'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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