Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader
Description official descriptions
During the Third Crusade, King Richard the Lionheart ordered the massacre of three thousand prisoners during the Siege of Acre. The spiritual consequences of this act were used by a mysterious person in a ritual that tore the very fabric of reality, opening a dimensional rift that allowed magical energies and demonic creatures to invade our Earth. Four hundred years later, a lowly slave is suspected of possessing magical powers. Through a series of events he discovers that he is a descendant of King Richard, and his unique abilities may be the only key to humanity's battle against the dark forces.
Lionheart is a role-playing game set in an alternate version of the sixteenth century, where magic and monsters exist openly. The game is set in various countries, from the city of Barcelona to locations in the Middle East. Real historical figures such as William Shakespeare, Galileo Galilei and others appear in the game, though often modified according to the game's fantasy setting. The game utilizes the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system of character development taken from Fallout, with the same main attributes and some common skills and perks, with the addition of new ones pertaining to magic. There are also racial differences, with four races to choose for the protagonist: Human Pureblood, Demokin, Feralkin, or Sylvant.
The first half of the game takes place in and around the city of Barcelona and involves questing and free-form character building, with various factions to join and different ways (combat, stealth, diplomacy, etc.) to overcome problems. The game becomes noticeably more combat-oriented in its second half. Combat in the game is action-based and similar to Diablo in execution. Various characters may join the protagonist if certain conditions are met, and aid him in combat. These companions are fully controlled by the AI.
- Львиное Сердце - Russian spelling
- 狮心王：十字军的遗产 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
Credits (Windows version)
197 People (159 developers, 38 thanks) · View all
|Additional Sound Effects and Editing|
|Additional Character Dialogue|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 62% (based on 40 ratings)
Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 4 reviews)
The interesting alternate history and the rendering of the culture and characters were very well done. The interesting magic system, firmly rooted in the gameworld, was a welcome change from the two extremes one usually sees in CRPGs: cookie-cutter mix-and-match magic and idiosyncratic and interesting but unbalanced thematic magic. Many of the characters and quests in the first part of the game are interesting and at least a little original, taking advantage of the unique parts of the gameworld.
Although a good conversion of the SPECIAL system for real-time combat could undoubtedly be done, this isn't it. Replacing sequence and action points with a small modifier to attack frequency seriously unbalances the basic stats (which were carefully balanced in the Fallouts). Making room for three magic colleges by sweeping all charisma-based skills into one makes it worse. All in all, SPECIAL was carefully crafted by designers who understood rule systems, and Lionheart's modifications don't work.
Worse, they upped the pace of combat to something frenetic enough that I find Diablo II easier to play. And despite the apparent understanding of how SPECIAL and Fallout allowed for diplomatic and sneaky characters as well as charging warriors, they made all of the NPC companions near-useless in combat and made the entire second half of the game require combat as the only solution.
They are very heavy-handed about borrowing historical characters, to the extent of moving famous characters through space and even time: The reason why Shakespeare is in Barcelona is extremely flimsy, and his conversation consists almost entirely of quotes from his plays. Cortez is given a flimsily-excused magical longevity reason to be in the game at all. Machiavelli, who could be a very interesting character and drive a great plot, is severely underused - I can't be more specific without including a spoiler. It's all pretty graceless.
The Bottom Line
If it weren't real-time, or if it weren't claiming a relationship to Fallout, this would be a decent game but not a great one. Certainly, the alternate history idea is so cool and - for such things, at least - believable that I plan to steal it for my high-weirdness FtF roleplaying campaign. But compared to the classics in whose shadow it stands, I'm very disappointed in this game.
Windows · by weregamer (155) · 2003
The main idea behind Lionheart is quite good and original. In one of the holy crusades the history of the world changed forever. Magic entered the world and it transformed the world we know today in to something very different.
As you can imagine the game world has a very original and a strong background. The designers used many famous renaissance characters as NPCs. Including Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare and many many others. With the addition of magic you feel yourself at someplace you already know but still interesting and very different. The starting atmosphere is really good indeed.
The graphics are in 2d and out-dated in technology-wise, but they are still good and they add a lot to the atmosphere of the game. However you are stuck at 800*600 resolution for no reason at all.
The musics and environmental sounds in the game are also good. Nothing that could be create a renascence in gaming industry but still they fit the game quite well.
The game uses S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system which is the best cRPG system that has ever been developed.(It was developed for Fallout Series) However the developer is anew company, the publisher Black Isle is the strongest RPG producer around.
To sum up a sound company, a good looking game, very interesting ideas, a superb character system, good graphics,music and atmosphere. Sounds good does it not?
The main idea is good but it was not developed enough. You are stuck with the city of Barcelona, the only noticeable town in the game. There are references to some Islamic cities to the south but not to any other European Cities. Well actually there is a few more "cities" you visit which had European names, but there were nearly nothing to do on those so I am not counting them.
All in all you have a big city which is not as big as the city of Baldur's Gate or Amn (BG and BG2 in that order) and about 20 wilderness areas. Don't get me wrong these "Wilderness Areas" are just dungeons with no ceilings, nothing else.
The background of the world is good but it also not worked on. Any DM with some imagination and a few weeks time could have created a much deeper history and background from the magnificent idea. The famous characters are at best underused and at worst they are in the game for no reason at all. The addition of magic could have created many interesting conflicts but it is only used in a church based theme, and even in that it is quite underused. When playing the game I wanted to cry because of those perfect ideas, each one of them turned into total crap.
Well the graphics and sounds are not the most important part of a cRPG but however they fit the game, they could have been much much MUCH better with only a little work.
Well... I really don't want to mention the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. It is enough to say that without using any character system at all, the game could be much better. For once SPECIAL, which is originally designed for Turn-Based games, needs a lot of work to be transfered to a Real-Time game. Second SPECIAL system lets a player build his character the way he wants it.
The point here is actually you can build 2 different characters in the game. A mage or a fighter. You don't have the chance to build a spokesman/trader simply because for the second part of the game you will only fight and do nothing else. Oh! Even with these to basic "classes" ready to fail soon enough. A mage is quite impossible to play. Because in the second part of the game where there is nearly no way to regain your mana, you spend hours simply waiting in front of your screen for your mana points to refill. It is REALLY boring. And the Fighter is simply unbalanced. There is no creature/encounter in the game that can kill a pure fighter character.
You think these are bad? No we just started yet! The NPCs that join your party are completely and utterly meaningless. They die after the second encounter. They don't have their own personalities, they don't level up, they don't fight good. I really don't know why they are even there...
At last we come to the combat system. This is the worst combat system I have ever seen in my life. It is unbalanced, boring, needless, sometimes too easy and sometimes without any reason it is too hard. There is no enemy AI to speak of they just attack you. There is no action to keep you going, there is no strategy for you to think about. Worse still in the second part of the game you only fight. Fight hundreds of battles. And there is no way around it.
And if you overcome to those endless combats and somehow finish the game don't expect an ending. There is only an in-game gathering of people and a speech. No movies, nothing!
The Bottom Line
Overall in my personal opinion this game was not finished. Most ideas,areas and nearly every aspect of the game shots: INCOMPLETE. If you are looking for a few good ideas for your own campaigns this game could be good for you if you never leave the walls of the games first city Barcelona. But if you are RPG fan go and play something worth while. There are hundreds of games much better than this one.
Windows · by Zolansilverspear (448) · 2006
Erm...sorry about that. I couldn't think of a reasonable metaphor.
Lionheart is one of the more original games I've played as of late. It takes a different approach to the genre by throwing you into an alternate history setting in which magic has completely changed medieval Europe. This alone made me enjoy the game -- even in its most frustrating moments, which I'll mention in a second.
Along with the unique alternate history setting, you'll meet (and fight or ally with) several historic characters, including Leonardo De Vinci, Gallileo, Shakesphere, Cortez, even Don Quixote. And the dialogue and voice overs are top-notch.
Lionheart uses the SPECIAL system which was used in Fallout, Fallout 2, and (sort of) Arcanum. This system allows you to make a character in which can really become anything he wants. You are not stuck being one single class from start to finish, and you can excel in any one or more skills. Meaning, if you want to be a smooth talking merchant type character, you certainly can be. Want to be a magic-casting brutish thief? With enough work it's certainly possible. For me, I chose to be an unarmed necromancer who dabbles in the field of thievery. And, as with the Fallout series, you begin by choosing your traits and every three levels you gain perks. This makes the game all the better. Some perks you can only gain by completing special quests.
There are four "races" you can choose from, and three spirits to choose from who guide you as you progress in the game. This adds diversity and replayability, as your race and spirit will have different effects throughout the game. As I chose the "Feralkin" race, very few people had respect for me...which usually ended up in a fight of sorts.
The graphics in the game I thought were very good, though others would disagree. Barcelona in particular -- and the surrounding lands -- looks very, very good. I didn't even realize the game was running at 800x600. It did its job.
The first half of the game (the second half I'll get to in "the bad") is your standard modern CRPG. Quests aplenty, some easy, some harder, your usual romp through the sewer, etc. This isn't really good or bad. In a sense, it's getting tired, since EVERY RPG nowadays has this sort of start, but I enjoyed this one a lot more, since utilizing the SPECIAL system, different routes can easily be taken. For example, there was a merchant who would insult me based on my Feralkin races, and so I threatened to bash his head in if he said another word. Because of this, he refused to sell to me, so I proceeded to lockpick his chest and steal everything he had. Unfortunately, my sneak skill was pretty pathetic, so he attacked. I knocked his skull in, and took all his loot. After that, I was marked as "Merchant Killer", by the "Underground". Not really sure who or what the "Underground" was, but it was a neat trait.
Your first real task in the game is to join one of the four factions in Barcelona. While I joined the Knights of the Templar, who fight for justice, honor, and all that crap, I decided to go start trouble with the Inquisition. One particular quest I received was to free a certain prisoner from the Inquisitor's Chambers, and since, as I mentioned earlier, my sneak skill was the sux0r, I had to just go in fists swingin'. And that lead to trouble, but after some work I dealt with the pesky Inquisitors, freed the captives, and even freed a demon who granted me a perk for my efforts! The Knights never found out (perhaps because I left no witnesses?) and I made it my own personal quest to wipe out all Inquisitors I found. Unfortunately, that also meant destroying potential allies.
You are mostly alone in the game, but allies can join you. You don't have any control over them, other than to tell them to stand still, or to unsummon them, but they're still useful. I remember Cortez, a madman searching for some figment of his imagination, a Templar Knight and a summoned Soul Reaver fighting hordes of war dogs on the battlefield. It was great fun.
Speaking of magic, the spells in the game are quite good. There are three doctrines of magic, with four schools of each. Did I get that right? Doctrines and schools? Well, anyway, you are not limited to any school or doctrine, but you can only get the higher level spells by putting more points into that particular one. In theory, though, you could be an insanely powerful spellcaster, if you play the game long enough. That would be interesting to see. The spells range from your standard "magic missile" type spell, to summoning creatures undead or just from ethereal planes, to buffs (or de-buffs) and so on. Pretty much the standard, but there is some variety here. And I loved that I could be an unarmed necromancer in the game. I don't know many RPGs that would allow such a combination.
Also, at least for the first half of the game, you really don't have to fight anything. You get 3/4 (I believe) experience just for sneaking by a monster, and you get experience for finding traps, secret doors, talking your way out of trouble, etc., just as it was with Fallout. So if you want to play that diplomatic sneaky stay-out-of-trouble character, you can...well, at least, until halfway through the game, in which you are screwed hands-down. Read "The Bad" to see why.
Because of a random item generator based on your level, you could have some Diablo-esque episodes playing this game, always searching for that rare and powerful item. I've not played multiplayer, but from what I've read, the more people in your party, the harder the monsters are and the more there are. I think a group of three of four running through the game would be a lot of fun.
The first half of the game is really great. Standard quest-and-kill stuff, with a lot of Fallout-like freedom. Great graphics, random items, and wonderful dialogue and voice overs...
But the second half of the game absolutely sucks.
Did I mention the combat in "The Good"? No? Well, that's 'cause it fricken sucks. Hands down, worst combat in any RPG I've played. And what really sucks is that the second half of the game is nothing BUT combat. I'm not talking about a lot of combat-heavy quests. I mean, you have ONE quest, and you do nothing but FIGHT for the next twenty-give-or-take hours of the game. I didn't mind fighting so much in the first half, because it was for a purpose. It was a pain in the ass, yes, but the random items, the quest experience and quest plots made up for it. But second half...no. Just, no.
Combat comes down to your ability to click on the enemy. That alone is half the task, since every single thing you fight moves at roughly 99.977% the speed of light. Sure, you can pause the game. And while the game is paused you can switch inventory around, change your spell quickslots, do other stuff, but you cannot issue commands or even target an ememy while paused. Also, your allies are pathetic fighters. Useful when you're fighting stuff you can kill, but once you face a hard foe, your allies are dead before you realize it. Combat simply sucks, and the second half of the game is just that. Not even the random items can save you from it.
And it seems the developers didn't think the game was difficult enough, since once you reach that halfway mark, the difficulty skyrockets. Once you reach that point (unless you discovered the most powerful character skill combination...though an unarmed necromancer was fun to play, I doubt it's the most ideal fighter combination) you'll be spending most of your time healing. Fight, run away, rest. Oh, no, you can't "rest". You have to sit there while your health and mana slowly regenerates. I sort of aided myself in this by having armor and weapons that increased my healing/mana regeneration, but not enough to make it very acceptable. I actually had a book on my desk ready for when I have to go rest, as I could finish a few pages by the time I was ready to fight again.
Money's not much of a problem in the game. Once you reach halfway, you won't find many merchants for quite some time, so your best chance is to find anything good to use will be in chests or on monsters. But once you do find a merchant, you're still screwed, since every merchant in the game has about 1-3 healing potions -- not nearly enough to help you.
Also, there really aren't enough spell quickslots. Even as a necromancer, I used five of the slots at a time, and my primary skill was unarmed combat. I can't imagine being a wizard-like class as my primary skill, since there just aren't enough quickslots. Plus, once you're out of mana, you're pretty screwed, and mana potions are almost as rare as healing potions. Fortunately, monsters usually leave a mana-thingy behind, but you have to kill a monster before you get those.
Now, here's where I must shame myself. I had to use a trainer. This makes me a huge hypocrite, since I'm always getting on everyone's case when they resort to such methods. But I reached a part in the game that was absolutely impossible to beat. See, I had to run through a temple (I couldn't stop running due to a river of acid chasing me down) while about fifty to sixty archers and spell-casters stood on the edges (where I couldn't hit them) and fired down on me. Even if I DID have the healing potions and protection scrolls to reach there (and considering how conservative I am with those things, I should have!), there were even more bad dudes waiting for me there. I don't know how anyone was able to beat this (I read on a forum that people used speed potions and had some really nice armor -- which I didn't have) but it would simply be impossible for me. And there was no option for me to "return at a higher level" because monsters never respawn, and I make it a personal duty to clear every map of every monster in sight. Here's the funny thing - even with the trainer which enabled my health to regernate at an "insane" speed, I still died several times before finally being able to race to the exit of the map. It was that difficult.
Also, the animation sort of sucks. There are maybe two variations of each type of animation, and they're not very good. Your character looks as bland as any of the (human) enemies. You can't even tell your own race except when you have your helmet off (I could tell I was Feralkin because I had a mohawk.)
Also -- music and ambient noise is completely missing through most of the game. I expect to hear birds and/or pretty foresty music when I'm out in the wilderness, and the drips of water and sludging around in the sewer. Instead, I heard music very occasionally during certain points, and ambient sounds that were so very quiet I wondered if it was my computer making odd noises.
And the ending is absolutely awful. There are (I think) a few different endings, depending on your choices in the game and how well you do at the very end, but the one I got was just one of those "The evil has gone away...for now! But he'll be back! Stay tuned for the sequel!" type endings, and that just sucks. Also, there are no cinematics in the game. Now, the voice overs and dialogue were great, but as gamers, we're accustomed to a little eye-candy reward for beating the game, and at least one for the intro. But alas, just dialogue and voice overs. I guess it's not that bad, but I would have liked to have seen more.
Come the end of the game, I didn't feel like much of a hero. Just a nobody who kicked some ass and went home.
The Bottom Line
Lionheart came so very close to being a great game. Its original setting, the use of the SPECIAL system, the great art, and dialogue and voice overs make the first half of the game great. But come the second half, it completely goes downhill from there. Not just on a downhill slope -- it dives off a cliff. And lands in a bed of razors. That are on fire. While some snob pours gasoline on it. And then a big bird flies by and takes a crap on it. And some other bad stuff happens. It's that bad, man.
With a part of, like I said, three or four people, it might not only make the second half bearable, but even fun. But this game probably isn't going to stay on my hard drive long enough for me to find out. Indeed, I might play through the first half again, as I really enjoyed it. How will a Sylvant archer do in the same situations? I might see...but once I reach halfway, it's gone. I ain't going through that again.
Windows · by kbmb (416) · 2003
|How is it?||Unicorn Lynx (180491)||Sep 2nd, 2014|
Long before Lionheart's title was even released, it was being referred to as Fallout Fantasy due to its use of the SPECIAL system (originally found in Fallout) in a fantasy setting. Because of the common alternative, this spawned a rather humorous, if short-lived misinformed following of people actually believing the next Fallout game would take place in a fantasy setting.
Black Isle Studios used to code-name its projects after U.S. presidents and vice-presidents, an idea by Josh Sawyer. Since Black Isle was not the main developer for this title, the code-name was Project Quincy, a name never held by a U.S. president.
- Computer Games Magazine
- March 2004 - #3 Worst Game of the Year 2003
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Game added March 13th, 2003. Last modified August 27th, 2023.