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October 23, 2003
Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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Using the pistol.
It would be interesting to see how many readers fo Future Gamez have actually heard of Defender of the Crown, let alone played it. It's not that the original game was a poor title, in fact it was a classic. The original million seller was actually released on the Commodore Amiga way back in 1986, that's almost 20 years ago now. I remember spending weeks on end playing it on PC, pulling my hair out at the frustrations of the jousting, but absolutely loving the strategy of purchaing solders, building castles and defending them. This was my first military turn based simulation. Almost two decades later Cinemaware are updating the game for current consoles, and it's looking pretty good.

One big change to this game from the original is the depth of the storyline with Cinemaware promising twenty minutes of rendered cutscenes and a full hour of recorded voice acting bring the characters and world to life.

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The territorial map.
It is a time of great unrest in England. With King Richard the Lionheart held for ransom, the evil Prince John, seizes the throne, and declares himself the King of England. The entire nation soon falls into civil war as greedy nobles war amongst themselves and Prince John sends forth armies to shackle the country under his unjust rule. In this time of lawlessness, only an outlaw can lead the people to freedom. One man, the embodiment of true honor, vows to save his people and restore peace to the land. This man is known as Robin Hood. From the small-scale skirmishes with the Sheriff of Nottingham in Sherwood Forest, Robin finds himself drawn into the larger the battlefields of England, and the hero of the poor must become the savior of an entire nation.

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The battlefield screen.
Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown combines the classic game loved by thousands with a legend known around the world for a gameplay experience unlike any other. Players take on the role of the legendary outlaw himself and must use strategy, cunning, and quick reflexes to overthrow a tyrant prince, rescue the true king, and reunite England. With the support of Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian and his band of merry men, Robin Hood must use his mastery of archery, swordsmanship, jousting, siege warfare, and combat strategy to lead the people of England to victory. Along the way, his resolve and skills will be tested against such villains as the Sheriff of Nottingham, the mysterious and deadly Guy of Gisbourne, and Prince John himself.

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Laying seige on a castle.
This game combines role-playing elments with turn based strategey in which you must conquer the 38 territories accross England. You will have to fun the war effort by collecting taxes in your territories, or lightening the purses of traveling merchants in thrilling archery ambushes. This money can then be used to build castles or purchase soldiers, knights or catapaults for use on the battlefield. During the game you may also have to joust against enemies for fame, fortune or land. This was the hardest part in the original title but hopefully Cinemaware will fix this area of the game. The castle sieges also return where you can use large boulders, or Greek Fire to weaken the enemy before attacking.

Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown looks like a "must have" for fans of the original. This game looks to retain much of the gameplay and style of the original title which, in today's age, may work against the game for those that want massive amounts of detail. The original game was a very laid back affair and I expect no different from this title. This is one game I can't wait to see the finished code on. Expect a release in November.