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Defender of the Crown is quite enjoyable, with good graphical elements and diverse game play. This is the type of game that would appeal to any who like a modicum of civilization games, with a pinch of turn-based strategy, and a dash of combat.
The first time I played Defender of the Crown was on my Apple IIGS computer back in 1990. The graphics, sound, and gameplay were all extremely well put together back in those days. Crawfish managed to get everything that made the game so charming more than ten years ago into the Game Boy Advance system. The game is absolutely recommended, but it really is a shame that the developers didn't get link support in. The game just begs to be played against real opponents...but it's not to be. But at least the single player gameplay is deceptively addictive...just keep in mind that it requires more brain than gaming brawn.
While the old-school Amiga, Apple II, and Atari versions of this game pretty much hit the nail smack-dab on the head in execution, the GBA version does an even better job in terms of managing your army, keeping the gameplay tight, and purporting detailed visuals. There are plenty of between-scenario illustrations and animations that help to give Defender of the Crown a polished look and the many instances of combat are set against varying and detailed backdrops. Aurally, the game seems to have all its ducks in a row, but it is hard not to notice the similarities between this title and the previous ports as far as the audio elements are concerned.
Like the alternative to earning treasure, Defender of the Crown makes it possible to avoid battles and still acquire additional factions of land. Whether attending a tournament or holding one for a mere five pieces of gold, players can joust for either fame or land. Upon charging at each other with a lance in hand, one opponent will end up dropping to the ground. The battle then ensues with a mace bout that spells the end for one and victory for another. Betting land against an opponent can be risky since there’s much more at stake, but is also quite rewarding if players are skilled enough for the challenge.
The Next Level
Nevertheless, Defender of the Crown is a fine addition to any strategy gamer’s library. While many of the modern games, such as Advance Wars, are better games, the mere fact that a straight port of a 15-year-old game can still compare to the newest titles on the market is a testament to the thoughtful design that Cinemaware created when the game first came out.
Metro3D, Crawfish, and Cinemaware deserve a great deal of credit for bringing such a beloved game out of retirement. Anyone who has played Defender of the Crown on the Commodore 64, Amiga, or NES will quickly fall in love with the GBA version. It's just too bad the developers didn't see fit to add any new gameplay features or a multiplayer mode.
Pocket Magazine / Pockett Videogames
Aucun doute, on s’amuse toujours avec Defender of the Crown et ce même si les joueurs confirmés en viendront rapidement à bout : le challenge de cette version n’est pas très relevé. Une chose que l’on peut facilement pardonner, par nostalgie, mais il en est une autre qu’on ne pourra pas excuser : l’absence d’un mode multi-joueurs. Le link de la GBA permettait aisément d’inclure un mode quatre joueurs, ce qui aurait relancé l’intérêt de cette cartouche.
With its easily whipped arcade sequences, utter lack of strategic depth, and painfully unrewarding still-screen ending sequence, Defender of the Crown provides an experience about as vacuous as the cheesy flicks that inspired Cinemaware's birth.