Written by  :  Andrew Fisher (547)
Written on  :  May 01, 2018
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
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Summary

Probably inferior to the later PC version, despite superior graphics and sound

The Good

Well the artwork gives a lot of romanticism to the game (despite how the box art might make the game appear). I think the game would have particular meaning to British gamers or those with British roots. Seeing the familiar British counties with the same names, but in a much different time, populated by major settlers, the Saxons and Normans. I see the game as semi-historical and semi-educational. Though I think all the characters are fictional, many of them created by British author Walter Scott (people can debate the existence of Robin Hood). Though the game does have a sort of "magical" feel to it, there isn't any magic or divine intervention in the game, which I think further helps the game feel historical and educational.

Some complain that the game is too short and it certainly is quite short, but it does take a lot of effort to not get conquered by the enemy and I'd also say that the game is perfectly replayable. It's of course quite non-linear and random, something that I don't necessarily like, but I think it certainly helps this game.

The Bad

Underneath the romance, the game is pretty barbaric, even more so in the Amiga version. The game puts you on the side of the Saxons and presents them as the heroes with the Normans as the villains, but the Saxon and Norman lords behave in much the same way, conquering, raiding and besieging. In the Amiga version, which after playing the PC version, appears to have been released semi-complete, you can only complete your turn and continue the game by conquering land, raiding a castle or paying for a tournament (which isn't an option if you've just returned from one). So you're often forced to be a murdering or thieving bastard and attack or steal from people who did nothing to you first! (This issue was removed in the PC version, which lets you "pass" to complete your turn, also unlike with Amiga, buying army takes up one turn.) Another thing that I think improved the PC version was your ability to pass through the lands of fellow Saxons. Even in the PC, Saxons can attack Saxons, but in the Amiga, the other Saxon lords are scarcely your allies. Moving your campaign army onto their land is taken as declaring war.

So there is a "female element" to the game. There are four Saxon ladies who can be kidnapped by Normans and you have the choice of rescuing them. If you are successful, she will reward you with "love" (sex). I will admit that the female inclusion was slightly dignified. I wouldn't say that the love scene between the Saxon lord and lady was sexploititive, the ladies do have full names (not like "Anne, Miss July") and their images appear alongside yours at the start of your turn, suggesting a partnership (I've yet to discover if you can rescue multiple damsels and have them presented alongside you as further "conquests").

I'm very disappointed with the promotional material for this game as I think those who made the game should be. The sexploititive cover art and description make it seem like this is some sort of adult-oriented, highly sexual adventure, when really it's not. I don't think it's much more adult than your standard war game of the mid '80s and I think a child could appreciate the fairy tale element i.e the fictional, Walter Scott characters and Robin Hood, and with practice, perhaps understand and appreciate the gameplay system.

The Bottom Line

So the game is an interactive Robin Hood or Ivanhoe movie i.e semi-historical, romanticized violence. Personally I still like the game, though I think the Amiga version is inferior to the PC.