This new Code Masters budget game will have you all of a-quiver with excitement! From the opening blood stirring music to the blood red sunset that Super Robin soulfully surveys at the end, bloody war is the name of the game and carnage is what you'll end up with if you play it right.
As the mega-muscled Robin, your task in this joystick and keyboard compatible platform caper is to rescue Maid Marian from the clutches of the wicked Sheriff, who has her all tied up in Notts. Robbo goes solo in his quest, with no help from his good buddies, Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet. But who needs help when you can duck, jump and scale ladders with such boundless agility! Mind you, you'll need all the Errol Flynnery you can find to get round the medieval monsters - rancid rats, spooky spiders and other assorted 'orribles - that the Sheriff sends against you.
Your health factor starts at 99, but constant contact with the creepies wears it down and when you hit the big 0 you become an ex-Robin. And don't jump prematurely from ladders and platforms, or it'll be cock-up, not Cock Robin. There are assorted tablets round the castle that'll perk up your health, and if you're nifty with the old bow and arrer you can stick the Sheriff's guards with more quills than a porcupine - a great way to get lots of lovely bonus points.
Keys and red hearts are also lying round the castle (some people are so careless!) which'll boost your bonus too. They're usually in the most inaccessible crooks and nannies, though, so keep your eyes peeled. The keys will let you operate the lifts to the various sections of the castle until you reach your goal - the East Tower, where the love of your life is pining for you.
Super Robin Hood isn't the most sophisticated platform you'll fall over, but its clear graphics and easy scrolling action give it instant appeal. And 'cos it has no time limit you can be a little more constructive in your game play than usual. It's sound, but no real fury.
Publisher: Code Masters
If budget games didn't exist then you'd have to invent them to take account of games like this that are fun but dated. Not worth a full-price release but definitely worth a place in the collection. Code Masters are putting out some great games as well as some real turkeys, but if you load up Robin Hood you certainly won't hear the sound of gobble-gobble, but some pretty nifty music from David Whittaker - though they even give you the option to turn it off, if you want.
Options is something this game's strong on. and that always makes you hopeful, especially after the impressive loading screen. As well as music on/off, you can have sound effects on/off, a choice of three joysticks (Kempston, Protek or Sinclair) and a chance to choose your own keyboard preference. It's the kind of game that plays just as well from the keyboard as it needs only simple up/down/left/right/fire keys.
The cassette cover certainly lays it on thick in describing the game: "Control Super Robin Hood in this brilliant arcade game. Blast the onslaughting enemy fighters in your heroic attempt to rescue the lovely Maid Marian." Now hang on, lads, it's good but not quite that good!
The game's a kind of Manic Miner without the manic silliness, but it does have a 'Fire' option that you'll need as you move among the ladders and platforms of the inter-linked screens. There's a touch of Brian the Bold about the game. If anyone remembers that funny little number, and Sorcery provides bits of the plot with doors dotted about the place and ways of increasing your decreasing health, in this case a scattering of tablets.
The graphics are not the greatest, but are well above average and the hero runs, jumps, ducks and fires in a quite convincing manner. If you press the 'Up' key when on a ladder then you climb, otherwise you jump, and with 'Down' you either descend or duck according to circumstances. The ducking is necessary because some of the screens have villains who are fortunately stationary but will wing arrows your way till the cows come home unless you can duck/stand/fire several times in quick succession and see them off - and you have to get close enough in for the kill or your own arrows don't reach the target.
To try and make it to the highscore table you can gather the inevitable goodies, including a few red hearts (how romantic), while the keys that you find will set lifts in motion to help you get about each screen - and the screens are linked in arcade-adventure fashion.
With spiders leaping up and down, lifts that transport you, mobile platforms that shrink and expand, a bit of leaping around the map-work to do, Robin Hood is really a game that's about two years out-of-date - but then I often load up two-year-old games favourites and I could easily see myself loading this little one up again.
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