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VC Alternative, Week 8: The Legend of Robin Hood
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Sardius
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:45 pm    Post subject: VC Alternative, Week 8: The Legend of Robin Hood Reply with quote

I come with a warning, friends! Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is not the game it appears to be!



Back in the early '90s, developer Sculptured Software had a dream. That dream was to make a game about Robin Hood, popular folk hero and star of Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights. This game was to be an action-RPG, and it would introduce a new generation to Robin Hood and his band of thieves who lived in the woods and stole from rich people.

This was not to be, however.



Kevin Costner -- a Hollywood actor best known for his starring role in the 1974 softcore porn film Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. -- allegedly had a personal grudge against Robin Hood's lead designer. Upon hearing that his nemesis was finally going to realize his lifelong dream of designing an interactive Robin Hood adventure, Costner became furious, and quickly began work on his own Robin Hood project in retaliation.



With his project running at an accelerated schedule thanks to his significant wealth and not an insignificant amount of foul intent, Costner waited until The Legend of Robin Hood was nearing completion. When his industry spies notified him that the game was about to ship, he moved in for the kill. Costner announced the upcoming release of the feature film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and dared anyone to try and capitalize on the Robin Hood name in the meantime.



Sculptured Software knew better than to try and compete with "Frat Boy #1" from Ron Howard's 1982 horror classic Night Shift. Even though The Legend of Robin Hood was almost complete, Sculptured Software and publisher Virgin Interactive decided to scrap the project and instead obtain the rights to make a game based upon Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, to avoid potential confusion among consumers and the litigation that would ensue.



Thus, instead of an action-RPG that bore little resemblance to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Virgin ended up releasing...an entirely different action-RPG that bore little resemblance to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. But it has a different title and an official license and everything, so it's okay!



So yeah, the story behind Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves may be a little weird (and I may have made most of it up), but what you guys are seeing here today is a mostly-completed version of The Legend of Robin Hood, Sculptured Software's original Robin Hood-related NES title. The similarities between this and what was eventually released as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves should be obvious -- the two games share many of the same graphics and sound effects -- but the gameplay differs vastly between the two. Whereas Prince of Thieves was more action-oriented, The Legend of Robin Hood is much more RPG-like.



Like, you can actually go up to people and have conversations with them, for one thing. It's great because some of them do this weird little hoppy dance as they scroll onto the screen, in a strange attempt to simulate movement with only one frame of animation.



Then you get to insult and rob them, because Robin Hood is an asshole.

I still remember the first time Frank and I played this thing, reporting our findings back and forth on IRC (hey, remember IRC?). At one point he told me to go into the upper-left corner of the woods at the beginning of the game because there was "a surprise!" waiting there for me. I like surprises, so I dodged a forest full of retarded bears and pressed up against the top-left corner of the screen to find...



Oh hey, and I just thought he was fucking with me. This is a nice surprise! I'll just take my new sword outside and



Wait, what?



Hey I



What the

The "surprise" is that you get stuck in the corner of the woods and can't exit the hidden room unless you reset. I called Frank a fucker. He laughed at me.



The Legend of Robin Hood's many surprises indicate that I may have just been lying to you about how complete it was. The basic play structure is there, but the glitches, debug features (oh, you'll probably need the warp feature at some point -- try pressing Up or Down and Start at the same time), and totally busted archery mode present in this prototype indicate that a lot more work needed to be done before The Legend of Robin Hood could be released. Is there a more complete version out there? Nobody knows!



In the end, The Legend of Robin Hood proves that an average game can be transformed into an entirely different average game when Kevin Costner becomes involved. This is a good lesson that totally relates to game development today, and you can expect to see my feature article "The Cost of Costner" appear on Gamasutra later this week. Now play this stupid game and talk about it!
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kap
Minister of Paranoia
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This read was more entertaining than the movie. In fact, more entertaining than any Costner movie that I can think of. Unless he does more than dance with those wolves, and that really wouldn't be entertaining so much as fascinating and wrong.

But, yeah, I loved this. Nice writeup.
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iamstillhiro1112



Joined: 02 Nov 2005
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Location: Minnesota

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love seeing betas of released games.
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adaml
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad of teh Saueuerdiaousse.
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Nosuch



Joined: 01 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same here. Even if it's a beta for something I'm not very familiar with (or, in this case, have never played), it's still just strangely fascinating to read.
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Evan



Joined: 17 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought Robin Hood was alright, though the lack of a save system meant you had to play for about 5 hours straight just to pass it.
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Blitzwing
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it did have a password system

however, it was A HIDDEN PASSWORD SYSTEM much like demon sword's
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Carnivol
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the password system in Robin Hood was strange, you had to press like A 8 times, then B 8 times, then A some more, or something like that.

Typing in MARRIAGE would let you see the most amazing full motion cutscene ever made, without having to play through 8 hours of another 8-bit game where David Hasselhoff's likeness is used to portray the character(s).
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handofg0d



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carnivol wrote:
Yeah, the password system in Robin Hood was strange, you had to press like A 8 times, then B 8 times, then A some more, or something like that.

Typing in MARRIAGE would let you see the most amazing full motion cutscene ever made, without having to play through 8 hours of another 8-bit game where David Hasselhoff's likeness is used to portray the character(s).


You mean this one?
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rbudrick
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lolz. I finally beat the released version for the first time about 6 months ago.

Funny ass review, heh.

-Rob
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Altered Bonk



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

handofg0d wrote:
You mean this one?

For a moment there I thought the King was going to be a surprise last boss.

I was on the edge of my seat!
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kap
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Altered Bonk wrote:
handofg0d wrote:
You mean this one?

For a moment there I thought the King was going to be a surprise last boss.


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Smeg
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man I know it's just a reflection but I'll be damned if the King doesn't have something in his flavor saver there.
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kap
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, the King would make a perfect horror movie adversary, considering his fast approach and absolute silence. I need an edit of Halloween with his pasted on Michael's body or something.
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ICEknight



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

handofg0d wrote:
You mean this one?

Wow.
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shawnphase



Joined: 22 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hahha, im so glad to see that busted-up archery still intact. thx for this man.
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Wonderbutt



Joined: 30 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, talk about coincidences. I just quit playing the original release on Nestopia because there was no way to get the stupid mask, I forgot to get it from the retarded elevated railroad tree house empire, and the gallows scene was one endless melee after another so blah blah....

And now you hit me with this????

FUCK
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Wonderbutt



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed beating the over-sized guinea pig after conversing with the bald fat guy about sundry royals very, very, very, much.
Thanks for this, Sardi-ass.
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TheRedEye
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't honestly say this about most of the games we've featured, but...this would have been a good game, if they finished it!

Magazine previews showed a fully functional archery game, so I think the game got farther than this proto.
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Carnivol
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What mapper does the game use?

Maybe it's a mapper/compatibility issue that creates the broken graphics. Without doing a compare now, but it reminds me of kinda of how I seem to recall Punch-out acts (facial prortraits) when it's played in an emu that doesn't properly support its mapper.
(Time's been mean to me lately, so I haven't had time to check out most recent stuff)
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