Archery Popshots | Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown
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Archery Popshots | Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown

August 11, 2019

It is the dawn of a new era in England. But before that, let’s go back to the old
era. 1986. The Amiga personal computer, and the
classic game, Defender of the Crown. Taking the role of a feudal lord, the player
has to unite England under his banner By strategic cunning, a catapult’s boulder,
and the tip of the sword. Fast forward to 2003, and we have a remake
on the PC, Playstation 2 and Xbox. The core of the game is the same and the minigames
have been given a facelift. Some were removed, while some were added. The key change, however, is the inclusion
of the plot-driven campaign. Robin Hood, previously a cameo character in
the original game, is now the protagonist. After sweeping through Sherwood Forest and
embarrassing the Sheriff of Nottingham Robin teams up with Wilfred of Ivanhoe and
the rest of his Merry Men to save England from greedy lords and the
evil schemes of Prince – ahem – King John. You can’t have a Robin Hood game without
archery. In fact, that is the very first thing you
do in the game. Robin, sitting in a tree, preying on a wealthy
merchant and his guards. Introducing us to the new minigame in Defender
of the Crown. This is something you can choose to do at
any time in the campaign. Choosing an archery raid gives you the opportunity
make quite a bit of coin, depending on the difficulty of the target Though a good sword raid will yield more gold,
and is substantially easier. However, the archery raid is a safe option
as the sword raid is all or nothing. Lose in a sword fight, and you lose a turn. In an archery raid, you get gold per kill,
and even if you fail the mission, you evade capture though you lose all your earnings. So how does the archery raid work? Quite simply, there is only one type of bridge
in all of England, and the riders casually pass through. Your goal is to take as many of them out as
possible, simply by aiming your bow and letting loose. Regular soldiers are worth five gold, knights
are worth more, as are the saddle-bag carrying soldiers. Carriage are worth a whopping 100 gold, as
long as you eliminate everyone in it. To make life harder, archers will shoot back
at you. A distinct whistle and visual cue alerts you
to an incoming arrow, giving you time to dodge. Naturally, taking out these archers is priority.
They are, however, your only threat. Choose your targets wisely though, as being
too focused on one soldier means that you lose the chance to engage new targets coming down the road. While this looks simple and straightforward,
this is actually a lot harder than it looks. Believe me. I wrote a whole guide on this on GameFAQs
over ten years ago. The problem with archery in this game is the
hit detection. This is no first-person shooter. You never quite get the feeling of which pixel
the arrow is going to hit, and many times you swear you hit the guy. There is a system in place, so it’s not
broken. Just really, really sensitive. I actually find that the advice I give to
archers in real life applies here: Aim lower than you think you need to. Other than that, it’s a repetitive minigame,
and surprisingly the one that requires the most skill and input. You won’t see much of it in the campaign
apart from event triggers, which give you bonus troops but often appear at inopportune moments, resulting
in lost turns and possibly lost games. While there are several story events that
involve swordfighting, none involve archery, which is kind of disappointing. Outside of the archery raid minigame, archers
appear as a battlefield unit. The original game lacked archers, and the
revamped battle mode gives all units key roles. Archers are backline unit, and are uniquely
able to shoot on unit bases or directly on advancing enemies. In comparison, melee units have to advance
down the lane. This actually makes large numbers of archers
overpowered. A volley at the beginning will often wipe
out a whole lane, and direct fire onto an advancing unit will also destroy it. Later in the game, the archer unit gains the
ability to force an advancing unit back, making it even more useful. However, if your frontline units get wiped
out, the archers are forced into the front, making them extremely vulnerable to melee
attacks. As a result, you might end up keeping your
melee units in reserve while your ranged units do the damage, only sending the cavalry and footmen out in
defensive counter-attacks to stop a lane from falling. For a simple game mode, it’s surprising
tactical. The minigames generally disappear as the game
goes on, with the player mostly spending time chasing after counties to get more gold and bonuses, while containing
Prince John in Cornwall. Then finally laying siege, defeating him in
one-on-one combat and laying the carpet for the return of King
Richard. Like the original Defender of the Crown, once
you know the strategic formula, the game is really easy to blitz through perfectly. Outside of a buggy minigame, there’s not
much archery involved for a title bearing Robin Hood’s name. Still, the game is fun and colourful, and
a pleasant tribute to the Amiga classic. Until next time, shoot straight and aim for
your best.

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  1. You should try out one of the Turok games, or perhaps Crysis, they all pretty much revolve around the bow as a primary weapon

  2. GameFAQs?!

    It's been years (perhaps a decade) since the last time I read a guide on that site, this brings back so many good memories… 🙂

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