Thursday, June 16, 2022

Game 459: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

    
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
United States
Sculptured Software, Inc. and B.I.T.S., Ltd. (developers); Virgin Games (publisher)
Released 1991 for NES, 1993 for Game Boy
Date Started: 1 June 2022
Date Ended: 5 June 2022
Total Hours: 5
Difficulty: Moderate -Hard (3.5/5)
Final Rating: 23
Ranking at Time of Posting: 194/460 (42%)
    
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), starring Kevin Costner (who, unlike some other Robin Hoods, does not speak with an English accent), may be one of the dumbest adaptations of the legend, but it will always have a special place in my heart. In the summer of 1991, I was attending AIT training for the Army Reserves in Fort Gordon, Georgia. As someone who bristles at even minor constraints, I found Army training difficult--hopefully the closest I will ever come to being in jail. AIT was easier than basic, partly because we had weekends free, and as soon as the drill sergeant announced "Dismissed!" on Friday evening, I jumped in a cab and headed for the local movie theater in Augusta. I spent weekend after weekend that summer watching mostly the same movies over and over again: Terminator 2, The Naked Gun 2½, Backdraft, The Rocketeer, Doc Hollywood, Regarding Henry, The Doctor, and Robin Hood. I probably haven't seen it since then, but I think I could still rewrite the screenplay from memory.
 
This video game tie-in is a rare (for the era) NES title created by a U.S. developer: Sculptured Software, based in Salt Lake City. Founded in 1984, the company specialized in action, sports, and racing games for 1980s microcomputers. At the end of the decade, they pivoted to console development and never looked back. They had no experience with RPGs except for handling the Commodore 64 port of Microillusions' Faery Tale Adventure in 1988, but they smartly hired Mike Breault (Pool of Radiance) to help design the game. Originally titled The Legend of Robin Hood, it was slated for a 1990 release through Mastertronic's Acadia Software label. (This prototype version can be found online and on YouTube.) Publication was held up by Mastertronic's merger with Virgin Games, by which point the forthcoming film had been announced. Virgin licensed the new name from Morgan Creek Productions and mandated changes to the game's plot and graphics to better fit the film. The result is an odd half-adaptation that both needs the film to explain some of its plot developments but diverges from the film in numerous places.
    
As you may know if you've read much about Robin Hood, the reality of any historical character of that name is hotly debated. Most of the historical references date from the reigns of Edward I (1272-1307) and Edward II (1307-1327), although there are some that go back to the 1260s. The earliest fictional ballads have him active during the reign of an unnumbered "Edward," which could be as late as 1377. (Edward IV reigned from 1461-1470, but by then historical ballads of Robin Hood had already appeared.) Ballads and stories start to appear in complete form in the late fifteenth century. From the earliest, the Sheriff of Nottingham is the primary antagonist. Other characters, like Friar Tuck and Maid Marian, are added to the legend as the years pass.
       
That time is called "pretty much all of human history up to the Enlightenment."
    
In 1598, playwright Anthony Munday, a contemporary of Shakespeare, wrote two plays that rolled the dates of Robin Hood's life back to the reign of Richard the Lionheart (1189-1199), and specifically his 1190-1194 absence on the Third Crusade and subsequent captivity. It is Munday who makes Robin a dispossessed nobleman, specifically the Earl of Huntingdon. In 1795, an English historian named Joseph Ritson assembled a volume of all the Robin Hood stories and ballads he could find. In a preface, without much evidence, he argued that Robin Hood was born Robert Fitzooth in the village of Locksley in Nottinghamshire and that he had "some sort of pretension" to the earldom of Huntingdon. Based on Ritson's account, the character appeared in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (1818) as "Robin of Locksley."
      
An axe doesn't seem like the right torture instrument for this situation.
      
The game follows the movie's curious choice to accept the Third Crusade setting (specifically, 1194) but to eliminate the character of King John. We are made to believe that the Sheriff of Nottingham himself has his eyes on the English throne, as if such a thing were remotely possible. The fractured development of the game is evident in the backstory, in which you, as Robin Hood, "were fighting in the Crusades when your friend Peter Dubois was captured and imprisoned for stealing bread." You try to free him by taking the blame yourself only to find yourself in prison beside him. This is a silly misinterpretation of the opening scenes of the film, in which Robin and Peter are prisoners of war, and Peter is accused of stealing bread from another prisoner. Anyway, the game begins in the "Arab prisons," in a cell where Robin watches his friend being tortured by a man with an axe. A sword lies temptingly on a nearby hearth, and your first task of the game is to snatch it and whack the guard, who dies in one hit. Peter, looking like a fuzzy Rod Stewart, proclaims that he is "free at last!" and joins the party. Searching the guard reveals the key to the cell.
      
Thank God Almighty.
            
The game uses an axonometric perspective with (aside from the portraits) acceptable graphics. It transcends its hydlike roots by offering a fairly complex set of commands accessible with the START button, including "Talk," "Look," "Take," "Search," and "Player." The latter brings up a character and inventory screen with an Ultima VI-esque paper doll for equipping weapons, helmets, armor, leggings, and boots. (Regrettably, only some of these are ever used.) Maneuvering around this screen, pretending the pad is a mouse and the "A" button is a mouse button, is a little annoying, but as good as could be accomplished with a controller. Robin starts at Level 1 with no experience, 100 hit points, and no gold. Everything you carry adds to your encumbrance and decreases agility.
      
The game's menu.
      
Azeem is chained in the next cell. You have your first role-playing choice when you choose to free him, but you can't win if you don't. (Azeem was created for the film, although perhaps based on a character from the Robin of Sherwood TV series named Nasir. In an original draft, Azeem was "Aslan.") He tells you of a secret exit beyond another door, and a hidden key to that door.
      
This doesn't look much like Morgan Freeman.
      
Opening the door puts you face-to-face with another guard, which instigates the game's dueling system. Many enemies are fought on the main screen with a simple slash of a sword, but some boss fights take place on a side-view screen in which you can move back and forth, attack, duck, and jump. Obstacles like tables and bridges offer both advantages and disadvantages. While I appreciate the complexities of the system, I found that if I just faced the enemy and kept pressing "attack," he'd walk into my sword often enough for me to win.
    
The "duel" screen.
       
I played long enough to note that the sound effects were adequate, then turned the sound off. Like most Nintendo games of the era, it features constant music that you can neither mute (independently of the sound) or diminish. If I had been a father during this era, I would have banned the console for this alone. 
    
Escaping the dungeons puts you in a maze of catacombs. Most of the game takes place in mazes like this. Monsters (here, Saracen guards) spawn continually, but never more than three or four on the screen at a time. (The game's use of relentless spawning recalls the developer's previous experiences with Faery Tale Adventure.) If you're aligned appropriately, attack with the right timing, and don't let any creep up behind you, you can inevitably kill them before they can get to you, although sometimes it takes several hits. When they die, enemies explode in a satisfying (if slightly unrealistic) display of blood and bones. They occasionally leave corpses on the screen, which is always a sign that you can search them for some item or another.

Two enemies approach from the north as a third one finishes exploding from my blade. Nearby, someone has dropped an apple.
      
When your dexterity fails, enemies strike their blows, and you lose hit points. These are easily replenished with food, bandages (which comically look like Band-Aids), and potions frequently dropped by enemies or found in the corners of the mazes. I mostly found I was so overloaded with these items that I could use them as soon as I found them.
 
Occasionally, at scripted moments, the game takes you into a mass combat in which all characters in the party appear on the screen at the same time, fighting larger masses of foes. You control one character while the others roam around, attacking on their own. It's the only time where allies fight and lose hit points, but they can't permanently die.
 
Mass combat at the exit. The white, red, and green(?) figures are allies; the blue(?) ones are enemies.
     
No matter what type of combat you're fighting--regular, dueling, or mass--combat is relatively easy. The difficulty with this game comes from the accumulation of small mistakes. There's no way to save your progress. After you die, you can hit "continue" to start over again at the beginning of the level, but only twice. For a game that doesn't allow saving, its overall length is a bit unsupportable. I suppose I occasionally had five free hours as a kid, but it's pretty rare today. Thank the gods for emulators with save states.
       
When your third life is lost.
     
After you kill about 20 enemies in the mass combat, Peter dies a scripted death. Title cards relate how Robin and Azeem spent 10 months finding their way back to England. Action picks up again in a forest "near Hadrian's Wall," which I am obliged to note is nowhere near Locksley or Nottingham. An old man relates the situation.
 
Apparently, in this game, the enemy's name is "Sheriff Nottingham."
    
The game from here is extremely linear, with almost painfully small areas to explore and quests that resolve in minutes. At Hadrian's Wall, which has maybe six screens, you find a few items, including your first bow, and rescue Little John's son from Sir Guy of Gisbourne in a mass combat (Guy escapes at the end). The portrait of Guy looks more like the Sheriff from the film (Alan Rickman), and later the portrait of the Sheriff looks like the film's Guy (Michael Wincott).
 
You look more like the Sheriff.
      
A quick transition forest leads to Castle Locksley. Robin promises Azeem hospitality but is dismayed to find that the castle has been sacked and ruined, his father crucified above the entry door. The castle is swarming with, I don't know, wild dogs or wolves or something. Bats and rats are also a problem. In a side-chamber, you find Duncan, Robin's old servant, who has been blinded. He joins the party (you can equip him, and he will actually fight) and gives Robin his father's medallion. A title card relates that the trio bury Robin's father.
    
Well, this is gruesome.
    
Moving west, you reach Maid Marian's Castle. I had to look up a hint to find that wearing the Locksley medallion is the only way to convince the guard to let you in. You can find chainmail and some potions in the castle, but no combats. Eventually, you meet Marian and give her Peter's ring. (She doesn't attack Robin in armor as in the film.) She suggests that you go hide in Sherwood forest. The Sheriff's men raid the castle after the conversation, and you must fight your way free. Some of the men have crossbows for the first time, which adds a challenge to combat. You get a saddle from Marian and have to "use" it next to a horse to make your getaway.
      
How is this remotely possible? Where is John? Where is the Great Council? How were the chancery and exchequer persuaded to go along with this?
     
There is now one of two horse riding sequences in which you flee through the forest ahead of the Sheriff's men. You have to jump at vital moments to avoid obstacles, not unlike the similar minigame in Hillsfar (1989). The problem here is that mistiming a jump results in a death. I can imagine that back in the day, many players who skillfully avoided death in combat met their demise on the other side of a rock. It must have been infuriating.
       
I know I'm colorblind, but are these rocks blue?
     
I have no idea what kind of animal was attacking me as I explored Sherwood Forest. Giant rats, maybe. The forest maze brings you to a bridge, where you're challenged by Little John. This brings you to the second duel screen of the game. There's a similar scene in the movie, of course, but both combatants fight with staves in the film, while here, Robin has whatever you've equipped him with. Robin's sword has a much longer reach than Little John's staff, so the battle is fairly easy. Upon your victory, Little John joins the party, bringing a staff that spins continuously when you hold down the "A" button, which makes you effectively immune to any enemy that relies on a melee attack.
      
Isn't that just like a commoner? Brings a stick to a sword fight.
      
You're automatically taken to Sherwood forest, where several Merry Men are busy chopping down trees and planning a camp. From this point, every time you leave Sherwood, you end up going directly to your next quest. This means you can't backtrack to any previous areas, which has some unfortunate consequences if you fail to pick up a crucial item. 
    
Time with your new friends is interrupted by the arrival of a man who begs you to rescue his fiancée from the evil baron who has kidnapped her. This is the part where the game starts to diverge from the film a bit. There's a small forest area that you have to conquer before you get to the castle.
    
This is what Robin Hood looks like, by the way.
      
The baron's castle is the most colorful and detailed map of the game, and it features more of the crossbow enemies. There were lots of bits of furniture that I would have liked to search, but the constant spawning of enemies ruins the fun of exploration. The baron is getting married in a chapel on the first floor, but you have to fight your way up to the second floor to find a letter from the baron to the Sheriff of Nottingham, admitting that the bride has been kidnapped. There's a mass combat on the second floor rendered almost too simple with the bow. The baron capitulates after a duel.
       
Finding a crucial piece of evidence.
      
Returning to Sherwood, Robin finds a new quest: wild boars destroying the fields of nearby villagers. You fight through a small forest map with a few wild boars before encountering the chief boar in a small hut with a skeleton. The staff makes the boar fight trivial; he just keeps advancing into the spinning staff and getting knocked back. Searching the skeleton--which looks just like those in Ultima VII--produces Locksley Armor, a Locksley Bow, and a bag of gold. Who was this guy? The Locksley Bow fires a burst of three arrows at a time, which is a marginal improvement over hitting the "A" button three times rapidly.
    
Just like in the movie.
    
You return to Sherwood and find that the Merry Men have been hard at work building tree huts. One of them tells you that a fellow has gone missing in the woods. In a forest map bisected by a river, you find him dead by a well. A letter from Mortianna, the Sheriff's witch (unnamed in the film, I think) says "Let this be a warning." To the east, you find a length of rope that lets you down the well. 
       
Why are you chopping down a tree that has a hut in it?
      
The well takes you to a series of caverns where you fight rats, snakes, and bats. The caverns lead to a dungeon where Little John claims he can smell druids. Among a few chambers, you find notes with a credit list for the game and a warning that the Sheriff is targeting villagers who help Robin Hood (who hasn't really done any banditry yet!). Mortianna confronts you at the end of the small dungeon and says that she protects the Sheriff and a giant skeleton, which you cannot beat, protects her. The skeleton is indeed immune to normal weapons, leaving you no choice but to return to the well, the outer forest, and ultimately Sherwood.
     
This must have been a deleted scene.
      
Back home, you hear that Marian wants to meet with you and is at a chapel to the south. You fight through animals and guards in a small forest area. Once you arrive at the chapel, Marian gives you a special Druid's Dagger and warns that the Sheriff is raising an army.
    
In Sherwood, an ally informs you that the Sheriff's tax carts will soon be rolling through. It turns out to be a trap set by Guy of Gisbourne, who taunts you with the fact that he killed your father. You defeat him in a duel and recover the Locksley Sword. Friar Tuck, accompanying the wagons, joins the party. The Merry Men loot the wagons and their taxes.  
   
Guy lies dead next to the Locksley Sword.
         
Sherwood now has wooden walkways connecting the tree huts. Marian meets you there but only coldly announces she's taking Duncan back with her to her castle. Meanwhile, an ally tells you that the Merry Men need a weapons master, and a nearby hermit fits the bill. 
       
Another forest segment, curiously bereft of enemies, follows. At the end, you meet a hermit who agrees to join you if you defeat him in combat. Another duel follows. The weapons master jumps and somersaults around a lot, but he's otherwise no harder than the typical enemy. He agrees to go back to the camp for 200 gold. You do accumulate gold in this game--I had 550 at this point--and there are only a couple of places to spend it. This is the only necessary one. Coming so quickly on the heels of the wagon robbery, there's no way you wouldn't have enough gold.
     
Next crisis: A flu has spread through the camp. Friar Tuck knows of a pond with magical healing waters. Strange creatures live in the pond. The "strange creatures" turn out to be giant frogs that hurl some kind of magic bolt at you. To get the water, you need to have picked up a flask in the weapons master's hut. I thought I had, but it wasn't there when I got to the pond. I had to look up how to hex edit one into my inventory.
 
Maybe "giant frogs" is the wrong call.
      
Bringing a flask of the water back to camp heals the people. The next objective is to stop an evil baron, looting his way through the countryside. You fight through a forest map to reach the village, where a mass combat ensues. Victory allows you to confront the baron, who turns out to be the same evil baron from the interrupted wedding. He challenges Robin to a duel, which goes predictably.
      
Duncan is waiting when you return to Sherwood, reporting that Marian has been kidnapped by the Sheriff, who intends to marry her. At the same time, a bunch of Celts invade the camp. Another mass combat takes place, and even if you "win," the Celts overrun the camp and force you to regroup in the forest, learning there that some Merry Men were taken captive. If you return to camp, you find it on fire, with an ally bearing news that the Sheriff plans to hang the captured outlaws. One of the huts has a "disguise" in it.
       
There's another forest, followed by another horse segment, before the party reaches the Sheriff's castle. NPCs in the area talk about the upcoming marriage and hanging. You have to don the disguise to avoid a bunch of needless mass battles.
        
Except you don't.
      
It took me a while to figure out what to do in this area. There's no way to get up on the gallows platform to rescue the hostages, and guards just turn you away from the castle gates. You have to attack the guard, it turns out, which prompts a mass battle. Afterwards, you can enter the castle.
You explore the castle, fight a bunch of guards, fight a couple of mass battles, and eventually meet Mortianna and her skeleton again. This time, you can kill it with the Druid's Dagger. Mortianna just explodes with a "nooo!" once her skeleton dies. 
     
Beyond her is the Sheriff, who quotes a little dialogue from the film before attacking in a duel. As usual, the strategy of standing still and swinging away carries the day.
       
The final battle.
      
Once the Sheriff dies, a final cinematic shows Robin and Marian getting married.
     
"Marry Robin of Locksley to Marian Dubois" would make things less ambiguous.
      
King Richard shows up to give away the bride but otherwise doesn't thank Robin for keeping his throne secure. There's a final, hilarious animation that shows Robin leaning in for a kiss, which clearly disgusts Marian.
       
"I can't bear to look at that mullet."
     
Overall, the game is pretty bad. Everywhere, there are signs of cut content. There are never any helms or boots to put on those portions of the character portraits, for instance. The manual mentions shields, which never appear. You find more chest keys than chests, and there are only two places to spend the gold you accumulate--one on a scripted event, and one on a useless chest key. It hardly makes sense to give party members experience levels and hit points, since they only act in mass combats and can't actually die even there. Individual combats are too easy, but expecting the player to last over five hours with no saves and only three lives is a bit too much.
  
The only place you can voluntarily spend money.
    
It doesn't even work very well as a movie companion. There's no character to any of the characters. Each of the party members--Azeem, Duncan, Friar Tuck, and Little John--has only a few lines after they join the party. Neither the Sheriff of Nottingham nor Maid Marian are present enough in the game to feel that they're the protagonist's great love and great nemesis, respectively. Will Scarlett is absent entirely.

But where it fails most is as a Robin Hood game. To me, Robin Hood has two defining qualities: he's a master archer, and he gives to the poor. Any Robin Hood game ought to have an archery minigame or otherwise a complex archery mechanic (and indeed the prototype seems to have one) and a method of distributing gold to peasants, perhaps for information, perhaps for other character boosts.
        
For a game that doesn't have much to do with archery, it features prominently on the box.
      
The worst of it is that if MobyGames is to be believed, there isn't a single Robin Hood RPG after this one. I'd love to see an open world game using these characters. It would be just like a medieval Far Cry. Robin comes home from the Crusades (or escapes from prison) to find Prince John oppressing the populace. Nottinghamshire is divided into several zones, each ruled by a lieutenant, including Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff. Robin completes a variety of missions to rob from the rich and give to the poor, with mechanics favoring stealth. Giving gold to the poor rewards the player with information about wagons to rob and castles to loot. Once John's position has been weakened enough by the Merry Men, the showdown commences. The whole thing writes itself.
        
A mid-game character sheet.
      
There are a couple of things that I like about the game and wouldn't mind seeing in more NES titles. First, while Robin doesn't have any attributes, he does get stronger and faster (as well as hardier) as he levels up. Too many NES RPGs and quasi-RPGs offer only increases to maximum health as a reward for leveling. Second, the more complex commands and character sheet work well mechanically. They just aren't used very well by the content of this particular game. I give it a 23 on the GIMLET, with the best score (4) in "Graphics, Sound, and Interface" and the worst (1) in "Economy" and "Gameplay." It's far too linear, too long for a game that doesn't allow saves, and not replayable.
   
****
   
Sorry for the week off, everyone. I had a personal emergency. I played this very early in the month but only had time to write it up now. I'll get back on track this week and get started on the next Werdna entry.


143 comments:

  1. Although it's not at all an RPG, I would love to see your take on Sierra's Conquests of the Longbow (and, for that matter, Conquests of Camelot).

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    1. I would also appreciate Chet’s take on Conquests of Camelot as an Arthurian scholar.

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    2. The Conquests games were both really good, I think I liked Longbow a little better. At least it does have some archery in it. Christy Marx seemed to design her games to conform pretty well to the original legends. Don't know if they'd be Chet's cup of tea, but but his thoughts on them would be interesting for sure.

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    3. Yeah, Conquests of the Longbow is a great game - and a great Robin Hood game rather than just having light theming - and has more systems and divergent outcomes than the average adventure game, though it’s definitely not even an adventure/RPG hybrid like Quest for Glory. It’s on GoG and very much worth playing.

      I appreciated all the Prince of Thieves memories (and opening Men in Tights reference) - this was my sister’s favorite movie when we were kids, Kevin Costner being an alleged dreamboat despite the mullet, so I too feel like I know it line by line after watching it at least once a week for the better part of a year - I got thoroughly sick of everything except global treasure Alan Rickman’s Sheriff.

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  2. Millennium Interactive's The Adventures of Robin Hood is also from 1991. from what I remember that's much more of an adventure game.

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    1. I played that game not long ago and it is completely rage-inducing; because of the game's simulation elements, the character has a mind of its own and it's incredibly frustrating to make him even accomplish the simplest task.

      Although definitely more like a simulation/adventure, it has (very basic in all cases) stats, combat, equipment and an economy and Wikipedia describes it as an Action RPG, so I'm a bit surprised it didn't come up at least as a BRIEF for the blog. Dodged a bullet there.

      Although most definitely not an RPG, as others have said, Conquest of the Longbow is an excellent Robin Hood-themed game.

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    2. So is Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood but that's a strategy game based on the Commandos and Desperados games

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    3. Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood is one of the most beautiful isometric games ever made.

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    4. Adventures of Robin Hood definitely was frustrating! Somehow 12 year old me persevered! I agree about Legend of Sherwood being a beautiful game. Been meaning to give that another go for about fifteen years...

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    5. There is a history of frustrating games starred by Robin Hood - the first one I thought about was the very bizarre in its logic Odin one, for the Spectrum.

      Though of course there is also a history of frustrating movies.

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    1. I was also going to comment this.

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    2. Exact same shade of blue as the water, in fact.

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    3. Good old palette limitations

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    4. I'd go with violet, and the water is the same dithered with brown. It seems bluer than it is relative to the very warm surrounding colors.

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    5. I was about to say, blue-purple.
      THOUGH, it doesn't matter, as the NES didn't reliably produce the same colour on different TVs, they saved costs by letting the TV sort the exact colours out as I recall. That is why certain TVs command REALLY high prices with the retrogames market, as they reproduce what the developers intended more accurately (and look better) then your run of the mill CRT.

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  4. Ah, but it is all the other Robin Hoods who are wrong, since the English accent as we know it didn't exist during the time Robin Hood was around. Considering the influence of the Normans, there probably would have been some French influence.
    (and yes, I do know what that line was referencing)
    As to the game itself, while I've never played it, it has a very infamous reputation owing to some internet personality from the early days of Youtube playing it and giving it a proper dressing down. Kind of amusing to see a little positivity here, though obviously overwhelmed by the bad.

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    1. Got a link to that?

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    2. This is as outrageous as those French accents you claim! Silly Englishman...

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    3. The video? Its the Spoony Experiment one, you can find it fairly easily on Youtube.

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  5. "I have no idea what kind of animal was attacking me as I explored Sherwood Forest. Giant rats, maybe."
    Rodents of Unusual Size, obvs!

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    1. Two Cary Elwes puns in the same post, we're on a roll! :D

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  6. This game was one of four I had for the NES growing up. I would farm the sewers for an hour or two. Your movement speed increases with your level, so by leveling up early at the start, you can literally run by every almost every enemy in the game.

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    1. That's an interesting approach. I could see why it would work, since you don't really gain any more experience from later enemies than you do from earlier ones. If you've going to grind, might as well do it all at the beginning.

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  7. I believe the guy in the camp giving you all your missions is Will Scarlet. If I'm not mistaken, the game tell you this if you use the look command near him.

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    1. Ah, thanks. I missed that. The game still doesn't feature any ham about how Will is Robin's half brother.

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  8. I love that you’re covering bizarre NES titles apparently too obscure (or Western) for even hardcoregaming101. I’ve heard a million takes on the final fantasies - do more of these!

    Y’know what might make a good entry is Sweet Home… Despite the fact that it’s the precursor to Resident Evil I guarantee it has RPG bonafides!

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    1. It’s also a JRPG where you don’t play children!

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    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Home_(video_game)
      I'd love to see Chet play this too!
      Seems to have character experience development and everything
      https://shrines.rpgclassics.com/nes/sweethome/experience.shtml

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    3. I actually reviewed this for Harcore Gaming 101 5 years ago :) http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/robin-hood-prince-of-thieves/

      It's very ambitious for the time. The one on one fighting sequences don't really work, there overhead combat is more fun.

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    4. There are a million takes on Final Fantasy II, but nearly all of them are worthless because the player followed the terrible advice spread around on the Internet and wasted countless hours attacking their own party members instead of making progress.

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    5. ^Kearuda said.

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    6. Yeah Final Fantasy II has some interesting systems, but is just plain unfun, so everyone online just tries to break the game to get some entertainment out of it.

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    7. The thing about Final Fantasy II is that the way the systems are tuned, if you just go through the game without grinding you'll be woefully underpowered. Which, in itself, isn't necessarily an issue, given every other RPG at the time demanded some dedicated grinding. But with Final Fantasy II, because the progression is all random, if you try to grind like a standard RPG your progress will come in fits and spurts and not give you a sense of how long you need to grind.

      Also, it doesn't help that the bad advice on the internet is filtered through a game of telephone. If you actually read a mechanics guide that goes into the numbers you will find that you can reach demigod status at the beginning of the game in about an hour, though there is tedium involved (selecting and deselecting attack in a fight 100 times to guarantee a weapon level). It also requires you to be aware of just how amazing evasion is, and how to build a character for it (step one, no armor).

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    8. It's unclear to me how to make progress in Final Fantasy II in the intended manner. Select/cancelling 100 times against trash monsters is obviously an exploit, but no method available seems organic and practical.

      Worst of all is training spells - at least with weapons, there's no pressing need for anyone to master more than one type. You can have Firion train swords from beginning to end and enjoy the benefits of equipping a better sword immediately, but the Ultima spell is useless when you get it, levels up agonizingly slowly on anyone weak enough to kill with it, and drains your mana, forcing you to constantly go back and forth to and from the inn if you don't use the select/cancel exploit. And unlike weapons, multiple spells are useful, meaning you'll need to grind out them all!

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    9. If you see a need to grind in Final Fantasy 2, you're playing the game wrong.

      Of course, figuring out how to play the game "right" is easier said than done, for two major reasons. A) The game is the brainchild of Akitoshi Kawazu, who was extremely fond of innovative and complex mechanics hidden from the player. Chet knows him from Final Fantasy Legend, where especially the monster character type shows his kind of design philosophy. B) As mentioned by others, because of A), searching for help on the Internet is most likely going to result in finding terrible, counterconstructive "tips" from others that don't actually know how to play either. It's better these days thanks to a number of quality websites detailing how the game works, gamecorner.net probably having the best one.

      As for how to make progress in the intended manner, it's not really any harder than just playing the game without any preconceptions about grinding being necessary. Weapons and magic level based on monster level, so they'll hit the levels the game intends for them to be around on their own. Just keep in mind that the max level being 16 doesn't mean you're actually meant to get anyone near those numbers, any more than you're meant to reach level 30 in Dragon Quest 1. It's just a cap. Also, offensive magic is in general very weak and largely useless outside of some highly specific spots. This was the case in FF1 as well. Final Fantasy isn't Wizardry, physical fighters are the key to victory here. (Ultima is also bugged, but it's unlikely to have been very good had it worked as intended either).

      Delete
    10. For those not too concerned about spoilers (or have played the game before), I'd also strongly recommend this playthrough account:
      https://lparchive.org/Final-Fantasy-II-(by-Camel-Pimp)/
      It's the account of a highly informed player trying to give himself a challenge by playing through the game by permanently killing off all characters except one, then banning the use of all weapons and certain overly powerful spells. After a while even this was getting too easy, so halfway through the game he also banned any further use of armor that gave certain powerful buffs... and after completing the game, he came to the conclusion he should've also banned the use of a certain overpowered immunity-granting armor because using it still made the game too easy.

      It's a good read if you want to understand how the game works and how easy it really is as long as you know how the game uses stats to calculate damage and hits. As he puts it in his conclusion, "The issue with FF2 isn't that it's hard. It's that the game is obtuse. Obtuse does not equal hard; once you understand the bizarre mechanics of this game, it's absurdly easy. For example, once you know that getting a high evasion level and percent is both fairly easy and makes you invincible to normal attacks, there's no reason not to do it. That's just one example out of many. FF2 is the easiest game people claim is hard."

      Delete
  9. BTW Chet, I hope your emergency turned out ok. I had one too, and mine didn't (I won't go into it). Weird synchronicity, a few months back we also both lost a cat. Out of curiosity, you didn't also happen to lose a cherished ring at a grocery store on Super Bowl Sunday, did you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish both of you strength for dealing with any repercussions of your emergencies.

      Usually I'm not worried whenever Chet pauses the blog, but this time it was disconcerting - my other favorite blog besides the CRPG Addict is the blog of Shamus Young, and he just passed away. It's a tragedy.

      Delete
  10. Yup, they don't even bother to make coherent games with these movie licensed titles. The box cover alone is enough to make the sale, why bother putting any effort into it? The Sherriff who would be King.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Chet briefly mentions, that’s actually a (nonsensical) plot point from the movie, not an example of the developer going rogue.

      Delete
    2. To be fair, the game takes a silly plot point and makes it worse. In the film, it's at least acknowledged that the only way the Sheriff will gain power is by marrying and having a child with Marian, who's supposed to be Richard's cousin. Maybe she's supposed to be some descendant of the House of Blois, which might have had some claim to the throne if Richard had executed John but still died without issue. But the game already has the Sheriff "ruling the land with an iron fist."

      Delete
  11. Maid Marian's name is Marian Dubois? That sounds like a Norman name. Would a clean cut all Saxon hero like Robin Hood even touch such a vile creature?

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    Replies
    1. As far as I can tell, she is only called Dubois in the 1991 movie (and this game based on that movie).

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    2. And of course, "Dubois" means "From the Wood" [Woodland] in French. And where does Robin Hood hides ? In the Forest ! Ah ah ! That's so smart and subtle !

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    3. I think the idea that Robin, Marian, and the rest of the Merry Men were Saxons bound up in the Saxon-Norman feud comes from Ivanhoe and is not part of the original legend. There's certainly no talk of Saxons and Normans in the film.

      Delete
  12. Maaan was it a scam for Nintendo to put the exact same "Nintendo Seal of Quality" on this and Final Fantasy and allow them to retail for the same price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the seal of quality meant was it passed through licensing, had nothing to do with how good the game is.

      Delete
    2. The Nintendo Seal of You Passed A Nebulous Test of Approval

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    3. "Quality" in this sense means that the game is relatively bug-free and appears to contain no offensive or adult material.

      Delete
    4. Even more fundamental than that. I tmeans it runs.

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    5. As far as I know, the Seal of Quality test was pretty hardcore, needing the game to run 40 hours on end without crashing, being entirely bug-free, and more...

      No word on if the game was meant to be fun though.

      Delete
  13. The best NES RPG titles weren't even translated, although I have a soft spot for the NES ports of Might & Magic and Pool of Radiance.

    Sweet Home was mentioned by other commenters. It's quite good and stylistically unique compared to really any other RPG of its time.

    Chaos World is a jRPG with many unique elements. There's actual character creation with classes, a combat system that is automated, although you pick tactics, spells and items, and graphics among the best the NES could muster. Not to mention a day and night cycle, to top things off. I love this game.

    Deep Dungeon III and IV are both first person Western-style RPGs for a console with extensive exploration, multiple cities and dungeons to explore. There's a feeling of exploring an actual world to these titles. I haven't played them much, just in passing.

    Lagrange Point is more on the jRPG side of things with a sci-fi bent. Found this one hard to get into, but the graphics are quite good. Felt like the game engine was a bit rough around the edges, reminded me of Phantasy Star a bit.

    Just Breed is a tactical strategy RPG with town exploration in between wilderness combats, similar to the later Shining Force games. Found this one to be exceptionally polished.

    I'm trying to think of other cRPG style games that Chet would enjoy. Maybe Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements, but I found the combat system to be a dealbreaker (first person, grid based, real time press the button to swing a sword kind of game, but on the NES... yikes.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't played Deep Dungeon 3 and 4 (or 2), but I've played Deep Dungeon 1, and it has to be one of the most boring RPGs ever made. It's a Wizardry clone that basically takes the same approach as Dragon Quest 1 in simplifying things to make it more approachable for an 8 year old that has never touched an RPG before, but goes way above and beyond in dumbing itself down to the absurd. Would actually be interesting to see Chet's take on it.

      From what I understand the sequels, like the Dragon Quest sequels, are considerably less dumbed down.

      Delete
    2. Interesting. Yeah I barely played both of those Deep Dungeon games...they appeared to be the only ones fan translated into English that I can find. At least, initially, they seemed promising.

      Delete
    3. What I'm discovering is that almost all NES games that weren't translated back in the day have fan translations now. I wish the same were true of MSX and PC-88 games.

      Delete
    4. Unfortunately the sort of interest that gets console RPGs translated has never really applied to Japanese PCs. The fact those were far more of a niche platform than consoles also doesn't help.

      Delete
    5. It's a shame because I'm not at all into the mainstream JRPGs of the time (or any time, really... they get worse as technology gets better, because then they flood you with cutscenes, ugh). The PC88 though is super fascinating to me just for its visual style alone, and for its obscurity. I'd love to delve into that obscure cave and dig up some treasures, but alas, it's pretty much impossible if you don't know Japanese.

      Delete
    6. Its worth pointing out that between translations on all the Japanese home computers and translations of the ports to consoles there's quite a lot translated, more than you'll see mentioned on Mobygames. And that's discounting how many games are entirely finishable untranslated, and how many you really don't want to play.

      Delete
    7. The MSX actually has a half-decent number of fan translations. RPGs are much less likely to be translated though, as they have WAY more text then most games.

      https://www.romhacking.net/?page=translations&genre=&platform=19&status=&languageid=12&perpage=20&order=&dir=&title=&author=&transsearch=Go

      Delete
    8. There's actually quite a bit more translated than that:
      https://www.generation-msx.nl/software/translations
      That's not even all of it, because I know of one collection on the Internet Archive that has a few more that aren't on that site. Including a translation of Phantasie IV. (the Japanese-exclusive one) Although ones exclusive to that package might be of suspect quality, since one of the people who did the Starfire translation said they were going to do a new one for Phantasie since it wasn't great.

      Delete
    9. Fan translations are suspect in general. There was some drama some years back when a productive PC88 translator was discovered to not actually know any Japanese, and that his translations were a messy mix of cleaned-up machine translations, guesswork and purely making things up. Having to trust random people on the Internet like that is always going to be a bit of a minefield.

      Delete
    10. Yeah, sometimes it's like the Mother 3 translation where it ends up being more or less professional quality, others it's like the old Final Fantasy 4 retranslation, where it's considerably... less professonal.

      Delete
    11. I mean, to be fair, there are also terrible professional translations, like the Final Fantasy II/IV one for PlayStation where the translator added a bunch of jokes and internet references that have been copied into later translations, Or SNES port of the same game that seems to have been done by a native Japanese speaker who regularly flubs the English. Now, the fan translation ALSO regularly makes mistakes, so there really hasn't been a good translation of this title to date: https://legendsoflocalization.com/final-fantasy-iv/

      Delete
    12. There are probably more awful professional translations than fan ones, its just that fan translations usually stick out more when they're bad. Like some dude translating three games in three months or characters screaming a lot of curse words in what is supposedly a children's game. Bit more obvious compared to the more subtle failures of professional translations.

      Delete
    13. @Canageek - I thought the GBA version of Final Fantasy I and II (Dawn of Souls) was excellent. No idea how accurate the translation was from the original, but it was the best version I've played of them. It was a professional translation. The second game included an epilogue that I really enjoyed. IMO, the best English translation for FF3 was PSP, FF4 was PSP, and I haven't finished FF5 yet, but I'm leaning GBA. I'm only planning on playing up to 7, just to see what the fuss was about 25 years ago. Priorities, you know?

      Delete
    14. For the record, my favorites so far are in this order: FF2, FF1, FF4, and I hate the rest. Can't get into FF5, and FF3 was mostly a slog. I've heard good things about 6 and 7, but I'm not looking forward to them in any real way. And then I'm quitting the series entirely.

      Delete
  14. Hahaha, I see what you did there, "respectively"! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. "unlike some other Robin Hoods, does not speak with an English accent"

    Love Mel Brooks <3

    ReplyDelete
  16. Save states, hex editing, "hints"... I thought you're against cheating ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the Addict has accepted the reality that minor titles or ridiculous titles sometimes require Special Circumstances to take action.

      Delete
    2. The game does actually have a built-in "cheat" mode (presumably just a dev tool they forgot to remove) that allows you to start the game from whatever section you want (though it doesn't put the Druid's Daggerin your inventory, so if you choose to start at a later point than the one where you get the dagger from Marian, you've softlocked yourself from beating the game). Just press A 8 times followed by B 8 times on the title screen to bring up a password entry screen, then enter the internal name for whatever section you want to start at (they mostly have deducable names like "boar" and "chapel").

      Delete
    3. Hood: Outlaws & Legends, have some aspects of the Robin Hood game you asked for and I would have loved that game if it was a single player rpg

      Delete
    4. I am against cheating until I reach the point that I won't be able to finish the game otherwise. It's right there in my sidebar.

      Delete
    5. Hi Chet, in defense of Anonymous (wait, what? defending someone too lazy to invent a nom de plume?), maybe not everyone knows about that sidebar, it doesn't exist in the mobile version of the site. As for the cheating rule, the "rules" part of the sidebar is not repeated in the FAQ. Some readers may never have seen your rules.

      Delete
    6. It often feels like the anonymous commenters are the ones who say critical or mean things in an over the top way(although this is far from universal). It is interesting because that is also against the CRPG addict commenting rules.

      Delete
    7. Commenting anonymously, that is.

      Delete
    8. Something changed with Blogspot. I used to be able to pick any name I've used before when clicking on Name/URL, but that is no longer possible. Since I can't be bothered to type PetrusOctavianus every time I comment, I'm now one of the anons.

      Delete
    9. I'm not the anon commenting about cheats and hex editing, though.

      Delete
    10. To be fair, The Rules also say it's forbidden to use rot13 without explaining what you're doing and why. I think these rules haven't been updated in like a decade :P

      Delete
    11. The rules of commenting are a bit different than the rules of how I play a game. I can't really "enforce" the commenting rules without spending a lot of time deleting comments, including some that otherwise contain useful or insightful material. The only way to interpret those rules is that a comment that violates them is SUBJECT to deletion, and makes me sad, but probably won't be deleted.

      Delete
    12. I think the first anonymous is a butt

      Delete
    13. "Something changed with Blogspot. (...)"

      But there's also something good that seems to have come out of the recent change in the comment form of Blogspot: Before the change, I always had to turn on third-party cookies to comment here, otherwise the comment would just disappear after clicking on "Publish". (The problem described as "Blogger has a way of 'eating' comments".) Now it seems to work fine with my usual browser settings.

      Delete
    14. As an incidental note, I *think* you can find a flask somewhere in the area around the monsters' lake if you missed the one earlier in the game so that you can't actually softlock there, though it's been a hot minute since I played through this again.

      Delete
  17. A limited lives/continue system was pretty standard for console games of the era, at least outside of real RPGs; if you wanted your game to save you had to use more expensive cartridges

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plenty of games used Password systems, though. Faxanadu, for example, was more or less an RPG.

      Delete
    2. There is a level select cheat so why not make a level select meny swing that the game is really liniar

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    3. Yeah, that's what surprises me--that it didn't at least have a password system. I'm still a novice with the NES, but was it common to have games last this long and offer no method of saving, either passwords or a battery cartridge?

      Delete
    4. There's plenty of games that'll last 5 hours and have no continues. However, the expectation is that the actual winning run isn't going to take that long, because by the time you're good enough to actually beat it you"ll be able to blast through it because you'll know exactly what to do for most of it.

      Delete
    5. In general, if a game would take an hour or more to beat, it was extremely rare for it to not have some sort of way to save and quit. This game was an extreme outlier and I think reviews at the time criticized it for that too.

      Delete
    6. A lot of NES games are shockingly long for having no saves. I've never beaten Super Mario Brothers 3 without warp whistles or save states, because it takes something like two or three hours even if you don't die at all.

      Delete
    7. Super Mario Bros 3 is another extreme outlier (and as you say, does have a warp system that lets you start on the world you want).
      I'd say it's kinda telling when you say "a lot" but can only name one.

      Delete
    8. There's also Rygar.

      Delete
    9. And Blaster Master, and Bionic Commando, and Golgo 13, not to mention weird stuff like Robowarrior, Tetris 2, Predator, Solomon's Key, Ikari Warriors, Arkista's Ring, Back to the Future II & III (even with the single hidden password that lets you skip to Part III), etc. Plenty of NES games require over an hour of play to beat and offer no way to save your game.

      (Before anyone queues up a YouTube video to the contrary, tool-assisted speedruns and savestate-assisted longplays don't count as a reference, and human speedruns aren't really relevant.)

      Sadly this vice didn't stop with the 8-bit generation either, as there are plenty of 16-bit games that have wildly unreasonable expectations of what a person can be asked to do in one sitting. I know of a sports game that requires 6 hours minimum to beat the main/career mode, with no passwords or save function available.

      Delete
    10. Super Mario III wasn't the only game I could think of - it was an illustrative example intended to reinforce the point.

      The original Castlevania has no saves and is quite long. IIRC, the same is true of III. Attempting to come up with an exhaustive list is pointless.

      Delete
    11. The original Castlevania does have saves, though they were removed for the western release due to the format switch from writable disk to rom cartridge. It's also not very long, takes about half an hour to play through from start to finish. Castlevania 3 has password saves in all releases.

      Either way, the point was not that these lengthy games that offered no way to save don't exist, but to answer the Addict's question about whether or not this was COMMON. And no, it was absolutely not common. It happened, but it was rare and generally got brought up as a negative in reviews.

      Delete
  18. With regards to the likenesses… it was not uncommon to be able to license the movie, and get access to the script, but not have access to the likenesses of the actors. That was often a separate license you had to pursue with them directly, for a lot more money. Also, in some cases, you were also developing the licensed game while the movie was in production, and you may not even know who was cast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was also the case with a number of sports stars, which is why there were a lot of basketball games in the mid 90s that had all the real lineups from the teams but were missing Shaquille O'Neal. His name and likeness had to be licensed separately, and it was not cheap.

      Delete
  19. This was a game I used to rent a lot as a kid, because it was really cool that it had all of these extra elements, like dialog and an inventory, compared to other titles at the time. Sure, it was based off of the inferior Robin Hood movie (I'm ride or die for Adventures of Robin Hood), but that was ok.

    As an adult I picked up a copy again and did beat it on my NES, so it is indeed doable without save states. But going through like that and with more of a critical eye it was obvious just how half-implemented the game was. You called out the various points. It definitely feels like they had bigger plans and ran into time and/or space constraints.

    Also, the advantage of the Locksley Bow over just firing the regular Bow three times is that the Locksley Bow is one handed. So you can put a sword in one hand and the bow in the other (A activating one, B activating the other).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I missed the whole dual-wielding thing entirely.

      Delete
    2. One-handed rapid fire bow? Is this Robin Hood or Hawk the Slayer?

      Delete
  20. This one is kind of heartbreaking since it seems to have been an ambitious design with a fun and under-represented theme until they were forced to include the movie tie-in stuff and release it before it was done to cash in on the movie hype.

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  21. Well, this is a game, which has no special mechanics for Robin Hood’s two defining qualities, i. e. being a master archer, and giving to the poor.

    And then there is a game, where Robin Hood fights pirates off his ship:
    http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-2600-vcs-robin-hood_12320.html

    (The game was only marketed like this in Germany, however).

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  22. I played this when I was 10 years old and it amazed me, being my first encounter with anything like an rpg. However I'm sure I'd have the same reaction as Chet if I played it today. My first real rpg love was Shadowrun on Sega Genesis of which I'd be very curious to know Chet's opinion.

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  23. Truth be told, despite its many faults, this was one of my favorite NES games back in the day... You can see the developers clearly had something much more ambitious planned.

    I still remember discovering the fact that some of the generic enemies have unique dialog when you select the "Talk" command near them.

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  24. I've been reading this blog for a decade now and I have never, and probably will never, cease to be weirded out by Chet's bizarre dislike of ingame music.

    This was one of the more complex NES games, but as a kid I thought the duels were way too easy. The enemy mostly just runs into your sword themselves.

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    1. AlphabeticalAnonymousJune 17, 2022 at 8:07 PM

      Look, he's a jazz lover: infinitely-repeating music with no variation or improvisation is just about the farthest thing from that! I like to think of it as *charmingly* weird and bizarre.

      Delete
    2. I guess the best comparison I can make is how people come off the "It's a Small World" ride a Disney World complaining about how it's just the same cloying song repeating over and over and over and now they're going to have to get lobotomies just to be able to sleep. I fundamentally don't see any difference between that and the constant, repetitive music of these early games.

      Delete
    3. I probably will never cease to be weirded out by people who can listen to the same eight measure tune in a tinny music chip, over and over for hours. I just don't get it. It's bizarre. It drives me up the wall. The CIA literally uses this as a torture technique.

      I've had to turn off some let's plays on Youtube because the player kept the same eight measure tune playing repetitively the entire game. If games had actual music, they might be worth listening to. But even Skyrim, as good as its soundtrack was, got turned off after a few hours.

      Delete
    4. You tell 'em, Harl.

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    5. Unsurprisingly, all the actually GOOD games on the NES have songs that are over a minute long, and contain multiple songs. Because even back in 1985, games could (and did) do better than eight measures on repeat.

      After all, there is a reason why the old Super Mario theme gets performed by no less than the London Symphony Orchestra.

      Delete
    6. I love prog rock and (some) jazz, but I also love video game music and chiptunes (in-game and separately). These things don't contradict themselves, and anyway, they are often still more complex than modern pop music. But I'd never be surprised or weirded out by someone not liking it. Each brain is wired differently. Never assume that just because you think something is the best thing in the world, everyone else must enjoy it too.

      I gave the Prince of Thieves soundtrack a listen, I think it has some very nice moments, but it is maybe a bit too repetitive. The composer is listed as Paul Webb, but it's apparently not the Talk Talk bass player.

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    7. For me even the most repetitive music just turns into "that's what this game sounds like". I barely notice it and might miss it if it stopped.

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    8. Anon nailed that Baldur's Gate reference.

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    9. @Buck

      How about prog rock chiptunes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_gObHt1uZA

      Delete
    10. I can get that Chet. I *love* the Ogre Battle 64 sound track. When I was a kid I used the sound test mode to have my Dad make me a cassette tape of the music. (Not sure I listened to it much though). However, when I play that game after the first ten hours or so, I'm putting on anything else as to note hear that soundtrack anymore. Same with most other games.

      If you want to understand the appeal of early game music, I recommend listening to the early episodes of the Super Marcato Brother's podcast. It is two to three musicians, all brothers, one of whom has a degree in music theory, analyzing and explaining video game music, particularly very early music. I don't understand most of it and need my partner or girlfriend (both of whom know a lot about music), but I like listening to the music in small doses.

      (Also: Remember, there are no in-game sound options as it was running through a TV, so you could just turn the TV sound down or mute it)

      Delete
    11. I love game music but when you hear the same tune over and over again it gets old for anyone. I used to play Sonic games with the TV turned down and the radio turned up, but I still love that soundtrack :)

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    12. Is there something game developers can do to cater to this preference, without requiring too much time and effort?

      What if there was an option in the settings menu to play music "sparsely"? This could mean that whenever the player enters a level or does something where the music changes (entering a battle, winning a battle, entering a shop, etc.), this new song plays once, but not on a loop. Maybe there are shorter versions of the songs used for this. So you'd get about 20 seconds long little tracks that set the mood and liven the game up, but inbetween the game stays silent. Would this be alright for you or would this still be too repetitive?

      Delete
    13. @Tristan Gall I didn't think that would be a good fit, but that was awesome!

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    14. If Tim Follin had been a bit luckier with the games he composed for, his name would be synonymous with video game music. The sounds he was able to get out of those early platforms were amazing.

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    15. This straight-up prog rock interpretation of the theme is a real banger too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e77SpmRw_sY

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    16. I love your ideas, Bitmap, and I'd probably choose that option if it was available in a game. In this era, I'm just happy if the game lets me turn music off independent of sound.

      Delete
  25. Also, loved the idea for basically a sandbox "Thief" game. Some company with serious resources needs to make that!

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    Replies
    1. Chet's description screams "Assassin's Creed" to me. :)

      Delete
    2. That makes sense, didn't think of them because I've never played those.

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    3. 1) Wouldn't the Thief series work for that? Or were they not sandbox enough?

      2) That is how my Dad played Skyrim, he really liked doing the thieves guild quests.

      Delete
    4. Yeah, I guess Assassin's Creed is pretty much Far Cry with a historical setting, so I don't know why I didn't think of that instead. It would be interesting to see an AC story in England that's contemporary with events in the first game. I don't know how well it would work with the canon.

      Delete
  26. Ok, I know I've been away, but I would not have called, EVER, coming back to discovering Chet playing a NES game. I think that is the right call, as there were a lot of NES and SNES games that really influenced American CRPG development.

    But really, how did I miss the flying pigs? That must have been since the start of the pandemic when there was too much news to keep up with and I wasn't leaving my apartment for weeks at a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you really that far behind? I've played like 10 of them by now, plus one SNES title and a couple of Game Boy titles.

      Delete
    2. Didn't realise you'd been gone so long Cana. Bokosuka Wars was July '19.

      The comments sections for the console games might be the best of all, you're in for some good reads.

      Delete
    3. I'm just finishing January 2019, I had trouble reading anything for long outside of work for much of grad school, and trying to keep up with both this blog and the adventure game are kind of burned me out on reading about retro games for a while.

      Delete
    4. Also: I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. Popular games often have the worst comments sections , so that might be what you are warning me about? But they CAN also be really good so you might not be being sarcastic?

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    5. My guess is he was being mostly sarcastic. If I had said that, it would have been sarcastically.

      Which isn't to say that there aren't some good comments in those threads, just that--holy @#$*--people get defensive about their favorite console games.

      Delete
    6. Yeah, they do about computer games as well, but I think console games have become excessively toxic and factional due to the emphasis on this in advertising; Sega vs Nintendo, Playstation vs Xbox, etc.

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    7. Hah, I was being serious. There's a bit of angsty commenting for sure, but comments on those games tend to add history/context and information about the hardware limitations of the platform.

      Delete
  27. I liked the Costner movie pretty much...as a kid. I watched it many times but it's not a movie I would deliberately plan to watch again today. I also have fond memories of the British 80s TV series and I believe it has more lasting appeal, definitely plan to watch that again. Btw, can anyone recommend the "new" TV series from the 2000s? Men in Tights I like as I like everything Mel Brooks, of course humor is heavily dependent on one's personal preference. But I still think Spaceballs is one of the best parody movies ever made and not just because it's SW.

    I owned the GB Version of this game since I still hadn't got the licensed game = likely bad equation. I remember I had mixed feelings about it. For the GB it had nice graphics but the gameplay was somewhat easy and a bit stupid as you described it. I also didn't like the deviations from the movie since that was the main reason I wanted the game. However I also remember I still had some fun with it, maybe because I could play through it in the first session which I couldn't with many other games I owned.

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    1. Btw now that I see the English title, isn't it weird how they made him the König (=king) of thieves in Germany? While other languages I checked retain the prince.

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    2. I still think the Errol Flynn version is the best. It captures Robin Hood as I always imagine him: dashing, daring, athletic, and roguish.

      Delete
    3. Fireball, in Czech the film subtitle is King of Thieves as well.

      Delete
    4. I watched an episode or two of the 2000 series. It didn't grab me. In the third season, as I understand, they waste Joanne Froggatt (later the lady's maid from Downton Abbey) in a role everyone hated. Boo!

      Delete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters. I will delete comments containing profanity on a case-by-case basis.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.