Ivanhoe logo

OCEAN £24.99 * Joystick

The nefarious King John was a bit of a rogue in the Middle Ages when good King Richard was away crusading, spreading the good word and killing anyone who would not listen. It was a time of legends and legendary heroes - Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers and the star of this game, Ivanhoe.

As the knight in shining, it is your job to travel to Austria and rescue Richard the Lionheart from his imprisonment in a castle. That means travelling through five horizontally-scrolling areas taking on all sorts of nasty types who are in league with King John.

Armed with just a shield and a sword it is tough work making your way through the stages, fighting off the magicians who lob fireballs at you, the archers who hide in trees and the thugs who come at you with anything they can get their hands on.

As in most hack 'n' slash games, you can use a series of aggressive moves and non-aggressive moves, depending on whether you have the fire button depressed or not. There are also extra weapons to collect by killing certain yobs (like the ones in trees) including a bigger shield and a triple shot which has the strange effect of turning you into three Ivanhoes so you can attack front, back and overhead at once.

Unfortunately, all the extra weapons have a limited lifespan and you lose any extras once you lose one of your five lives.

Should you make it to the end of a level you are rewarded with the chance of a bonus fight against a large enemy, which gives you an extra life if you manage to slay him.


There has been a lot of noise made about the graphics of the game because some of the people who did the cartoon movie Asterix have worked on them. It shows, too, because the sprites and backgrounds are very impressive. Less impressive, however, is the animation, which is slightly jerky. The sound effects and music are somewhat less than awe inspiring.


This game is murderously tough, so it will take you a while to complete it. Unfortunately, all but the most determined players will give up the attept long before the final screen.


Looks great, plays mediocre. The gameplay is lacking in variety despite the quantity of different areas, so boredom sets in quickly. Sadly, Ivanhoe is not up to the high standard we have come to expect from Ocean.

Ivanhoe logo

Lange war es unterwegs, Oceans edler Ritter: Im zwölften Jahrhundert ist er ausgezogen, um Richard Löwenherz zu befreien - eigentlich hätten wir ihn schon vor Monaten zurückerwartet, aber erst jetzt ist er endlich bei uns in der Redaktion eingetroffen...

Fünf grafisch außergewöhnlich schöne Level umfaßt die mittelalterliche Befreiungstournee: Im ersten muß sich Ivanhoe durch einen Wald voller muskelbepackter Barbaren, Bogenschützen, Geier und sonstigem Gesindel kämpfen. Anschließend darf er im Alleingang ein Piratenschiff kapern, danach steht ein kleiner Ausritt auf dem Programm. Pferd und Reiter galoppieren von links nach rechts über den Screen, Hindernisse müssen übersprungen, Gegner und Extras mit Armbrust oder Lanze erlegt werden (erinnert leicht an "Kane" oder "Hillsfar").

Der nächste Level führt uns in die österreichische Stadt, in der Richie gefangengehalten wird. Hat man sich hier schließlich gegen die bösen Schergen von King John (Oberbösewicht) durchgesetzt, geht es im fünften und letzten Abschnitt in die Höhle des Löwenfängers: Ein total verschachteltes Labyrinth, das sich King John als Schloß ausgesucht hat. Zwischen den Leveln gibt es noch chice Bonussequenzen, wo Ivanhoe zum Duell gegen einen riesigen Widersacher antreten muß. Wer hier erfolgreich kämpft, erhält seine Belohnung in Form eines Zusatzlebens.

Bei einem solchen Spiel dürfen die Extrawaffen natürlich nicht fehlen, neben dem üblichen (Superschwert, Zusatzleben etc.) haben sich die Programmierer auch noch was Besonderes einfallen lassen: den dreifachen Ivanhoe! Dabei hüpft der Held in dreifacher Ausfertigung über den Bildschirm und verwirrt so Gegner und Spieler gleichermaßen. Ein Zeitlimit gibt es ebenfalls, das wird aber erst im Schlußlevel wirklich kritisch.

Die Grafik des Games ist einfach eine Wucht, traumhaft schön gezeichnet vom Anfang bis zum Ende. Ein paar Einschränkungen muß man dabei aber schon machen: der Screen wird nur zu 2/3 genützt, die Animationen sind recht grob (ergibt so ein Art "Kasperltheater-Effekt"), und das Scrolling in den Leveln 1, 2 und 4 rückelt. Level 3 scrollt perfekt, aber so schnell, daß einem davon schlecht wird, im fünften wird nur umgeschaltet.

Der Sound besteht aus verschiedenen Musikstücken, deren Qualität von sehr gut bis total düdelig reicht, die Effekte sind im allgemeinen gut. Was das Spiel aber endgültig zur Mittelmäßigkeit verurteilt, ist die schlecht konzipierte Steuerung: Gehen, Springen, Schwertschwingen und Schildbewegen sind so unglücklich angeordnet, daß man ständig mit der Handhabung der Spielfigur zu kämfpen hat.

Zudem weist das Game eine ganze Ecke unfairer Stellen auf. All das führt dazu, daß Ivanhoe doch nicht das erwartete Supergame ist, aber die sagenhaften Grafiken locken einen trotzdem wieder für ein schnelles Spielchen vor den Monitor. (mm)

Ivanhoe logo

Ocean £24.99

Did Lord Ivanhoe really have long, flowing blond locks, a quaff and a walk which makes Julian Clary - also known as The Joan Collins Fan Club - look as butch as Rambo? Is that fact?

What is a fact, according to Ocean France, is that he rescued Richard the Lionheart who was taken hostage while on a crusade in Middle East. And that is the scenario of this game.

In true French style the graphics of Ivanhoe are large, detailed, bright, colourful, cute and amusing. Check out these screenshots and you will see Ivanhoe has more character than a lot of other beat 'em ups I could name. The scrolling is also fast and silky smooth. But there is noth much in the way of animation. Sure, each character has a large variety of moves but they seem to flick between positions instead of moving smoothly.

As Ivanhoe you must undertake several quests before, hopefully rescuing King Richard. First, you must run through a forest to a port, capture a ship, then sail to the island where Richard is held captive. Next you must cross the island on your trusty steed, Stinger, avoiding axes, floating bombs, and finally search through the castle maze and free the King. Your reward will be a knighthood.

Each level is in two parts. The first is, in most cases, a left-to-right hack and slay. Attacks come from all round - and even from above! All have to be disposed of with your mighty sword. Some will fire missiles which can be deflected with your shield.

The second part pits you against one very tough, hard opponent. Win and you will be granted an extra life.

The sound is not too far behind the graphics in the quality stakes, either, with nice tunes and good screams, groans and smashes.

But what about Ivanhoe's playability? Basically it is not bad but some of the controls are a little slow to respond. But it is challenging with each opponent getting harder to defeat. However, the game play is a little repetitive and I found myself bored at times.

Ivanhoe is fun to play and worth seeing for the graphics. But what about buying? Yes - but you might not be playing it in two years time.

Ivanhoe logo

Ocean, £24.99

Deliver King Richard' might seem like an instruction more appropriate to a postman or a midwife than a knight, but it is Ocean France for 'rescue' and your task is certainly formidable. King Richard has been kidnapped by his evil brother, who's become very happy being King John of England while Richard fights Holy Crusades abroad. The warrior king has been imprisoned in a castle in Austria, which is even more boring than Switzerland.

Your quest will take you over five different regions: an English forest, a cross-channel boat trip, a ride from France to Austria, an Austrian town and finally the Castle. Most of the regions are packed with archers, sword-wielding barbarians and sorcerers. Walking right triggers them, so taking things slowly is a good idea as long as you remember the time limit. As you'd expect, Ivanhoe can crouch, jump and attack with his sword. More unusually, if you push the joystick diagonally without fire pressed Ivanhoe puts up his shield. You can then move the joystick in any direction to block blows with it.

Killing certain baddies reveals special weapons such as a bigger shield, Fire Sword (destroys all enemies when it flashes), Extra Life and a Triple which miraculously causes two other Ivanhoes to appear around our hero. These can be very useful as energy is very quickly lost. But should you hack through to the level's end, a bonus section is loaded in, in this static screen you must battle one or two types of superbaddie for an extra life.

There's more to the game than hack 'n' slay though. Level two has Ivanhoe on a fast galloping horse which must leap various obstacles, while Ivanhoe shoots enemy knights with a crossbow. Later on in this lengthy level he can pick up a lance to use on the villains. And the final level adds doors to the basic arcade action to create a challenging maze!

Phil King This is a bit of a disappointment coming from Ocean. The first level features repetitive hack 'n' slay action and the strange control method is frustrating, especially when you get stuck in shield mode. Later levels are an improvement, adding variety, but generally it's not of the high quality usually associated with Ocean products/ Graphics are detailed but jerkily animated with a very subtle (bland to you and me) colour scheme. The lengthy disk accessing on dying is also annoying and surely unnecessary on level one. I just hope Ocean France do a better job with Golden Boot.
Scorelord Ocean were showing off these superb graphics over six months ago. Drawn by an Asterix artist they are full of humour, originality and character. Ivanhoe himself may look more like a French hairdresser than a knight, but static this game compares even to Psygnosis masterpieces. Unfortunately once the graphics move things aren't quite so good - Ivanhoe moves from walking to attacking without frames of animation in between. But that's a minor problem, and the game is packed with variety in both graphics and gameplay. Level three is a really fun horse riding game, with Ivanhoe hanging off his saddle to make low shots with his crossbow, then even picking up a lance.
All in all, Ivanhoe seems like an 80%-plus game until you actually play it. Once you do the defensive posture, it makes controls fiddly and the tough arcade action more frustrating than enjoyable. Particularly daft is the fact that the birds on level one restore energy randomly - and usually not at all. Still, practice allows progress for the determined.