He's bold, he's brave, he's very, very good. He's

The Adventures of Robin Hood logo

MILLENNIUM * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Mouse/keyboard

You may not have not noticed, but Robin Hood is pretty hot property these days. A few years ago he was just a bloke who wore green leg warmers and a stupid hat in some distant age, remembered only in songs sung by beared men in real ale pubs with Aran sweaters and fishermen s' smocks, then suddenly he was transformed overnight into an international film star and all around celeb.
All I can say is that it's a good thing that Robin Hood looked like Kevin Costner, or they'd have had to get someone else for the film, and then where would he be?

Needless to say, this game has nothing to do with "Prince of Thieves", although there is a competition to win the video included with the game, but is instead based on the Olde English legends that spawned the original Robyn o' the Hoode. So don't expect to find Hollywood style stunts and chases, like the film. That's not to say that the game is without action, but it's action of a more sedate kind.

The game places you in the slightly sweaty tunic of Monsieur Hood, and asks that you merely elevate him to level of International Folk Hero. Ho ho ho. That should be easy, thought I, I'll just clobber some Normans, snog Marian and be home in time for a slap-up meal of dead stag. Oh boy, was I wrong. Let's take my first game as an example.

I started off happily enough, sat in my castle having a good old knees up with the Sherwood Posse. Then the Sheriff of Nottingham booted me out and made me an outlaw. I hung around for a bit thinking it might be some massive medieval Jeremy Beadle type prank but 'twas not.

So there I was. An outlaw. So I shot a few arrows around, got into a fight with a soldier and died. Not really an auspicious start for the Champion of the Oppressed, eh? What had gone wrong?

My first impressions of Robin Hood were "Looks like loads of fun, but what the hell am I supposed to do?". The instructions don't give anything away, merely telling you that there are many ways to end the game, some are failures, others are minor successes, or you could go the whole hog and kill the Sheriff, get the girl and save the world.

My first few endings were of the "complete and utter failure" type, with the peasants sniggering at me and calling me names. After a bit of experimentation though, I started to get the hang of it. I met Maid Marian (and even managed to snog her), I joined forces with Will Scarlet and even killed the Sheriff with a lucky arrow. Then I got beaten up by loads of soldiers and died. But it was too late, I was hooked.

Control of Robin is carried out via mouse and icons, in a manner similar to PowerMonger. You select the action you want and then click on the person or object you wish to act upon. It's a tried and tested formula, and it works quite well. There are time, however, when it can cause trouble. For instance, you have to click on two icons to run away from a soldier when he takes you a prisoner, and by the time you've done that you could well be dead. There's also a rather odd feature that means that sometimes Robin ignores what you ask him to do and does what he wants instead. This means that you can't afford to leave him alone in case he strolls off to get himself killed while yo make a cuppa.

The icons available are your basic "fight", "talk", "walk" variety, although other magical icons can be collected. Magic? Yup, magic. In this Robin Hood tale, the forces of Herne the Forest God are in play to give you magic rings and crystals to help you on your way. Another decidedly un-Robin icon is the "fireball" which can be obtained from a dragon(?) to allow you to strike your enemy down with. Very handy for getting rid of the Normans, that one.

The graphics are a bit on the tiny side, and Robin often blends in with the green backgrounds, but the lack of detail means that there's plenty of memory left for those cute little touches that make these sort of games special. The people in this game are independent. Each lives that of his own life, and you can watch them do it.

Some of the little scenes you can stumble across are absolutely brilliant, such as the funeral (complete with solemn music), the peasants poaching stag, and the rather sauce maiden taking a revealing dip in the river.

The sound back up the graphic touches perfectly. The tunes are wonderfully medieval with flutes and trumpets all over the shop, and there are plenty of them. Try having a chat with the Minstrel and seeing if he'll do requests! The sound effects are great too, if a little thin on the ground. The church bells and castle trumpets are especially worth a mention as they give you hints as to what's going on in other parts of the land.

Don't think that this is a one man job though. To survive in Sherwood you'll need to make plenty of friends, and keep the peasants on your side. Giving them money is a good way to boost your popularity, but you'll have to pinch it off the rich first. Somewhere along the line, you will have to try and gather the Merry Men together as well. As a bit of clue, I'll tell you that Will Scarlet can be found about to be hung at the castle gates. All you have to do is rescue the fella and he'll join up with you. As to where the others are, I haven't got the foggiest. I think I've spotted Friar Tuck trundling around, but I can't get him to join me. That's one of the strengths of this game. There's no lack of things to do. There will always be someone to talk to or fight with, the question is which do you do, and to which people?

The game is not without its problems. As I said before, controlling Robin is sometimes a chore, especially when he decides to do his own thing and tries to sneak back into his castle. Another sticky patch comes when you try and use your fabled longbow. As we all know, Robin was the Jockey Wilson of his time, but the forced perspective makes it hard to see what lies in your path and what doesn't.
Twice I managed to cold-bloodedly murder some of my supposed friends, just because I couldn't' see where I was firing.
The first time I tried to save Will from the gallows by shooting the hangman (just like the film) I ended up killing Will. The second time, I tried to shoot a bothersome rich bloke who wouldn't cough up his cash before he legged it into his castle, by my arrow missed by miles and killed Maid Marian as she stepped out for a morning stroll. I was gutted I can tell you.

While I'm in a niggly mood, just a quick moan about the stupid way that icons become unusable for a short time once selected. I can't understand why Robin has to hang around waiting to be able to speak again when he's chatting up Marian.
It's at its worst when you get taken prisoner and find you can't escape because the fight icon can't be selected. Quite why this happens is beyond me, as it simply serves to spoil the flow of the game.

So, summing up time. Robin Hood is a novel and reasonably effective way of converting a tricky subject to computer. It's a good fun game with plenty of scope and tons of lastability, but it's slightly marred by some silly little bugs. Not quite the stuff Gamer Golds are made of, but well worth a look all the same.


To assist you in your green stockinged gallavanting, Gamer now presents the guide to gorgeous icons.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Bow-icon BOW AND ARROW
Oddly enough, this will make Robin fire an arrow in the direction he is facing.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Sword-icon SWORD
Click on this and then on a person and Robin will lay into them with his chopper (fnar).
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Eye-icon EYE
This scrolls the screen a little further in the direction Robin is facing, to allow you to see what lies ahead.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Heart-icon HEART
For some reason this induces Robin to break into a run. Perhaps All Bran would be more appropriate?
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Lips-icon LIPS
Click on this and then on person and Robin will tickle them with his silver tongue (ahem).
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Give hand-icon OPEN HAND
The 'Be nice' icon, click on this, then a person and Robin will be nice to them.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Take hand-Icon CLOSE HAND
The 'Spill my pint' icon. Clicking on this and a person makes Robin threaten them.

The Adventures of Robin Hood logo

Robin Hood fever is still gripping the nation. But in his latest incarnation on the Amiga, can our hero swash his buckle with the best?

Is there anyone in the country who hasn't heard of Robin Hood? Folk hero, defender of the good and archer extraordinaire - a man not afraid to wear green tights and swash his buckle in public. By using Robin as the main person of a game the difficult job of creating a central character that people like and can relate to, has already been done and (hopefully) more time can be spent on getting the gameplay right rather than just setting the scene.

Despite the timing, this new game is nothing to do with the recent Hollywood epic Robin Hood - Prince of Thiefs (!). This Robin owes more to the Harold Lloyd school of slapstick than the Kevin Costner school of acting.

I shot the Sheriff
The scene is set by a short demo sequence showing Robin being thrown out of his own castle by the newly-arrived Sheriff of Nottingham (the game takes more than a few liberties with the traditional stories of Robin Hood). So there Robin sits, depressed and alone outside his own castle with only a sword and long-bow for company.

To win in the conventional sense of the word means getting the Sheriff out of the castle and to reassume your rightful place as. The prime winning position involves getting the castle, the girl and the adoration of the people. Achieving this is not too difficult, once you begin to understand the mechanics of the world and the motivation of the people. It does owe a lot to being in the right place at the right time - let the wrong person hang and not only will the people turn against you, but you could lose a valuable ally.

However in this version of the folk tale, winning is only half the objective. Talking to people, following them and (occasionally) relieving them of their gold are a major part of the game. The most enjoyable part is the interaction with the other characters and the exploration of the countryside.

Almost every person in the land has his or her own characteristics and lifestyle. So you can follow and interact with each character. Follow the poachers as they stalk, shoot, cook and eat the deer, watch the farmers sow the seed, hoe the land and harvest the grain as the year progresses. To get full enjoyment from the game you should take time off from trying to 'win' and wander around the countryside: have a pint in the local pub, stay and watch the monks burying the dead end (and the accompanying funeral service); even watch the village women bathing nude in the holy spring!

The playing area is only eight screen pieces square, but because the characters are quite small, a lot of detail is packed into the playing area. There's a town complete with castle, a monastery and church, two outlying villages, a 'secret' hideaway island, a hermit, an archery range, a dragon's lair (complete with dragon) an inn and, of course, the gallows outside the castle gate.

The characters are small to the point of functionality and occasionally get lost in the landscape. Having said that the animation is pretty good and its easy to tell characters apart such as a fat, middle-aged monk from the rest of his brothers. Atmosphere is piled on by the excellent early music soundtrack by the inimitable Richard Joseph (of Mega Lo Mania, Cadaver and Magic Pockets fame).

Unlike most adventure/exploration games, you don't actually control Robin all the time. Or rather you do, but he is apt to have ideas of his own and wander off to do something else. This can be useful as he often seems to know what's about to happen before you do. It can be a pain in the butt when you've carefully positioned him to intercept somebody and he wanders off in the wrong direction. In addition to suggesting a direction for Robin to walk, there are a number of other actions you can ask your hero to perform.


Unlike most adventure games, you don't actually control Robin. Or rather you do, but he's apt to have ideas of his own.

But not the Deputy
Shooting his bow, drawing his sword and attacking another character, robbing, giving and speaking are all part of Robin's repertoire. You suggest Robin to do these things, because in may ways our hero has a life of his own. You can ask him to talk to somebody, but you cannot control what he says, ask him to fight, but not influence the outcome once Robin has thrown himself into the fray.

Along the way, it is possible for Robin to acquire new objects and skills by doing certain things at the right time. All are useful and some almost indispensable in the fight against the Sheriff and his men. Some are easy to acquire, others involve an incredibly cryptic series of actions. For examples if you manage to persuade a certain portly friar into joining you, he will give you a monk's habit which is an excellent way of wandering around the town without attracting undue attentions from the guards. I'm not going to tell you what they all are as half the fun is the acquisition of new objects, but if you look for unusual happenings and talk to everyone, you should do well.

Hollyweird Hijinks
Robin Hood is fun - an enjoyable legend-assisted romp through the Greenwood with as motley a cast of supporting players as you would find in many a Hollywood matinee movie. Despite the richness of gameplay, it falls short of being a classic game. Millennium have spent time developing this new style of game and, unfortunately, the plot doesn't have a depth and complexity equal to the game system.

Determined players will 'win' in to or three weeks of determined play, although there are enough options and incidents to keep curious players interested for a while after that.

Millennium are rumoured to be planning more games based on the same 'game engine'. Now that the system has been developed and there's more time to be spent on the plot line we should look forward to seeing a range of games with real depth and gameplay that are as successful and popular as Incentive's Freescape system.


SETTING THE SCENE IN STYLE
Robin Hood uses a variety of graphic interludes to set the scene and illustrate the plot. Some of them herald good news, others not so good, but all are stron on atmosphere.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin is forced to hang around for a while.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
"For spring bade the sparrows pair..."
The Adventures of Robin Hood
"Winter is icummen in..."
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Not your common-or-garden Parish Priest.

The Adventures of Robin Hood logo

Frohe Kunde für alle Witwen und Waisen - der Rächer der Enterbten ist wieder unterwegs! Gleich mit zwei Filmen kommt der Mann in Grün dieses Jahr in unsere Kinos, und die unvermeidliche Versoftung ist auch schon fertig. Hier ist es also, das Spiel zur Legende.

Vor rund 800 Jahren jagte der böse Sheriff von Nottingham den Ritter Robin von Locksley aus seiner schönen Burg, worauf sich der frischgebackene Ex-Lord ohne festen Wohnsitz im Sherwood Forest verkroch. Dort zog er sich eine grüne Strumpfhose an, setzte ein passendes Hütchen auf und war fortan damit beschäftigt, das englische Bruttosozialprodukt neu zu verteilen.

So jedenfalls will es die Legende, hier ist es jedoch gar nicht so einfach, ein Volksheld zu werden: erstens braucht man dafür die Hilfe verläßlicher Freunde, zweitens muß man das Vertrauen der Bevölkerung gewinnen, und driteens möchte unser Held ja auch noch seine Burg zurückerobern und sich am Sheriff rächen. Leider werden beide hervorragend bewacht...

Durch die isometrische 3D-Perspektive erinnert das Game auf den ersten Blick stark an "Populous", aber das Spielprinzip ist dann doch ganz anders. Über diverse Icons bringt man Robin zum laufen, Schießen (mit Pfeil und Bogen), Prügeln, Reden und Objekte aufsammeln; es handelt sich hier also mehr um ein actionbetontes Adventure.

Ein eigener Screen zeigt die Werte für Geld, Energie, Stärke und Popularität an, besonders letzteres ist wichtig. Wer nicht immer schön den Armen hilft, hat auch die öffentliche Meinung nicht auf seiner Seite, und dann hat es z.B. gar keinen Sinn, die Burg zu stürmen - versucht man es trotzdem, erlebt man eine böse Überraschung! Anhänger um sich zu scharen, ist ebenfalls überlebensnotwendig, denn sonst endet jede Verhaftung beinahe automatish mit dem Tod. Und weil auch der tugendsamste Held nicht immer bloß Gutes tun kann, darf man zur Entspannung und die holde aber widerspenstige Maid Marian werben.

Was Robin Hood von anderen Digi-Abenteuern unterscheidet, ist eine Extraportion Humor, der Ablauf in Echtzeit, und daß die Bewohner der Spielwelt notfalls auch ohne unseren Helden auskommen: Die guten Leute besuchen den markt, bauen eine Kathedrale, singen, tanzen, und gehen auf die Jagd, egal ob Robin Däumchen dreht oder einen Überfall nach dem anderen veranstaltet.

Die optische Präsentation des Programms mag auf die Fotos nicht sonderlich aufregend aussehen, aber in der Bewegung macht sie wesentlich mehr her. Besonders die Animationen der (winzigen) Menschen sind wirklich gelungen! Die flotte Titelmusik und die atmosphärischen FX können ebenfalls überzeugen, gleiches gilt für die Handhabung. Allerdings mit einer Einschränkung: Die kombinierte Maus-/Tastatursteuerung ist manchmal etwas umständlich.

Alles in allem bietet Robin Hood aber abwechslungsreichen Adventurespaß - dank der kommoden Schwierigkeitsgrades und der nicht allzugroßen Spielwelt auch für weniger erfahrene Abenteurer empfehlenswert! (Kate Dixon)


The Adventures of Robin Hood logo

We've had both the American and British movies, the No.1 song, and even a TV ad. Now (at last) it's the turn of the Amiga.

In computer games, as in movies, there seem to be two main ways to portray Robin Hood. You can go for the strong, sensitive and square jawed approach -as Kevin Costner did (more or less) in the recent movie - or you can go absolutely mad and camp the whole thing up outrageously. Millennium have taken the second route with this game, and happily, it works a treat Here Robin Hood is a bumbling idiot, wandering around telling everybody he's depressed, wearing unfeasibly tight tights, and spending most of his time chasing after his allegedly merry men...

Robin Hood (the game) works in a3D isometric view - not unlike most of these god sim things, in fact - which scrolls around a fair section of merry olde England, including Notthingham Castle, a good dollop of Sherwood Forest and, erm, some fields. An eight by eight square, it's populated by some forty characters, each of whom has his or her own distinct personality (although none are especially complex, it has to be said) - the Normans are brutal and thick, the peasants are fickle and thick, and the merry men tend to be loyal and, well, thick.

The merry men are all there - and all good value entertainment wise - as is the delectable Maid Marian, the poisonous sheriff, and all your favourite supporting characters, as well as (for no easily justifiable reason) a fire breathing dragon.

ONCE UPON A DEEP, DARK FOREST
The plot begins with our disposed hero dumped on the doorstep of his castle by the wicked sheriff. Since the Robin Hood story has been drummed into most of us since we were about three, it doesn't take much working out to realise roughly what you've got to do - recruit some followers, redistribute the local wealth (using an exciting new scheme called 'daylight robbery'), regain the castle, kill the villains, get hitched to Marian, and, in the course of all this, become even more immensely popular with the locals than you already are. It's all in a day's work for your average medieval champion of the people.

Of course, in order to do any of this you're going to have to be able to move your character around the countryside - your controls are in the form of a column of icons down the left hand side of the screen. By clicking on the lips thingy you can talk to another character (using faintly hilarious comic book style speech bubbles), while clicking on the sword helps you disembowel him, and so on (see the icons box elsewhere in the review).


This is one of those adventures that you really immerse yourself in.

Character interaction is at the core of this adventure, though your role is fairly passive for the most part; while you can choose who you wish to converse with (of course) the game will take care of the appropriate words.
So, while chatting up Marian, Robin will deliver a smooch line of sickening romantic fiddlefaddle ("The sight of a pretty maiden does lift my heart greatly" or something similar), while, when grappling with Normans, Robin will start shouting fave medieval put-downs of the "Got you, varlet" variety. Hardcore adventurers may well find this a bit restrictive and really rather silly, but then this isn't a hardcore adventure and was never meant to be. While not as witty or well thought out as the speech in, say, Monkey Island, the effect is lightweight, entertaining and really quite jolly, serving the purposes of the gameplay admirably.

So how do you progress? Well, mostly by simply being in the right place to take part in the right event - or talk to the right person - at the right time. Doing things in the correct order is all-important - for example, terminating the sheriff before you've won over Marian and the locals is a stupid move, while saving Will Scarlett from the hangman's noose is a smart one. Screw up and you'll either die or see your popularity ratings - you have various energy bars you've got to juggle with throughout the game - take a nasty dive.

You know things are going well when certain characters present you with (immensely useful) gifts in return for doing them some favour. You'll have to find out how to win these treasures (seven in all) yourself, but suffice to say, some are more easily attainable than others.

Impressively, Millennium have gone to some trouble to ensure that events seem to be taking place in a believable medieval world. While you spend your time walking around, meeting new people, slaying wicked Normans, and robbing fat-cat merchants, all around you get the sense of a thriving community full of people happily getting on with their lives. Obvious to your struggles, peasants will be tilling the land, while Norman soldiers go about their gormless patrols (a task to which they seem well suited).

ALL IS NOT WELL IN THE FOREST
If this all sounds peachy then, yes it is - to a point. Unfortunately the game has a number of problems that you'll stumble across almost immediately. For a start, everyone is small to the extent of being Very Very Small Indeed. So small, in fact, that it's sometimes hard to see just who is who. This isn't always too much of disaster, but it does niggle.

Another problem is with the sequencing of events. If you save somebody's life and get caught by the Normans in the process, your pal will still be singing praises of your bravery while you are swinging from the gallows. Clearly, events overlapping often create absurd situations, which can be irritating - though, to be honest, most of the time they merely add to the camp appeal of the game.

In fact, the whole thing is packed with little mistakes or quirks which by rights should be annoying - but aren't. The inhabitants of Nottinghamshire can't seem to work out if they should speak in classic Olde English, 20th Century Californian, or even BBC English circa 1935, for instance.
You get phrases which have only been in currency for twenty years ("hey dude") jammed next to words which only a genuine Anglo Saxon could get away with ("methinks", say), creating an odd effect that sometimes seems deliberate, sometimes accidental, and sometimes just a little bit crap. Still, if Kevin Costner can get away with it in Prince Of Thieves, I suppose Millennium can too...

In fact, the most surprising thing is just how much this game manages to get away with. Things which would annoy immensely elsewhere instead prove to be merely slightly irritating here - or sometimes even less than that, coming across as more a charming little idiosyncrasy than a fault at all.

There are a good 30 or so hours of gameplay here, but even if you finish the game quickly there's enough to be seen and done to make simply exploring it a pleasure on its own. This is one of those 'blanket' adventures that you really immerse yourself in, rather than a linear problem solver, and as far as I'm concerned that's all to the good. I'm no great adventure player, but here is a game I've really enjoyed, and I dare say that anyone would. While it's not as challenging or original or funny as, say, Mega Lo Mania, this is a worthy outing for England's most famous hero, executed with sufficient with to make it one of the autumn's more noteworthy releases.


SEASONS GREETINGS FROM SHERWOOD FOREST
Time may fly, but Robin and his merry men continue to wear unfeasibly tight tights. Oh yes, they also continue to take from the rich and give to the poor. Robin Hood indicates the passing of time with some fetching picture postcards...
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Summer picture
Hmm, there don't seem to be too many trees in this forest (oh, this is summer by the way...)
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Autumn picture
...Which would make Errol Flynn-style branch-leaping antics pretty tricky (not to say extremely dangerous).
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Winter picture
Oh, that last one was autumn by the way, and this here's winter. Pretty isn't it? (In fact, I'd say they all were).
TAKE CONTROL IN SHERWOOD
A quick guide to the Robin's (rather blurry) trial by icon.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Bow-icon Bow: Fires arrow in a straight line, but due to the tiny size of characters, seems to be quite arbitrary in who gets hit. Not a great weapon, but becomes more useful with practice.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Sword-icon Sword: Always useful for killing Normans, but won't help you if there are more than a couple of bad guys. Try not to kill too many people, as this rarely offers any benefits.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Heart-icon Heart: Will allow you to run quickly but wastes energy. Only orth using if someone's about to stretch your neck.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Lips-icon Lips: Allows you to talk to other characters. Some are more communicative than others.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Give hand-icon Give hand: Use to give gold to the poor.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Take hand-Icon Take hand: Use to take gold from the rich, or gifts from your allies.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Directions-icon Moves the hero about (although you can simply point and click on screen, or use the cursor keys).
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Health-icon State of Health: Puts you into the gauge screen, where you can check your bravery, popularity, strength and energy ratings.

The Adventures of Robin Hood logo

Old legends and myths never die. They lurk deep within the collective subconscious, subtly changing as each successive generation rediscovers and reinterprets them, adapting the tales to their own needs and desires. Eventually the facts behind the fiction - if there ever were any in the first place - have become obscured or lost.

Right now one of England's most famous legends is hot property again. Having two major movies based on Robin and his Merry Men released this summer has done nothing to harm his popularity. Hurrah for Hollywood!

Even some members of the environmental movement have claimed Robin as their own, suggesting his origins may be found in the ancient woodland spirit commonly known as the Green Man. And what colour gives you more street credibility today?

Software houses have never been known for their reluctance to cash in on a good licence or the publicity generated in some other entertainment field. And Robin Hood is a gift. Imagine, all that free publicity and there's no copyright problems.
Millennium haven't been slow to act. This game was originally going to be a Wild West-based Populous-style extravaganza. So cowboy gear has been swapped for green tights, guns for bows and arrows, cacti for oak trees and Wild West towns for medieval English villages. One mythical environment changed into another, in fact.

The game is set, as tradition dictates, in and around Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. Earl Robin of Loxley is the rightful owner of the ancient castle of Nottingham. Life for the nobleman is good.
But then disaster strikes. Earl Robin is dispossessed of his home by the new Sheriff of Nottingham, outlawed and condemned to the life of a common criminal.
Life for the peasants is also not so good. Crippling taxes and brutal punishment meted out by the Norman overlords makes life a misery. Poverty, hunger and disease are the constant companions of the poor. And so this epic game opens up with Robin wandering, exploring and surviving, dedicated to regaining his rightful inheritance and destroying the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The game play area is presented in isometric three-dimensional style. Movement, communication, action and interaction is all icon-controlled. These are clearly displayed down the left side of the screen.
At the outset of the game you have icons for bow and arrow; sword; eye, which scrolls the screen; heart, for fast - but energy-sapping movement; mouth, for communication; an open hand for giving objects; a closed hand for taking objects; and movement arrows. The staff meters Robin's popularity with the people.

Robin's forest credibility rating - low to begin with - is essentially the key to the game. On his own he has no real chance of obtaining his revenge. Avoiding capture by the sheriff's guards, he must recruit his Merry Band of men and gain the support of the peasants. Essentially, Robin does this by taking from the rich, giving to the poor and generally being their champion But this is no hack 'n' slash adventure. Robin must interact with other characters. Many of the familiar characters from the Robin Hood myth are present - Little John, Friar Tuck and, of course, Maid Marion. Hint: Get Marion to fall in love with you.
Many of the encounters are very traditional. For instance, Robin meets little Jon while attempting to pass him. Neither will give way. A fight ensues which Robin loses, but in losing the contest he wins a friend.

'The whole of the game runs in real-time', says Ian Saunter, Millennium director and the designer of the gaming system. 'The characters are going about their business all the time. It's a genuine real-time adventure. The system checks all the time to see they are doing something logical'.

Unless it's obvious that a character encountered in the game is hostile, it is always best to try talking to them. They may have useful information and, perhaps more importantly, some will give you new icons, such as a horn for summoning the Merry Men; a disguise; a map which shows you the whole of the game environment and the whereabouts of everyone. It also pays to keep communicating with the characters.

It is important that Robin behaves properly. It's no good killing and robbing the rich and poor alike and keeping all the loot. Robbing the rich and giving the goodies back to the poor, while still technically a crime, merely adds to your reputation Unselfish acts of heroism all earn respect.

Robin Hood is a huge game, attractive to the eye and ear and immensely playable. Richard Joseph's music and sound effects enhance the medieval atmosphere.
One thing is certain. Long after this game becomes forgotten in history and Kevin Costner is a faded movie star, the legend of Robin Hood will still be around, the myth as powerful as ever.


ROBIN HOOD: MAN AND MYTH
  • Many of Robin Hood's adventures ar based on ballads and poems from the late Middle Ages. But Robin Hood is not named as the hero.
  • The earliest known reference to Robin Hood is in 1377 in Langland's Piers Plowmon.
  • Maid Marion and Friar Tuck were incorporated into the Robin Hood myth from other tales towards the end of the 15th Century.
  • The belif that Robin Hood lived during the reign of Richard the Lionheart gained currency in the early 16th Century. Medieval legend says he lived in the reign of a King Edward - which one is unknown - but Edward the I's reign did not begin until 1272.
  • First mention of Robin's elevation to the personage did not happen until the time of Elizabeth I.
  • Tradition says Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. But the earliest sources suggest it may well have been in Barnsdale in South Yorkshire.