Added: 8 Jun 2012
In 1993, Jim Sachs, who worked on the graphics for Defender of the Crown, designed a sequel, Defender of the Crown 2. It never really caught on though, mainly because it was only released for Commodore's ill-fated CDTV system.
Added: 8 Jun 2012
The Commodore 64 version of Defender of the Crown was also released on tape in Europe, as disk drives were expensive in Europe at the time and most people still used tape drives. The tape version is trimmed down to fit on the smaller storage of tape, and is missing several pictures found on the disk version. Some of the missing pictures are Robin Hood at the start of the game, and the closeup views of the Saxon damsels after you rescued them.
There was bootable version released that supported EGA/Tandy graphics and Tandy 3-voice sound, which greatly enhanced the PC version of the game. Unfortunately, this version is extremely rare and most people only have the CGA/PC Speaker version. The CGA version "tweaks" the screen during the joust; the furious riding on your horse makes the screen "shake". This locks up the game on VGA cards, but if you can avoid this if you play it under a pseudo-emulator like Windows or OS/2 (or just don't joust during the game).
Added: 10 Jun 2012
DEFENDER OF THE CROWN
The year is 1149. King Richard has been murdered. The crown itself
has vanished. England is being split asunder by civil war. The
bloodthirsty Norman invaders are sweeping up from the south, lusting
after good Saxon land and better Saxon women. Your friend, Robin of
Locksley, has fled to Sherwood Forest where he robs from the rich
and...well, does what any self-respecting hood would do. To you
falls the gauntlet: Purge the nation of the Norman plague, and
restore order and harmony once again.
Such is the challenge of this Cinemaware "interactive movie" from
Mindscape, reviewed here on the Amiga 500. (Apple IIgs version notes
follow.) First, you must decide which of five Saxon knights you will
be, each one having strong points and weaknesses; your choice will
ultimately guide your strategy throughout the adventures that
follow. Will you be Wolfric the Wild, a master of the joust, but not
much of a leader? Or perhaps Geoffrey Longsword, who wields his
blade with surgeon-like efficiency? As the game progresses, you'll
have opportunities to increase your skills and leadership ability.
This will earn you the respect of your men, and they will fight all
the harder for you.
Once you know who you are, it's time to let others know as well.
Conquering neighboring lands will swell your coffers, as you collect
taxes from the peasantry. With gold you can hire foot soldiers and
knights to increase the ranks of your army, buy catapults to
demolish the walls of your enemies' castles, and build castles
yourself to protect the boundaries of your domain.
Which lands should you attack? A careful reading of the map will
provide much insight as to strength and income. When should you
attack? Watch carefully the battles of your neighbors, for they will
tell you a good deal concerning the strength and dispositions of
their forces. How much of your army will you send forth into
battle, and how many men will you keep in reserve to defend your
home? When is an opponent sufficiently weakened that a siege of his
home castle might finally be attempted? These are only a few of the
choices for would-be conquerors.
Is your army reduced to a few ragged serfs with pikestaffs? Don't
drown your sorrows in a flagon of ale. Hold a tournament and
challenge your foes to a friendly joust. You can win land outright
if you're skillful enough at aiming a lance from astride your
thundering steed. Is your treasury so depleted you don't have two
gold sovereigns to rub together? A successful midnight raid on a
neighboring castle could reap you large rewards. Ready to storm an
enemy's stronghold? You'll need a delicate touch with that catapult
to blast a way through the massive stone walls.
And let us not forget those dastardly Normans and their fondness
for distressing lovely Saxon damsels! If a lady cries for help, it
would be unthinkable not to rescue her. (This is the Age of
Chivalry, after all.) Your reward for this daring enterprise is a
short animated sequence that would earn the game a PG-13 rating if
it were a movie.
The Amiga version of DEFENDER comes on two disks, 512K of memory is
required, and a second disk drive is recommended. It will handle
input from either mouse or joystick. This game really lets the Amiga
strut its stuff. With truly state-of-the-art graphics, appropriately
stirring music, and realistic sound effects, it artfully combines
several genres of computer games: role-playing, strategy, and
DEFENDER owes much to the finely detailed graphics of premier Amiga
artist Jim Sachs. Some of the images -- such as finely detailed
medieval tapestries -- are breathtaking to behold. The strategy
elements are also well-designed: Success depends on careful planning
and timely execution. However, the arcade aspects are less
engaging. The joust is the hardest (I've only managed to unseat a
single opponent); the sword fighting the most repetitive; and the
catapult, which is easily mastered, quickly turns into little more
than a stage wait.
Additionally, some game elements seem almost superfluous. The point
is strongly made that you must call upon Robin Hood's aid only three
times; yet you can ignore Robin entirely if you choose, and still be
Finally, although perhaps not historically accurate, I would have
liked at least one of the stalwart Saxon characters to have been
female, with the love scene adjusted accordingly. It's a pity that
most developers apparently stil ignore the fact that quite a few
women play computer games.
Cinemaware's DEFENDER OF THE CROWN is like a trailer for the next
generation of computer games. The highlights may promise more than
the feature itself can quite deliver, but even so, it remains
challenging and fun after repeated playing. And that in itself is
enough to recommend it to today's computer moviegoers.
APPLE IIGS VERSION NOTES
All the beautiful graphics of DEFENDER OF THE CROWN's Amiga version
are present on the IIgs, along with some wonderful period music in
the background. Unfortunately, the shortcomings discussed above also
have been transferred, and sometimes amplified.
The arcade sequences are downright maddening: I really can find no
relationship between what I do with my mouse and what happens on the
screen -- especially in the jousting and sword fighting sequences.
Since these actions are what involve the player in the game, I
quickly became frustrated and bored.
I'd love to see Cinemaware's concepts broadened on the IIgs;
however, I'd hope that the player actions would be either better
explained, or easier to disappointing 4.
DEFENDER OF THE CROWN is published by Cinemaware and distributed by
This review is copyright (c) 1987 by Wilton Place Productions,
*****DOWNLOADED FROM P-80 SYSTEMS (304) 744-2253