Iron Lord logo

UBISOFT £24.99 joystick and mouse

After fighting all manner of heathens in the Holy Land for the last five years, the last thing a knight wants is to come home and find his father, the king, been overthrown by his wicked uncle. Fear and oppression rule the land.

Iron Lord from UbiSoft, which has taken literally years to complete, puts the player in just that situation. Your wicked uncle has gathered an army of hideous monsters and is reported to be about to mount an offensive against the normally peaceful province you call home.

Like a typical Cinemaware game, Iron Lord is a type of graphic adventure interspersed with arcade games. The adventure side of things has you riding your horse from one location to another, towns to castles to big houses, stopping off at the place and then entering various buildings and interacting with the people encountered. During this phase of the game the screen is divided into three sections. The left side of the screen shows a picture of the town you are in, while the top right gives you an aerial view of the town. Your character is represented by a small animated person viewed from above which you move around and into buildings (well, stand outside and press fire and you enter). Below this window, pieces of text appear giving you info on what is going on.

Most of this part of the game involves listening to the characters you meet and doing small jobs for them which will convince them that you are a jolly sound chap and that they really should do their utmost to help you raise an army which you can then lead into battle.

What will also convince the populace that you are a worthy knight is doing well in the arcade games. For example, winning the archery contest or arm wrestling the local champion in the pub will do your reputation a world of good.

When you finally get the army together, you can then take control of them and organise them in battle (fortunately, there is a game save option, so it is well worth saving it once you have got your army together). Come out the victor and you then have to face the final challenge in an evil labyrinth - ulp!

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

The pictures are all well drawn and the small animated window works fine. Some very nice touches include the horse galloping across the screen whenever you move from location to location. Well presented graphically and the sound effects complement it. Very nice.

LASTING INTEREST

The arcade sub-games are no push over, so it will take a while to mater them. The overall game task is also large and becomes more convoluted the further you get into the game. This will keep you going for some little while.

JUDGEMENT

The arcade bits are tough and add variety while the main quest in the game is well thought out and entertaining. It does tend to get a little repetitive due to the smallness of the game area, but overall it is not half bad and can get quite involving.


Iron Lord logo

UBI Soft, C64 £9.99 cassette £14.99 disk; £24.99 Amiga

Returning to France from brave exploits in the Holy Crusades, the Iron lord finds that things have not gone well in his absence - his favourite uncle has nabbed his throne!

He immediately decides to retake the throne and bring peace back to the land. The question is how? His tyrant uncle has many forces to hand and the only people who can help are those in the surrounding villages, and even they aren't that friendly.

Within the locality are seven locations to explore. Exploration is conducted by moving the character around a scrolling overhead map of the location.

The villages are strangely devoid of people wandering about, but searching the buildings can reveal such characters as a herbalist with items to sell or a swindler ready to con you out of your hard-earned gold coins.

An archery contest is to be found nearby where the reward for a keen eye is lots of cash. In the gambling hall more money can be won in the arm-wrestling and dice-throwing contest. All this cash is used for hiring soldiers and weapons to fight the uncle in a multiloaded wargame.

Throwing a spanner in the works are a number of knights prepared to kill Iron lord if they sight him. The knight fight is played out in 3-D strike when the shield appears and deflect any skull-splitting blows.

If the Lord manages to make enough money to buy an army, and also proves his worth in combat, then it's off to the Chateau to command the forces of good. Victory leads to a final chase through a massive underground labyrinth.


Phil King 'Defender of the Crown strikes again' is one of the first thoughts you may have upon seeing Iron lord. And indeed, some superb Cinemaware-style screens together with realistic sound effects, a mini-wargame, and maze game all bodes well. Interest falls away when you realise that there's little more than a dozen locations in the first level, and you begin to ask yourself, 'Is this all there is to it?'. Disk drive-less players could be in for more problems as the multi-load is very heavy on the 64. The Amiga game gets away with infrequent disk swapping but there's still quite a lot of disk accessing.
Robin Hogg From what I'd heard about Iron lord I was expecting a very deep Defender of the Crown-style game. It's just a surprise then to find the first half so barren, with just a few locations in each town where you meet people, take part in rather simple events, or go on mini-quests. The 64 version is well presented with a pleasant tune, very professional start-up, and an excellent, authentic graphic quality throughout.
The Amiga game's graphics aren't as impressive for the machine and the first part of the game is identical to the C64, taking no advantage of the extra memory to provide more depth. Still, there's plenty of game variety and both version prove playable.