Format reviewed: Amstrad CPC
Developer: The Oliver Twins
“Welcome to Robin Hood.” That’s it, my CPC’s first words. And while the weird pitch it chose to project those words, to me, felt like a psychotic malfunctioning super-intelligent android was trying to tap into my brain, I still got a kick out of hearing them when I booted the game up to write this RetroRevival.
One of the first games from the Oliver Twins, Super Robin Hood was a brilliant platformer that sat within the good old healthy rays of the budget-game spectrum – 4 million lightyears from the malignant ones where you’ll find Bionic Granny.
The Sheriff of Nottingham has kidnapped Maid Marian and locked her in his castle, leaving the job of rescuing her to none other than Robin Hood. So, armed with a stupidly long bow, the power of jump, and an infinite number of arrows, you must help our licence-free hero venture to the top of the evil Sheriff’s castle and spring her to safety.
The game can best be described as a ledges-and-ladders title, with our forest-dwelling hero required to leap from ledges, valiantly scuttle up ladders and occasionally work a few lifts. The layout of the castle, however, is clearly the work of an idiot. Upon entering the East Tower, finding Marian in the Sheriff’s mind-bending maze of interconnecting rooms is a bit like trying to find decent music inside an old-peoples’ home.
Making Robin’s quest more stressful, however, are rats that bite, rolling fireballs, giant friendly-looking spiders, and an army of arrowsmiths and sword-waving soldiers. But thankfully Robin has been blessed with a favourable health bar, and the careless Sheriff has dropped plenty of painkillers around his stony manor for our Rob to guzzle down.
But despite all I’ve said about the game so far, the one thing I clearly remember loving about Super Robin Hood was the fantastic score by Jon Eldridge and Tim Green, which I occasionally left running in the background while I tidied my bedroom, or alphabeticised my 400-odd Amstrad games collection – a collection that I would later sell to finance a SNES. What a chumpface.