Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum
Publisher: Odin Computer Graphics Ltd
Developer: Steve Wetherill, Paul Salmon, Fred Grey
Submitted by: Arne O2 Øynes
This is the story of Robin and the Silver Arrow. It was a symbol of freedom and peace to the Saxon nation, when it came into the Sheriff of Nottingham's possession. Realising the value of the Silver Arrow to the Saxons, the Sheriff announced that it would be the prize in an archery contest. Knowing that Robin would not be able to resist the challenge to win the Arrow back, the Sheriff sent his Norman knights into the woods to hunt for Robin.
It is the day of the archery contest, and your mission is to recover the Arrow. You get to play the part of Robin, hurtling around the castles, woods and open land, where you search for keys, flowers and all sorts of medievel knick-knacks. The view is from the side, and altough some gamsters might point a finger at the format of the game and mention a couple of Ultimate titles, Robin of the Wood is much more involved and character interaction plays an importent part. It's certainly in a category of its own and a pure pleasure to play.
The forest is peopled by a number of caracters. The ever present Norman patrols have orders to shoot on sight, witches – who take your gold (if you don't have some flowers to bribe them with), there are rats (or wild boars.. you decide) with a nasty bite, and the old wise Ent who has in his keeping your bow, sword and three magical arrows. In order to get these you must give the Ent three bags of gold for each weapon. The gold must in turn be robbed from the evil Bishop of Peterborough who has an escort of crossbow wielding Normans.
The speech effects on the Spectrum 128 version is pretty impressive, and a jaunty medieval tune plays throughout the game (unfortunately sound on the 48k version is as pathetic as you might expect). The graphics and use of colour are very good, giving a really woody atmosphere with realistically drawn flora and fauna. Movement around the screen is both fast and smooth (just watch Robin use his bow or attack a Norman with his trusty sword).
I have never gotten as far as the tournament myself – it's a big game, and mapping would be a decided asset, but i really enjoyed this trip to the Sherwood forest, and would recommend it to anyone.