In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Defender of the Crown

aka: Conquering England, DOTC, Defender of the Crown: Obrońca Korony
Moby ID: 181
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Description official descriptions

Defender of the Crown puts the player in the role of one of four Saxon knights in medieval England, in a time where the land is in turmoil as the King is dead and his crown was stolen. The Saxons and the Normans blame each other and fight for control of England.

After a short introduction by Robin of Locksley himself, the game starts with a single castle and 10 soldiers at your command. From there, you have to build your army, take control of additional territories and fight and defeat the three Norman lords - and sometimes your Saxon friends as well.

In addition to the basic 'build your army and conquer your opponents' the game offers several events and options that can be used to fine tune your play style: You may engage in a jousting contest where you have to knock your opponent off his horse, gaining either fame or land, or you can go raid a castle for loot or the hand of a princess, joining your houses and territories.

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Credits (Amiga version)

15 People

Written by
Computography and Mical Game System by
Art Director
Executive Producers
Associate Producer
Documentation by
Package Illustration by



Average score: 72% (based on 49 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 235 ratings with 10 reviews)

This is one of the greatest of the classics.

The Good
The play control was excellent, the sound was as good as the Commodore give, and the graphics were stellar. The strategy was one of the best I have ever encountered, and the gamer interface set the industry standard.

The Bad
This is a tough one. Most likely the only thing that I didn't like about the game was the fact that you couldn't actually play as Robin Hood, even though getting help from him was pretty cool it would have been nice to be able to choose him as a playable character.

The Bottom Line
Considering the platform, the time, and the limited capabilities of the Commodore 64, this game should go down as one of the greatest of all time.

Commodore 64 · by Tarzan Dan (25) · 2004

My favorite game ever.

The Good
This is indeed a favorite of mine. I remember playing the Amiga version on a neighbour's computer, then getting the PC game and (a month ago) getting the EGA version (which I frankly like a lot less). This game has simply amazing graphics, beautiful and memorable music and incredibly addictive levels of gameplay. With many subgames and versions for just about every platform in existance, how can one go wrong?

The Bad
Nothing! It's amazing!

The Bottom Line
One of the best games you'll ever play (if you like old games, that is).

PC Booter · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 2000

The atmosphere is so strong that you completely ignore any gameplay issues.

The Good
The atmosphere of the game is so firmly set that the PC version, even though it lacks the bright colors and sound of the Amiga version, is a joy to play and watch. Even in CGA, the subtle shadows in dimly-lit scenes are visible.

The strategy of the game is simple, which is both a good and a bad thing; for those who don't like to think too heavily playing strategy games, it's fun.

The Bad
Since the strategy is so simple, gameplay will occaisionally swing to the side of "hit or miss" -- that is, half of the games played will be long and evenly-matched, and other games will end violently in less than 15 turns.

Also, the PC CGA version's sound/music leave much to be desired (the Tandy version's sound/music is much better, but you need a Tandy to hear it).

The Bottom Line
If anything is representative of "the classic computer gaming renaissance," it's Defender of the Crown. The definitive Cinemaware game deserves to be played by everyone at least once.

PC Booter · by Trixter (8954) · 1999

[ View all 10 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
PC CDROM version got released in the 90s abstauber Oct 11, 2018
Screenshots at the wrong entry? ZeTomes (36265) Jul 19, 2017
Links Cavalary (11448) Sep 20, 2014
Interview with Bob Jacob St. Martyne (3648) Dec 13, 2009


1001 Video Games

Defender of the Crown appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

CGA version

The CGA version "tweaks" the screen during the joust; the furious riding on your horse makes the screen "shake". This locks up the game on VGA cards, but if you can avoid this if you play it under a pseudo-emulator like Windows or OS/2 (or just don't joust during the game).

EGA version

There was bootable version released that supported EGA/Tandy graphics and Tandy 3-voice sound, which greatly enhanced the PC version of the game. Unfortunately, this version is extremely rare and most people only have the CGA/PC Speaker version.

Freeware release

A full version of this game is available online at (the full link is in the links section). The game plays in any browser.

Version differences

  • The C64 version of the game has three Saxon ladies that can be kidnapped, and the NES version only has one lady while every other version has four.
  • The Commodore 64 version of Defender of the Crown was also released on tape in Europe, as disk drives were expensive in Europe at the time and most people still used tape drives. The tape version is trimmed down to fit on the smaller storage of tape, and is missing several pictures found on the disk version. Some of the missing pictures are Robin Hood at the start of the game, and the closeup views of the Saxon damsels after you rescued them.
  • The DOS and the NES version have inferior graphics and audio quality compared to other systems. However, these ports feature more in-depth strategic elements - most of the strategic movements of the Saxons and Normans are not determined but randomized.
  • The Amiga version does not contain some features like Greek fire and disease attack options, which were include in other ports. According to Bob Jacob (Cinemaware founder) the most complete version of "Defender of the Crown" was the Atari ST release (interview in "Your Amiga" magazine issued in, June 1988 on page 16).

CD audio version

In 1988 Rick Levine programmed a CD quality audio version of Defender of the Crown. The Defender of the Crown code still resided on and ran from the PC, but hooks were placed in the code to play the CD quality audio off the CD -- on a Hitachi CD-ROM player. David Riordan had the CD quality audio created. That special CD-ROM version was demonstrated at a conference (might have been the Game Developers Conference that year), but it was never released to the public. However in 1991 the Amiga CDTV version of the game was released and next to minor graphical improvements contains major sound enhancements including two CDDA soundtracks.


  • ACE
    • October 1988 (issue #13) - Included in the Top-100 list of 1987/1988 (editorial staff selection)
  • Commodore Format
    • February 1991 (Issue 5) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
    • November 1994 (Issue 50) – #17 The All-Time Top 50 C64 Games
  • Computer and Video Games
    • May 1988 (Issue #79) - Golden Joystick 1988 Award: Runner up in category Strategy Game of the Year
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #92 in the “150 Best Games of All Time" list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #2 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
  • Gamespy
    • March 2000 - Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • ST Fomat
    • May 1990 (Issue #10) - Included in the list "ST Format's 30 Kick-Ass Classics"

Information also contributed by PCGamer77, Ricky Derocher; Terrence Bosky and Tomer Gabel


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  • MobyGames ID: 181
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Browser added by Picard. NES, Commodore 64 added by PCGamer77. Jaguar added by Indus. ZX Spectrum added by twitek. Macintosh added by Dragom. CDTV, Android added by Kabushi. Atari ST added by ZZip. Apple IIgs added by Eli Tomlinson. iPad, iPhone added by Pseudo_Intellectual. Windows added by Alexander Schaefer. Game Boy Advance added by Xa4. Amstrad CPC added by cafeine. CD-i added by Geoffrey Palmer.

Additional contributors: JRK, Ricky Derocher, RodeoInTheGreatWhiteNorth, Richard Levine, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Jo ST, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added August 4, 1999. Last modified May 27, 2024.