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Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood Review

publisher: Strategy First
developer: Spellbound
genre: Strategy

PII 233, 64MB RAM, 4MB Video Card,1GB HD
ESRB rating: T

release date: Nov 14, 02
» All About Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood on ActionTrip

December 05, 2002
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic

We all know the story of the legendary thief that steals from the rich and gives to the poor both from the stories and movies about Robin Hood. Strategy First decided to rekindle the flames of the old legend and publish a squad-based tactical strategy game - Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood. Simply put, this is a conceptual follower of Commandos and Desperados, featuring many new refreshing elements.

After the impressive intro-sequence, you will face a well-known screen which will first make you go: "Hey, this looks like Commandos", and then: "But it sure looks great". The first two missions are more of a tutorial, and you should go through them step by step, especially if you don't have any experience with the games I mentioned (and the specific sub-genre they represent). When you start the game, you will only command Robin Hood. As soon as you finish the tutorial missions, you will already have a small coterie, consisting of a number of different characters with different capabilities, including Will Scarlet, Little John, Friar Tuck, and a plethora of other characters who will want to join you as you progress through the game. The number of recruits will directly depend on your methods - the less blood you spill, the more people will respect you, and in turn, the more supporters you will get.

Each of your Merry Men has a unique set of abilities, which make him more or less appropriate for a particular mission. One you get to know the members of your party well, it will be far easier for you to decide which of them you want to include in the team for a certain mission. Robin, for instance, has the ability to distract enemy soldiers by throwing gold-pouches, Will Scarlet can strangle enemy soldiers silently, and Little John has enough strength to remove dead and unconscious bodies from the scene of the crime.

The third, or should I say the first real mission, will start in the Sherwood Forest which is something like your headquarters in the game. It is here that you will choose your assignments, form teams and start missions. The missions are versatile and each mission has a set of minor goals which can be anything from robbing passengers to besieging an enemy castle.

Whichever mission you play, and whatever goals it may have, your success will depend on carefully planning your moves and staying out of enemy's sight. If the enemy does spot you, their excellent AI will take over, trying to alarm the head of the watch, or summon reinforcements, or even attack you if it assesses it is in a batter position than you. This is when the fight starts, and you better have click-happy fingers if you intend to win (not even this helps if you are severely outnumbered). The enemy troops will also be alert if they find a dead or unconscious body. Still, the most irritating of all are the stupid peasants (who you practically work for in the first place) that tend to reveal your positions to the enemy every chance they get. Enemy soldiers have a defined sight range that you can check like in Commandos.

There is not much more to be said about the interface. The tactical "sneaker" strategies have long since been a fully formed sub-genre, so there was little to add or subtract from the typical interface of these games, and any experience you may have with them, or indeed other real-time strategies, will come in quite handy. The camera has been perfectly positioned, and the powerful zoom in/out will not only be useful during gameplay, but display the rich and detailed graphics of this game at its best. The game has it all: the lush surroundings will create a perfect atmosphere of medieval England, and together with the well animated characters they will make you feel a part of Robin Hood's adventures. The sound is not as good as the graphics, but it is still far from bad, and does in no way affect the in-game atmosphere.

The only noteworthy downside to the game is that once you've finished it, you will have little on no desire to play it again, which goes hand in hand with the lack of the multiplayer mode. In other words, the replay value of Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood is extremely low.

But can this be measured with a great authentic feeling of being the most righteous thief in human history? I think not. My recommendation is that fans of tactical strategy games go out and buy this one. The gameplay is well thought-out, and the game design concepts are excellently executed.


8.7   Very Good

Great atmosphere; quality graphics. Fans of tactical strategies will love this one;

No multiplayer mode and no incentive to play the game again i.e. very low replay value; sometimes too difficult.



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