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Lionheart logo

Werft Eure Konsolen weg, Leute: Wer wirklich mal tobende Action auf dem Screen erleben will, braucht einen Amiga - und dieses Spiel! Warum das so ist, erfahrt Ihr in unserem topexklusiven Testbericht.

Lionheart Was die Jungs aus Gütersloh hier auf die Beine gestellt haben, braucht keinen internationalen Vergleich zu scheuen - im Gegenteil, selbst Highlights wie "Turrican II" oder "Beast III" verlieren erkennbar an Glanz, wenn man sie im Licht dieses Action-Hammers betrachtet. Tatsache ist nämlich, dass Thalion sich aus dem Metzel-Geschäft komplett zurückziehen möchte, weshalb die Programmierer zum Abschied noch mal alle Register ihres Könnens gezogen haben, um ein Game zu schaffen, das wirklich den derzeitigen Stand der Technik in puncto Amiga-Action repräsentiert. Tatsache ist weiterhin, daß ihnen das so gut gelungen ist, daß der Abschied nun erst recht schwer fällt...

Amiga Joker Hit So wird beispielsweise während des Spiels zwischen Halfbrite- und anderen Grafikmodi hin- und hergeschaltet, das multidirektionale Parallax-scrolling arbeitet nicht nur mit Farbverläufen, sondern erzeugt auch richtige 3D-Effekte, und wer das Programm mit Turbokarte laufen läßt, kommt in den Genuß zusätzlicher (Explosions-) Effekte. Eine Installationsmöglichkeit auf Festplatte ist da quasi selbstverständlich, aber man hat auch die Sparefrohs ohne Zweitlaufwerk nicht vergessen und ihnen zuliebe die einzelnen Level so intelligent auf den Disks verteilt, daß sich die Wechselei in engen Grenzen hält. Ob die endgültige Verkaufsversion drei oder vier Disketten umfassen wird, war zu Redaktionsschluß noch unklar: auch die Sound-FX lagen bei unserem Testmuster noch nicht in ihrer endgültigen Form vor, weshalb wir auf eine Bewertung dieses Punktes kurzerhand verzichtet haben. Daß das Game ein tolles Intro enthält, steht dagegen ebenso felsenfest wie seine satten 14 Level, die sich auf acht verschiedene Grafikwelten verteilen. Kommen wir daher zum Eingemachten:

Lionheart ist der Spitzname eines gewissen Herrn Valdyn, der anatomisch halb Mensch, halb Raubkatze und von Beruf Herumtreiber ist. Außerdem ist er gerade ziemlich verärgert, weil so ein Wicht von unterbösem Obersprite ein heiliges Artefakt geklaut und darüberhinaus auch noch seine Freundin versteinert hat. Tja, damit wartet ein hübsches Arbeitspensum auf unsern Katzenmenschen! Neben dem verschwundenen Artefakt muß er ein Amulet zum Entsteinern der Angebeteten suchen, und zum Schluß steht natürlich das obligate Showdown gegen den bösen Ober an. Doch sind das nur die Highlights der Löwenherz-Tour, die eigentliche Hauptarbeit besteht darin, dem ebenso riesigen wie tückischen Plattform-Dschungel mit heiler Haut bzw. heilen Fell zu entkommen. Und das ist selbst auf der leichteren der beiden Schwierigkeitsstufen nicht einfach, denn einige der zahlreichen Gegner vertragen tierisch viele Treffer, und die meiste Abgründe haben eine absolut tödliche Wirkung auf die drei Bildschirmleben der menschlichen Großkatze. Gut, daß an Continues nicht gespart wurde, schließlich wimmelt es in diesem Spiel nur so von kleine Gemeinheiten und Stellen, die man nur mit Nachdenken und/oder gehobener Joystick-Artistik meistert: nachfedernde Plattformen etwa, solche, die sich plötzlich drehen, oder unheimlich schmale, die pixelgenaues Springen erfordern - man darf schon fleißig üben, wenn man hier eine Überlebenschance haben will!

Lionheart Ein bißchen Übung verlangt auch die Steuerung, aber sobald die Eingewöhnungsphase abgeschlossen ist, beginnt man ihre Qualitäten wirklich zu schätzen. Der Held kann laufen, springen, klettern, sich an Lianen etc., entlanghangeln, Fußtritte austeilen und mit dem Schwert in alle Richtungen schlagen - es werden sogar Sticks mit (echten) zwei Feuerknöpfen unterstützt, wobei dann der eine zum Springen und der andere zum Schlagen dient. Überhaupt entdeckt man immer mehr nette Sachen, je länger man mit dem Kampf-Kater unterwegs ist. Etwa Geheimräume, ja, komplette Höhlensysteme, die sich plötzlich unter dem eifrig betrampelten Boden auftun. Oder verborgene Mauervorsprünge, auf denen man unerwarteterweise landet, wenn der Held an bestimmten Stellen scheinbar ins Nichts springt. Selbstverständlich sind auch Extras mit von der Partie, genauer gesagt, (drei) Schwerter mit noch durchschlagenderer Wirkung. Zusatzleben und Kristalle für mehr Energie.

Vom Abwechslungsreichtum der Grafik könnt Ihr Euch anhand der abgebildeten Bilder leicht selbst ein Bild machen - daß zudem all die Spinnen, Echsen, Riesen und sonstigen (Fantasy-) Monster genauso hervorragend animiert sind wie der katzenhafte Hauptdarsteller, müßt Ihr uns einfach glauben. Außerdem erklingt in jeder der acht Welten eine andere Begleitmusik, so daß auch akustisch so schnell keine Langeweile aufkommt. Vor allem aber bietet Lionheart mit seiner Mischung aus Jump & Run, knackigen Schwertkämpfen und kleinen Knobel-Einlagen spielerisch neue Herausforderungen. Auf zwei Dinge wurde dagegen bewußt verzichtet: Einmal auf ein Zeitlimit, damit man sich in Ruhe durch die ganzen Höhlen, Urwälder, Türme, Vulkane und das Luftschloß am Ende kämpfen kann; zum anderen auf einen Kopierschutz, weil Thalion das Bewußtsein bezüglich Raubkopien ein bißchen schärfen will. Sollte es gelingen, überlegt sich die Firma den Ausstieg aus dem Genre nochmal - es liegt also in Euer Hand!

Wenn Ihr uns fragt: Wir würden uns lieber die Hand abhacken lassen als zu riskieren, daß wir zukünftig auf Sahnestückchen vom Schlage eines Lionheart verzichten müssen... (C. Borgmeier)

Amiga Joker, January 1993, p.p.16-17

LIONHEART
(THALION)
PLATTFORM -ACTION
88%
"LÖWENSTARK"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
89%
-
89%
82%
82%
87%
VARIABEL: 2 STUFEN
PREIS DM 84,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
4/JA
JA
NEIN
ANLEITUNG


Lionheart logo

Thalion are fast becoming the software house to beat if you want to produce technically ace games.

Game: Lionheart
Publisher: Thalion
Authors: Erwin Kloibhofer, Michael Bittnel (programming), Henk Nieborg (graphics), Erik Simon (Design), Mathias Steinnachs (music & FX)
Price: £25.99
Release: End of January

S Lionheart teroids. That explains everything. They say it helps athletes perform like superhumans, and I reckon it is what Thalion have been feeding their programmers over the last year. Just look at the evidence - No Second Prize, and now this. I mean come on guys, you are just going to leave all the other Amiga programmers red-faced. How can they compete?
Sit down, Mark. Take a deep breath, and do not get overexcited. You are a professional. Unbiased. Able to offer both sides of the story. What is needed here is separation of personalities - let the positive and negative sides argue about how just good this game is. Still with me, readers? Gosh.

THAT KATE BUSH ALBUM
Nice Mark: So we have had loads of great cartoon platformers such as Titus the Fox, and fantastic coin-op platformers Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars, but the only outstanding hack-and-slash on the Amiga is Switchblade 2. Until now, that is.

Nasty Mark: So what. I mean, isn’t Switchblade 2 enough?

Nice Mark: No, frankly. Switchblade 2 is getting a bit creaky, and visually it is certainly dated. It is fairer to compare it to Wolfchild, and let us face it - there is simply no competition.

Nasty Mark: Okay, Mr Sycophantic, just what is Lionheart all about then? Convince me.

Nice Mark: In a nutshell it is a scrolling platform hack-‘em-up over more than a dozen levels - give or take the extra hidden bit. The game follows a big guy as he attempts to recover the Lionheart and save his girlie into the bargain. What this means is nine levels above and underground, then a bit of beastie-riding and some dragon flying. After that it really gets spectacular.

Nasty Mark: Yeah, well it does not sound too spectacular to me.

Nice Mark: But I have not told you about all the neat touches yet. The bad guys are fantastic for a start - all with animation and action almost as fluid as the main character’s. Plus, as the levels progress, new ones appear which actually serve some purpose. Some bird-like creatures can be used as temporary platforms for instance. It is all very clever. Nasties on later levels have enough moves to appear in a beat ’em-up. And that end-of-swamp level baddy is a real scary bitch. And - hey! - that beautiful scenery is not just any old beautiful scenery. The programmers did not just buy it at the beautiful scenery counter in Tesco’s, you know. It is their own special kind of scenery. There are vines to slide down and swing on, and platforms which bounce, spin and cause all sorts of mischief. And there is even foliage to cut a path through. And the character interacts with it all - sliding down slopes, running slowly up banked bits, hovering precariously on ledges. The later concrete levels meanwhile have those swinging platforms so beloved of console owners everywhere. It is right smart.

Lionheart Nasty Mark: But what about all this technical tedium? It cannot be that good.

Nice Mark: You want to talk technical? Try a couple of hundred colours on screen, parallax on practically every single line of the screen, and some of the best character animation this side of Prince of Persia. That guy is versatile too.

Nasty Mark: Yeah, but he minces his run.

Nice Mark: Ah. You do have a point. But just turn that volume up and listen to that music. One person actually thought I had the Amiga hooked up to expensive stereo speakers (the kind you can win in our fab competition this month). It is damned impressive.

Nasty Mark: It is not very ravey though, is it? And that is quite enough shameless compo plugging, by the way.

Nice Mark: Let us face it, it is a complete groove to play, and it visually knocks hell out of any console or Amiga game. I find it hard to believe that it is actually possible for a game like this to exist.

Nasty Mark: Oh please.

Nice Mark: There is no denying it. Lionheart has crept into the football pitch of Amiga software in the dead of night, and then quickly and quietly moved the goalposts by quite a way. I am finding it difficult to avoid playing the game long enough to write this review.

Nasty Mark: Get a grip, you moron. I have seen dried-up puddles with more depth, and…SMACK…Ouch!

Nice Mark: Right, that is the last we will be hearing from him. Trust me readers, it is a tasty feast of hacking, slashing and lushness. In the long-run the gameplay might be a tad basic, and there is a scarcity of monsters to bash in some places, but nothing is perfect, you know? This is just a different league to practically any other Amiga game around. But how the hell will anybody follow this?
MARK RAMSHAW x2

Amiga Power, Issue 22, February 1993, p.p.30-31



"Visually it knocks hell out of any other game"


Upper UPPERS Technically, Lionheart leaves all other Amiga (and console) platform games behind. The main character is suitably dynamic (except for his run), and the levels are big and wonderfully structured.
Downer DOWNERS The monsters on the early levels tend to blend in with the backgrounds. More intelligence on some of the nasties would have been nice too.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Some of the best graphics and sound you are ever likely to see on the humble A600, the gameplay perhaps does not quite match the level of technical excellence, but it is still the best platform hack-and-slash around. I am afraid you are going to have to buy this one too. Sorry.
87
P E R C E N T


Lionheart logo

Everyone loves a hero, especially if he moves well. Garth Sumpter blunders around with the latest...

Lionheart V aldyn, known to his friends as Lionheart, isn't your old-fashioned hero. He's got more in common with Oliver Reed than Errol Flynn. But that's the reason that the king has now contacted him - he's been singled out for his reckless courage and his known fierceness - to recover a holy relic that has been stolen by Norka, an enemy of the king. What makes his task so crucial is that the relic proves the king's right to rule and is due to be shown publicly in just three days' time.

Just by coincidence, the relic happens to share Valdyn's nickname, and the king informs him that it is his destiny to recover the Lionheart, thereby absolving himself of any regal guilt, and Valdyn of any excuses for not taking part in this mission. To reinforce his commitment, the king tells him that his beloved Ilene was turned to stone in the raid and the only antidote lies within his enemy's castle.

HEIGH-HO
And so, armed only with a sword, determination and seven continues, Lionheart sets off to find Norka. At the beginning of play you can set the difficulty level, try out the different tunes and even determine the joystick controls - you can set the game up to use a two-button joystick if you prefer. To take out his frustrations, our hero is equipped with a sword which he draws with a flourish when ever you hold down the fire button. Moving the joystick now has him make various sword-swinging attacks, but any successful attacks by the enemy reduce his energy, which is depicted by bright red hearts.

Valdyn's energy can be increased by picking up crystals as you go through the game, and even his original sword can be replaced with a better one as shown by the numerical value that appears next to it in the display. But combat is only one of his concerns - to traverse the various levels, he must use his athletic abilities too.
Scattered around Norka's land are energy crystals that are normally found in the trickier recesses of what ever level you may be on. There are platforms and steps, cut into trees and rocks, which Valdyn must ascend by jumping and climbing ropes. His jumps can also be measured for different heights and lengths. If you hold the joystick up longer, he jumps higher; if he's running down a slope when he jumps, he jumps further.

EN-GARDE!
Each level in Lionheart is stacked with danger and puzzles, all of which show off the character's animation. Small monsters, like the green maggots from the giant fly, just move along the ground and cannot be hit with a sword but must be dispatched with a squelching sweep kick. There really isn't anything new here - so why is the game so good? It's the attention to detail and feeling of quality that you get when you play. Animation is excellent.

Valdyn's teetering on a ledge when he needs to jump not only looks impressive but also becomes an integral part of the game. The fighting when he's actually hanging from a rope and especially when he's climbing onto the top of it to either turn tightrope walker or jump for an otherwise unattainable platform are all excellent and worthy of note. If you're a fan of arcade adventures, this game will be a welcome addition to your collection.

CU Amiga, April 1993, p.64

CUNNING STUNTS
Animation has some very nice touches. This sequence of shots can't hope to show the fluidity of movement, but on screen it really does look impressive.
Lionheart
1.   'If I can just...'
Lionheart
3.   'I should be able to pull myself onto the rope...'
Lionheart
2.   '...get my leg up here...'
Lionheart
4.   '...and make the jump onto the tree over there.'

THALION £27.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
THALION, 120 ANDERTON PARK RD, MOSELY BIRMINGHAM, B13 9DQ TEL:021 328 2762
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
OUT NOW
ARCADE ADVENTURE
IN HOUSE
JOYSTICK
4
1
YES
1Mb
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
86%
74%
79%
85%
Good looking, well-animated example of the genre.
OVERALL: 84%