreshing and enjoyable nonetheless. Worth a look.
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes
ALAN: I've seen Robin Hood Legend Quest on other formats and to be honest it just doesn't look like a Codies title. No offense meant here, it's just completely different to their normal fare. One thing's for sure though it's a very good value, playable game.
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