Title The Adventures of Robin Hood (Second Review) Game Type Adventure Players 1 Compatibility Any Amiga HD Installable No Company Millennium/Brainware Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Review The legend of Robin Hood is one of the most famous and well known stories in the Western world. It tells a story of a nobleman who rises against injustice by forming a group of Merry Men who rob from the rich and give to the poor. This legend has spawned numerous motion pictures, TV series and several computer games some of which have been released on the Amiga. The Adventures of Robin Hood by Millennium is one of these games. Instead of doing a pure arcade or adventure game this game is a mix of both with strong emphasis on the adventure side. This game is not your average Monkey Island game though - Millennium have poured some refreshing originality into the concept by adding some strategic elements into the game. The plot of the adventure is introduced at the beginning of the game, where Robin is thrown out of his own castle by the Sheriff of Nottingham. It is up to Robin to rectify the situation preferably in a way which allows him to pay back the evil Sheriff and at the same time help the poor people suffering under the Sheriff's ruthless regime. Unlike traditional adventure games, Robin Hood is a very non-linear game. After the introduction the player is given a totally free hand to plan the actions which help Robin to achieve his ultimate goal. It is up to the player to gather the necessary information, tools (icons) and friends (Merry Men) which help Robin to complete his mission. This is done by wandering around the game world, interacting with people, solving puzzles and performing various deeds. The player also needs to keep up with the general ongoing events of the game world - everything in the game happens in realtime so it is sometimes necessary to be in the right place at the right time. The game gives subtle hints - for example, the trumpet sound usually means there's some important announcement given in the castle yard the player might want to hear. The main character is also eager to point out if there's something interesting happening nearby - it is up to the player to decide whether it is important enough to stop Robin's current activities and check them out. Controlling the main character is a bit of a tricky combination of keyboard and mouse - the game can be controlled by mouse only, but that can get cumbersome (especially moving the character). Moving the character with keyboard while using the mouse to interact with the Computer Controlled Characters (CCC) and manipulating the inventory is propably the most fluid way. When starting a new game the player is probably bewildered by the freedom the game offers. Some will probably give up after wandering aimlessly around the game world. Perseverance and experimentation will reap rewards - pretty soon the player starts to collect useful bits of information as well as a variety of objects. From then on a suitable strategy needs to be developed and actions planned and executed according to it. Everything the player does has an effect to the game world and its inhabitants. In this game the CCC's reactions are almost directly linked to the strategy the player chooses - for example, if the player chooses too aggressive a tactic (like robbing the rich too often) he will find the Sheriff's men will hunt Robin more obsessively than when a more subtle approach is used. The village people also react to Robin's deeds - a few heroic deeds or acts of mercy will raise his popularity and support amongst the common folk. Robin does not need to work alone - after making some friends he can delegate tasks to his men. While the CCCs can only perform very simple tasks it can make things bit easier. The game loosely follows the real legend so anyone familiar with the Robin Hood saga will have additional benefits - some of the puzzles the game offers can be solved with similar tactics the real hero used. There are several ways to win the game. Due to the real time nature of the game it is quite easy to miss some secrets the game offers but still complete the mission - finding these secrets offers some additional replay value after the player has completed the game the first time. The isometric 3D graphics (similar to Populous and PowerMonger games) look very pretty - there are some nice visual effects like landscape changing according to season (snow on the ground during winter etc) There's also a plethora of quality sound effects put to good use - acting as signals of important events and generally upping the atmosphere. There are only a few niggles in Robin Hood - the control system is a bit awkward to use and the viewing area could be a bit bigger. The main character is also a bit too independent sometimes - if you leave him alone he might wander off to get into trouble without any assistance. This can get irritating sometimes when the player tries to complete some task (like robbing somebody) and the little Man In Green decides to go and check out some nearby commotion. It is also bit too easy to die in the fights at least at the beginning of the game, so saving the game frequently is recommended. In all, The Adventures of Robin Hood is a nice little game which manages to generate a real feeling of adventure with its non-linear style. While it demands a fair amount of initiative from the player, the patient adventurer will ultimately find it a challenging and charming little game full of original features. It is one of those games which will create a warm, cuddly feeling when playing it, and after completing it, the player will replay it from time to time just to find out some of the mysteries which he (or she) might have missed the first time around. Recommended.