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SummaryRobin Hood, your bow is needed
The GoodConquests of the Longbow is the second game designed by Christy Marx, who has already introduced us to King Arthur and his search for the Holy Grail. A year after the game's release, Marx's focus was on Robin Hood. This adventure game is better than the many Hollywood blockbusters that share the same theme. First, the player gets to be Robin Hood; and second, there are many ways you can complete the game.
The introduction to this game is as long as the one from King's Quest IV, and it is very good. After seeing what happened to King Richard – whose kidnapper, King Leopold of Austria, demands 100,000 ransom - we are introduced to the main characters in the game, in the same vein as The Colonel's Bequest.
The game is divided into about thirteen days, and each day ends with Robin and his merry men recapping what happened on that day and what needs to be done on the next. You will encounter a few characters each day, and there are different ways that you can deal with them. For example on the first day, the very first thing will be an encounter with one of the Sheriff's men, who is holding a peasant woman hostage. You have the choice of killing the man or letting him kill the woman.
There are different ending variations, depending on what choices you made. You can either be kind to any people you meet, while killing those that pose a threat to them, and end up marrying the love of your life. Alternately, you could turn rogue and risk being hanged. This adds a touch of replayability to the game, since you can go back and try different things.
The graphics in the game are neat. Since Conquests of the Longbow is set in Nottinghamshire, there are shades of green as you walk around forests. The character portraits are nice. There are two portraits of Robin Hood, and most of the time you will see him talking with a pink background behind him. When he is angry, you see him at a different angle with a green background behind him. The Sierra control panel is quite colorful, too.
The music is very good and it blends in with the overall nature. Furthermore, using a Roland MT-32 instead of the Sound Blaster makes it more relaxing. The sound effects are your typical Sierra effects, but I noticed some new ones that made their way into their future games (Gabriel Knight, EcoQuest 2, etc.)
There are various mini-games that you can play, including archery and Nine Men's Morris, if you are stuck somewhere in the game and want to take a break from it. Morris is mandatory and you must win against your opponent to get a much-needed item. However, it's simple to learn Morris and you will be able to win against your opponent if you perform the right moves. It is recommended that you save the game as you won't get to play the mini-games again if you win them.
There are some humorous bits in the game. As I said earlier, Robin's character portrait changes when he is angry or aggressive, and “Angry Robin” looks as if he is about to cry like a baby.It was funny that throughout the game, Robin stops someone from walking down Watling Street and wear their clothes. I remember Robin walking around town as a beggar and almost everybody he meets is not nice to him. But both of these are nothing compared to what Tuck does to one of the Sheriff's assistant, where the friar whips him as he is chopping wood. Not only do we get to see this scene, but the game rubs it in our faces.
The BadEvery reviewer states different things they don't like about the game, and for me, it must be the way that you have to spell out some words in “Druid Code”, which consists of Robin's hand and some invisible letters scattered around it. With no help supplied, you basically have to guess the right letters to enter and click the center of the hand to complete the word. Actually, you are shown where every letter for about one second, and there is no OK button to click when you are done looking. Furthermore, for those letters that are close to the center, you end up completing it by accident and suffer the consequences.
The Bottom LineThis is just a little theory I have, but Marx did an essay on the Legend of Robin Hood at high school, and she used it to help design the game. Conquests of the Longbow is her second and last game, and it is impressive. As Robin Hood himself, you go around Nottinghamshire and deal with characters you meet in a variety of ways, and what you do will depend on what sort of ending you'll get.
If you get sick of dealing with an obstacle you can't get past, you can take time off and play a mini-game like Archery or Nine Men's Morris. The graphics and sound is excellent, and the replayability is high. If you just love any games that focus on Robin Hood, you will be happy playing this game.
Finally, according to the Trivia section, the CD-ROM version was canceled. This game would have been with full voices and possible extras. But the trailer for the game features voices, along with a prototype Robin portrait that was redefined during the game's development.