Robin Hood Games: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly


Posted May 13, 2010 - By Stephen Johnson

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Russell Crowe Robin Hood

Russell Crowe's and Ridley Scott's Robin Hood: The Chubby Bowman is coming out this weekend. There is no tie-in video game, and I'm kind of disappointed. Unlike other iconic cultural heroes (Iron Man, Superman, Jesus), Robin Hood has actually faired pretty well in the video game world. The Scourge of Sherwood Forest has appeared in some solid titles that actually relate to the Robin Hood mythology. He's also appeared in some terrible, terrible games, of course -- these are video games we're talking about.

Robin Hood seems to appeal to two different kinds of game developers: Those who love the green-clad stealth fighter's legend and daring-do and recognize that his unique skillset is perfect for gaming, and those developers who love that the character of Robin Hood is well known, but still in the public domain, so you might make a few extra bucks if you take your anonymous platform game and call it Robin Hood's Super Crazy Adventure.

Here's a rundown of some of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Robin Hood games

The Good:

Robin Hood: The LEgend of Sherwood

Robin Hood: Legend of Sherwood: This 2002 PC game is a solid, challenging strategy title in which the life and deeds of Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and the rest of the Merry Men make up a fantastic single-player story. The game had impressive graphics and AI for the time, and was only missing multiplayer. Can you imagine a world in which strategy/resource management games didn't have multiplayer??

Honorable Mention:

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings: The scenario editor of this classic RTS includes additional hero units such as Robin Hood, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Friar Tuck. In the Gold Edition, the Sherwood Forest map is added. This might be the best game that features Robin Hood ever made, although he's far from the focus of the game

The Bad:

Robin Hood Prince of Theives

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: Critics were divided over the Kevin Costner Robin Hood flick when it came out 20 years ago, but gamers were not divided about Robin Hood Prince of Thieves for the NES. This game sucks.

Although Prince of Thieves' cookie-cutter RPG elements suggest it had a bit more ambition than most NES-period movie tie-in tiles, it's those very ambitions that cause the suckitude. Most movie tie in games of the NES age tend toward run-of-the-mill platformers. Run-of-the-mill platformers are at least kind of fun. Robin Hood went for a movie-RPG game, and broken RPG games with muddy graphics, repetitive combat inexplicable maps and puzzles and terrible visuals are not fun. At all. Ever. Don't believe me? Check out this gameplay footage:

The Ugly:

Super Robin Hood: 1985 PC game Super Robin Hood is a platform video game featuring a jumping, climbing Robin Hood running around on some platforms. No doubt there is lava covered by moving platforms somewhere deep in Sherwood Forest. It was released by Codemasters. (Who knew Codemasters had been around for almost 30 years? )The game isn't good, per se, but once you know how it was developed, it's hard to call it bad either, so I'm settling for "ugly," even though "interesting" might make more sense.

According to Wikipedia, the game was developed by the identical Oliver twins on the Amstrad CPC when they were only 17. The twins only had one computer working in a spare bedroom in their parents house, and they switched off and coded 23 hours a day to get it done. "What wimps! Why not go for the full 24?" Because they needed that hour to let their ancient computer cool down. Anyway, the Oliver Twins went on to bigger and better things, starting Interactive Studios that later became Blitz.

Robin Hood Game We Obviously Need:  There was a cartoon back in the 1960s that took a sci-fi take on Robin Hood. Please enjoy the opening to Rocket Robin Hood in the video below, and imagine how mind-blowing the video game version would be.

Robin Hood Games: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly


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