Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight
Description official descriptions
Something's happening in these lands, and the only hope seems to be the moonstone. You, as a chosen knight from the druids, are about to find it and bring it back. The game can be played from 1 to 4 players at once, with no difference between solo and multiplayer as no matter how many players play, the story stays the same for everyone. However, if you choose to play with only one player/knight, the other three will be the computer rivals. Wandering through the map, you can visit enchanted places, towns where you can buy equipment or try your luck in gambling, but mostly visited places on the map will be cabins which represent the places where certain enemy beasts are. Each spot has about two or more beasts which after defeating them can be rewarding in a certain way, depending on the game's randomized placement.
Also, for example, if the place has three beasts and you kill two before you die, the next time you (or some other player) go back there, there'll be only one beast left to fight. It's also possible for two players to run into each other and, once defeating the other, the one who prevails can steal the other player's money and/or weapons. Thus, searching for the moonstone begins, but that's only half of the story. The rest unfolds once you find it.
Credits (Amiga version)
Average score: 74% (based on 14 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 62 ratings with 1 reviews)
For those of you who hanker for the days of painstakingly-drawn, sumptuous hand-draw 2D visuals, Moonstone will not disappoint. The classic introductory and ending sequences of the game were near cartoon quality and framed the tale perfectly. In-game graphics were similarly mouthwatering, well-animated and bursting with life and character. And did I mention the gore? The screen resembled a charnel-house when you had finishing hacking and slashing your way through legions of wickedly sadistic foes. Limbs fly and the blood flows in rivers. Has ever a hack’n’slash been quite so satisfying? Golden Axe? Pah!
Richard Joseph’s sparsely utilised, but nevertheless, stunning score added to the prevailing atmosphere of doom and simply has to get a mention. From the jolly “Olde-England” ballad that accompanied your wretched efforts at gambling in squalid taverns, to the Arabesque Eastern twang when you paid a visit to Mythral the Mystic, the quality was everything we’d come to expect from Mr. Joseph. Not to mention the dread evoking dirge that set the mood of the game, and its use to such stunning effect during the loading screens before each tense encounter. Sampled sound effects were of a similarly high standard – every grunt, roar and screech was devastatingly realistic, and even the sound of blood pumping from severed limbs and arteries was included! Heaven for the sadists amongst you :)
Intuitive gameplay, spot-on controls and collision detection kept the action frenetic but fair and there were even RPG elements - the ability to upgrade equipment and abilities added an extra element of depth to proceedings. The world of Moonstone was a very rich one indeed. Just don’t mention the dragon…
Perhaps a few more months development time could have ironed out the frequent crashes in the Amiga version, or at the very least Mindscape could have implemented a save or password feature to save pissing gamers off and the breaking of many a joystick in frustration! More enemies, more locations, more equipment and a larger, scrolling, world map would have been welcome – the game is over far too quickly for my liking. What about human knights temporarily joining forces to simultaneously attack lairs and share the spoils? Not enough use of the moon phases, which could have been an amazing innovation if implemented correctly. Despite these nitpickings, Moonstone still rocked and the potential was there (and still is!) for a killer sequel… Anyone know what the sales figures for Moonstone were like?
The Bottom Line
Underrated all-time classic… Can’t believe Sega didn’t pick this gem up and stick it on Megadrive – its gore quotient alone would have ensured that it sold by the bucketload! Go visit my Moonstone tribute site at www.moonstonetavern.co.uk, grab an emulator and rediscover the goodness of Moonstone! :) Remember, the Gods await their new champion…
DOS · by Rob Taylor (3) · 2003
Due to the optional violent content, Mindscape voluntarily gave the game a '12' rating, identical to those used for films.
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by MAT.
Amiga added by JRK.
Game added November 30, 2000. Last modified February 24, 2024.