A strategic romp for all the land.
DEVELOPER: Beam Software
RELEASE DATE: July 1989
There’s a lack of royal head under the crown, which means someone didn’t do a very good job defending it. Pick from one of four hairy, chivalrous Saxons – Wilfred of Ivanhoe, Wolfric the Wild, Cedric of Rotherwood, and Geoffrey Longsword – and reclaim the British throne from those no-good Norman drunks. Each man has strengths and weaknesses in Jousting, Swordplay, and Leadership. These three character traits are essential to successful raids, conquering lands, and winning tournaments. Build up an army of stout soldiers and knights to do your bidding. Without the appropriate man power, you’ll fall at the hands of the Normans right quickly. Initially, your sights will be on conquering the Norman land in the South, but watch out for your supposed Saxon brethren to the north; the crown’s allure is tempting, and no man is safe from its siren song.
Defender of the Crown suffers from obtuse and difficult gameplay, even when selecting Wilfred, the most well-rounded Saxon, to play as. Even after perusing the manual, your best option is to simply jump in and play. I’d recommend building an army first, but you’ll need funds to do that. You can go on raids or take lands to get more gold, but without an army, you won’t get very far. The combat mechanic is clunky, as are the tournament controls; it doesn’t surprise me that DotC was originally an Amiga title, as the controls seem better suited to a mouse and keyboard. If you can build up your character’s army and attributes, you might stand a chance at reclaiming the crown. I lacked initiative, so Wilfred made me a boot shiner.