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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.


Defender of the Crown Commodore 64 Man, where's Errol Flynn when you need him?
Defender of the Crown Commodore 64 The game's credits.
Defender of the Crown Browser Tournament loading screen.
Defender of the Crown Atari ST These creeps look like they're up to no good...

Promo Images

Defender of the Crown Screenshot
Defender of the Crown Screenshot
Defender of the Crown Screenshot
Defender of the Crown Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "DOTC" -- Abbreviated title
  • "Defender of the Crown: Obrońca Korony" -- Polish title
  • "Conquering England" -- Informal name, popular in Israel

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A little known CLASSIC game at the dawn of Modern GRAPHICS & Adult-themed gaming! Commodore 64 XplOrOrOr (16)
The classic of classics. Amiga Tomer Gabel (4634)
The atmosphere is so strong that you completely ignore any gameplay issues. PC Booter Trixter (9116)
Probably inferior to the later PC version, despite superior graphics and sound Amiga Andrew Fisher (707)
Not as good as the Amiga version, but great fun nonetheless DOS Colin Rowsell (45)
Wow. DOS woods01 (163)
Good semi-historical, semi-educational leadership game DOS Andrew Fisher (707)
This is one of the greatest of the classics. Commodore 64 Tarzan Dan (29)
My favorite game ever. PC Booter Tomer Gabel (4634)

Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 Oct, 1987 9 out of 10 90
App Spy iPhone 2011 4 out of 5 80
Nintendo Power Magazine NES Jul, 1989 4 out of 5 80
IGN Game Boy Advance Oct 30, 2002 8 out of 10 80
The Games Machine (UK) Atari ST Feb, 1988 79 out of 100 79
Gaming Target Game Boy Advance Dec 04, 2002 7.7 out of 10 77
Retro Archives Atari ST Nov 02, 2017 13 out of 20 65
Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library NES 2016 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars 50
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Oct, 1990 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars 50
High Score CD-i Jul, 1994 2 out of 5 40


Topic # Posts Last Post
PC CDROM version got released in the 90s 1 abstauber
Oct 11, 2018
Screenshots at the wrong entry? 8 ZeTomes (36439)
Jul 19, 2017
Links 3 Cavalary (11224)
Sep 20, 2014
Interview with Bob Jacob 1 St. Martyne (3649)
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.

Cancelled sequel

In 1993, Jim Sachs, who worked on the graphics for Defender of the Crown, designed a sequel, Defender of the Crown 2. It never really caught on though, mainly because it was only released for Commodore's ill-fated CDTV system.

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.

Unpublished 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.


  • 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

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by Picard (45667), PCGamer77 (3229), Indus (902), twitek (13930), Dragom (4295), Kabushi (257508), ZZip (829), Eli Tomlinson (2509), Pseudo_Intellectual (64072), Alexander Schaefer (2525), Xa4 (310), cafeine (151), Tomer Gabel (4634) and Geoffrey Palmer (145)
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