Back to Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood

I think it’s about time we got back to this game, don’t you? I planned to finish it up months ago — I wanted to get it done before IFComp started! — but things happened, and momentum was lost, and I’ve found it to be a difficult game to get back into. There’s just a lots of little bits of friction: partly it’s the graphics (not quite high-res enough for the level of detail it’s aiming at), partly it’s the UI (just a bit too complicated for its framerate), partly it’s the gameplay (just complicated enough that I can’t just jump back in without a refresher). These are of course the reasons I left it unplayed for so many years in the first place.

And then there’s the position I had left it in: stuck in my attempt at rescuing Little John because of the interference of a mounted knight. The good news is that I’ve now gotten past that level. The bad news is that I basically didn’t learn anything from it. I just replayed from a save until I somehow managed to clear out all the enemies in the vicinity of Little John without the knight noticing. I don’t know how I did it, and I certainly don’t know how to deal with knights in general, which seems like it’s going to be a problem from here on. Afterwards, I attempted a side mission, just another “mug a tax collector” bit like I’ve done several times already, but this time there was another mounted knight in his escort. I’m going to be seeing a lot of these guys, it seems. Maybe there’s a trick to subduing them than I haven’t discovered, or maybe they’re just there to encourage stealth. I just don’t know. I’m going to have to learn.

Stepping back a bit, this whole problem, of beating levels by save-scumming instead of by doing whatever it is the designer intended you to do, is probably something I encounter a lot, particularly in RTS games (a genre that’s cousin to this game). Back when RTSes were best-sellers, there seemed to develop an assumption that anyone who bought a new one had already mastered the form. Well, I’ve played through Warcraft, and Command & Conquer, and half of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and I pretty much save-scummed through them all.

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