Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (video game)

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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves Coverart.png
North American cover art
Developer(s) Sculptured Software, Bits Studios
Publisher(s) Virgin Games
Composer(s) Paul Webb (NES version), David Whittaker (GameBoy version arrangements)
Platform(s) NES/Game Boy
Release
  • NA: November 1991[1]
  • EU: December 10, 1992
Genre(s) Historic action adventure
Mode(s) Single-player campaign

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a console game released in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy developed by Sculptured Software, Inc. and Bits Studios, respectively, and published by Virgin Games, Inc. It was based on the film of the same name.

The game was featured as the cover game for the July 1991 issue of Nintendo Power magazine. However, this issue was notorious for the fact that the game was not released until 6 months after the issue was released.[2]

Around the same time, a Robin Hood game was also featured in an episode of Captain N: The Game Master. The episode was almost certainly a reference to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves because it was the only Robin Hood game released for the NES in the relevant time frame, but none of the characters ever make a reference to the Prince of Thieves subtitle, possibly due to rights issues. Also, none of the Robin Hood characters in the episode resemble their counterparts from the film. As a result, the episode only vaguely alludes to the actual game.

Gameplay[edit]

The game was notable for featuring several modes of gameplay. The standard adventuring mode depicted the action from an overhead perspective as the player guided Robin through the environment, battling enemies. A second mode used for one-on-one duels depicted the action from the side and featured different controls that allowed the player-controlled character to jump as well as attack and guard. The third mode, a melee mode, featured action taking place from an extreme overhead perspective, allowing for the depiction of large-scale battles between large forces. This mode typically ensued when a large number of Robin's merry men and enemy soldiers clashed. During a horse racing sequence, there is yet another mode, a blend of the overhead and side perspectives, as the horse must be guided to jump over debris and ultimately beat the competitor.

The game also had a loose equipping system, where nearly any object could be held as a weapon. When Duncan first joins Robin's band, he comes brandishing a chicken leg for attack.

Story[edit]

The game opens in an Arab prison in Jerusalem. Robin Hood is in prison along with Peter Dubois and Azeem. Robin must free both of them and then they must make their escape. Peter is mortally wounded in the escape process, but Robin and Azeem escape to England.

Upon arrival in England, Robin finds that his father has been murdered and that the Sheriff of Nottingham is ruling England oppressively in the absence of King Richard. Maid Marian tells Robin that there are rumours that men are hiding out in Sherwood Forest from the sheriff and tells him to go there, seek them out and join them.

Once Robin joins the camp in Sherwood, it becomes Robin Hood’s home base for the remainder of the game. He continually leaves camp to undertake various missions. Upon completing each mission, Robin must return to camp to find out what mission to undertake next. Eventually, Robin Hood takes his last mission to get rid of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Once Robin defeats the Sheriff, the game is won and concludes with a wedding of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, which is interrupted by King Richard, who has just returned to England. Richard gives Marian away and she and Robin are married.

Differences between the movie and video game[edit]

  • In the movie, Robin’s father is killed directly by the Sheriff of Nottingham. In the video game, the death of Robin’s father is primarily the work of Guy of Gisbourne, though the sheriff is involved.
  • In the video game, Marian is against the sheriff and on Robin’s side from the beginning. In the movie, she initially pretends to view him as a common outlaw so as not to give the Sheriff reason to forcibly take her lands or harm her subjects.
  • In the video game, Robin kills Guy of Gisborne in a duel when the latter is transporting gold through Sherwood Forest. In the movie, Guy is killed by the sheriff in reprisal for allowing Robin to steal the gold.
  • In the video game, upon defeating Guy, Robin retrieves his father's sword, which had been stolen from him. In the movie, Robin does not get the sword until he defeats the sheriff.
  • The video game features a key villain known simply as "The Baron" who is in league with the sheriff to take over England.
  • The video game features various subplots that are not in the movie. These include Robin hunting down a giant boar that is ravaging the villages, seeking a weapons master to train his men, and searching for mystical healing waters to cure his sick men. This may have been to give the game some more length.
  • The movie includes a subplot in which Will Scarlet reveals to Robin that he is his half-brother. In the video game, Will is a peripheral character whom Robin consults with upon returning to camp to learn of the next mission.
  • The character Azeem, who plays a major role in the film, loses prominence as the game progresses.
  • In the video game, the sheriff's witch Mortiana has a skeleton bodyguard who can only be killed with one weapon; the Druid’s Dagger. Robin obtains the dagger when Marian secretly steals it from the sheriff and passes it on to Robin. In the movie, Marian gives Robin a similar dagger which Robin eventually uses to kill the sheriff.
  • In the video game, the character portraits representing the characters are quite similar to the cast members of the movie, however the portraits regarding Guy of Gisbourne, played by Michael Wincott, and the Sheriff of Nottingham portrayed by Alan Rickman have been switched around.

References[edit]