Code Masters Ltd
1993
Arcade: Adventure
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

8, 9
Alan Dykes
Chris Bourne

'Yo ho, ho and a bottle of rum'. Or have I got that right? No, that's a pirate song. What did Robin Hood and his Merry Men sing anyway?

Whatever it was it must have been good 'cos they've gone down a storm in popular legend, not only here in Britain but all over the world. Especially the USA where Robin Hood movies have been big business for decades. This could be why Codemasters released Robin Hood Legend Quest first in America, on, of all things, the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The story of Robin is well known. He was an impoverished, dispossessed, Saxon Lord who, maddened at the wealth of the church and the Norman aristocracy, embarked on a 'rob the rich to feed the poor' policy the like of which has never been seen since. (Though many since have robbed the poor to feed the rich - OO-er, SU's social comment of the year!) No one really knows whether Robin was very successful, in fact no one really knows whether he even existed at all but it's a great story and who am I to buck it.

In this game Robin Hood. must do the two things that matter most to him. (A) Rob the rich to feed the poor by raiding the Sheriff of Nottingham's castle, and (B) Rescue his love interest, the gorgeous Maid Marian (or Marion as the Americans insist on calling her even though it's a boys name) from the very same fortified abode.

It's not easy though. The castle is gigantic with lots of battlements, dungeons, kitchens, bedrooms, torture chambers and other less identifiable (and undesirable) rooms to explore. Plus there's the usual complement of guards, midgets and orcs who may not really be all that bad off the job but are certainly being paid to stink at the moment by the evil Sheriff Of Nottingham.

Our little Robin is equipped with a bow and arrow and a very nimble pair of legs. He must dispose of those guards that are disposable of by arrow and avoid those that are just too tough for words by waiting out of their range and then running for it when they turn their backs.

Dotted around the keep are extra lives and treasure. The treasure consists of chests (not of the hairy type you understand), crowns, diamonds, rubies, shields and goblets. All are objects one would expect to find in a medieval castle and all are also highly redeemable by the poor for food. His final task is to rescue Marian.

Robin Hood Legend Quest is extremely well put together and beautiful to look at. It's basically a horizontally scrolling platform game and the main screen consists of the central playing area, to the right of which is the life and icon panel. This panel shows (in hearts) how many life points Rob has and also indicates how much of the treasure you have recovered so far. Although Robin starts off with three life points more are dotted around the castle and if you manage to collect a further three you will automatically get an extra life. Also, to finish the game you'll need eight of each item of treasure.

The graphics are colourful and superbly animated. If you leave Robin alone for a moment to think he turns towards you and smiles and the sequence where he aims his bow, draws it and fires is excellent. Control is a little soft but not annoyingly so and it is easy to get the main sprite to respond to your commands.

Overall Robin Hood is a high quality title that deserves to do well. The quality of its graphics and playability is undisputable and it's nice to see Codies converting a a console game to Speccy when Nintendo users now have Dizzy to play with. Robin Hood isn't a difficult game but it's very refreshing and enjoyable nonetheless. Worth a look.

Label: Codemasters
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes

ALAN: I've seen Robin Hood Legend Quest on other formats and to be honest it just doesn't look like a Codies title. No offense meant here, it's just completely different to their normal fare. One thing's for sure though it's a very good value, playable game.

Robin Hood is a delightful game and an excellent conversion of the Nintendo original. There is a lot of sprite detail and absolutely heaps of playability. It may not last forever but it's well worth getting hold of.

90%
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WHERE HAVE ALL THOSE MERRY MEN GONE?

Robin Hood used to have a well known band of helpers, his famous Merry Men, but unfortunately none of them are at his side to help him in this quest. Why?

Little John: Little John is perhaps Robin's most famous friend and follower and in real life (or legend anyway) was anything but small. However during this game he was apparently completing a Phd in aerodynamics and astrophysics at Nottingham university and was unavailable for action or lommenL

Friar Tuck: Friar Tuck, Marian's confessor and Robin's well known religious companion was at a health farm in Berkshire trying to lose some weight for a new film role. He's due to star in a biography of the famous comedian Oliver Hardy, part of the Laurel and Hardy duo, a new film by Sir Richard Attenborough.

Alan-A-Dale: Young AC, better known as Robin's minstrel was unavailable because he's just joined top rock group Motorhead playing electric mandolin. 'It's all because of the leather gear and the groupies mahn'. Catch him on their new album 'Green Sleeves On My Leather Biker Jacket From Hell'. MC, CD, LP.

Will Scarlet: Will has gone into the fashion business having been spotted by Yves Saint Laurent in Paris wearing a dashing red number with a saffron silk shirt and a thirties style baggy tweed hat. He's now a top designer for YSL and you can expect to see his spring range in the shops soon.

GETTING AROUND THE CASTLE

Robin Hood has a big fob on his hands trying to find Maid Marian in the Sheriff of Nottingham's castle. He must face guards, obstacles, arrows and lava if he is to rescue his true love.

Luckily there are certain ways and means of avoiding trouble and defeating these obstacles. For a start he can jump over some offensive items or duck under others. There are also objects like trampolines (above) and moving platforms to get him from place to place but getting on and off them at the right time is not always easy. The best advice la to take things slowly, don't go rushing into situations. You only have three lives (unless you gather some more) so don't waste them.

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He won't be grinning if that whopping great ball and chain hits him.

Watch the lion's head.

Go forward merry man.

The little guy's mean!

First off get the key, then mosey back over to the treasure chest.