Thursday, June 25, 2015

Below the Cut: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (NES)

(Source: GameFAQs)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - Rating(9 RPP)
1) 4 - Character Advancement: practice/experience based advancement, stat or level increases, multiple classes or characters, customize characters
2) 2 - Combat: character stats used for combat, additional combat options, turn based
3) 2 - Items and Equipment: store to buy and sell, equipment decisions, item decisions
4) 1 - Story: main story at the forefront; world full of hints and lore; descriptions for objects, people, and places
5) 0 - Exploration: open world from the beginning, visited locations remain open
6) 0 - Quests and Puzzles: side quests not related to the main quest, puzzles and riddles to solve

Once again I was taken in by cheap promises. At first glance I thought this had a more open world, and possibly side quests. At the very least I was expecting a bit more autonomy, but the game has carefully scripted levels and paths to follow. No riddles or puzzles, and a definite lack of descriptive lore. I suppose the player is expected to have some familiarity with the game through the movie, or possibly other Robin Hood related media.

Censors say that's close enough to be considered a kiss
Character advancement is limited. For every enemy defeated a small amount of experience is earned. Eventually Robin will level (the rest of the party shares his level), and his HP and carrying capacity rise. It's difficult to tell if attack and defense stats increase as well, but if nothing else Robin became more adept at using equipment with each level. A medallion that increased defense by 2 eventually raised it by 4. Given this, I'm not sure character stats really matter for combat, but I'm going to give the game the benefit of the doubt. Equipment was very limited though, only one piece of armor is useable at any given time (said medallion replaces leather armor), but weapons range from bows to ball and chains.

Multiple characters gained a point because they do join the party, but they're only controllable during the group battles. All other times they might as well be pack mules. If I were being truly spiteful this would easily score a 6 or lower. Honestly item decisions only cover healing items, but there is some variety there and they're quite limited by the end of the game. The combat is action based, and the duels are particularly reliant on the player's skill. The game is short , so by the time I realized this probably wasn't an RPG I was already completing it. Hopefully I don't fall into this trap too often. They're fun diversions, and not too long most of the time, but they do take up a night better spent on other games.
These are the best ending screens
(Time Taken: 3h06m)


  1. I still think it's kind of hilarious that they had to make a movie-licensed game without any of the actors' likenesses.

    1. They probably could have done a better job, but with NES graphics it'd be kind of hard to get any kind of likeness in there.

  2. I don't see how anyone could think this could be an RPG. Although I recently listened to USGamers podcast Axe of the Blood God , their RPG podcast, and their first episode goes into the nebulous definition of an RPG. Any game could be an RPG by their standards. Some insisted Zelda was an RPG. A general concensus was Ill know it when I see it line of thought, I like your objective rating system more. It's not perfect, but at least it gives a basis to quantify RPGness. But if you rely on others reccomendations a lot, you'll probrqbly be playing and cutting a whole lot more of these.

    1. You're probably right. However, I think it's good to at least touch upon them. I just wish I could tell a bit more from videos rather than having to pick up and play each game.

  3. Strangely sad story behind this game: the designers intended for it to be an honest to goodness Robin Hood RPG, but when the publishers caught wind of the upcoming Kevin Costner film they bought the license and forced the developers to rebuild the game around it.
    This is why there's so much content that wasn't in the movie (hunting down boars and swamp monsters, busting up random noblemen's weddings, slaying giant skeletons and so on) and RPG elements that were never fully implemented like the gold that you collect when there's only one guy selling one thing in the entire game. It might also explain why the game seems so rushed, glitchy and shoddy. Makes sense if the developers nearly had the game finished, then had to scrap it and start over at the last second.

    You can find pictures and a rom of the pre-Costnerified prototype online under the name "the legend of robin hood".

    1. Interesting. Had that been the game released, it would definitely have had a full write-up.