Robin Hood: Return of Richard Review
The story of Robin Hood has been told and re-told countless ages throughout man’s history. It was a no brainer that video games would get their own version of the tale. Some have been done well, others haven’t. Where does Robin Hood: Return of Richard fall in the list of Robin Hood’s adventures? Read on to find out.
One of the best qualities of the game is the visual aspects of the environments. Each of the game’s twelve levels have a really good sense of depth. Objects in the foreground move around where objects in the background don’t move as much. This provides you with the opportunity to use trees or pillars to hide from enemies trying to do you harm. Outside of the sense of depth though it was hard to tell sometimes what constituted a part of the environment that could be shot and which parts were static. There are plenty of things in the environment that might be able to be shot, but only two or three “hidden” things are available to find. The can range from a bucket on the ground to the moon, which I was able to blow up with one arrow and was awarded a grand total of 150 points. You’d think being able to shoot the moon with an arrow from the earth would be worth a little more, but I guess not.
Repetitive and Boring
Outside of the environments themselves the game really starts to fall apart. The game has twelve levels that each last exactly three minutes. That means that from start to finish, including the game’s story you’ll have about 45 minutes of game play. This would normally be a bad thing, but in the case of gallery shooting games it means you could come back and play the game numerous times trying to better your score.
The problem is there isn’t really any reason to. There’s one game mode, the story, and a practice mode where you can play through previously unlocked levels again. There’s absolutely no variation between the levels outside of environmental differences.
No one has ever claimed the role of henchman belonged to someone who thought for themselves, but the people that Prince John hired in this game are just plain stupid. They run from left to right, or right to left waiting for you to shoot them. Sure, they’re armed with shields, torches or swords, but they don’t do anything with them. The guys that were lucky enough to get bows will occasionally take shots, but they don’t amount to much more than an annoyance, and chances are you’ll kill them before they ever get a chance to knock an arrow. Each enemy also, must have gone to the Homer Simpson school of dying, because every single person you shoot will fall over with the same animation and sound effect.
When I say that I mean that while the shooting works well enough to realize you’ve shot an enemy it has plenty of flaws. Bows were traditionally very slow weapons, unless in the hands of an expert bowman. In Return of Richard you have a “quiver” of eight arrows that can be refilled instantly with a press of the B button. Not completely realistic, but it gets a pass by virtue of being an arcade shooter. Other issues involve the hit detection of enemies. I was routinely shooting in front of, or behind, enemies and it would register as a hit and they would fall dead. There’s also no animation of your arrow in flight. I’m not expert, but I’ve seen arrows fly and you can generally follow their flight path pretty well. They don’t disappear when you release them from your bow.
Why is There a Story?
This is an arcade shooting gallery. The only story we need is press start and shoot things. The developers have tried to shove a story in here, that while it retells the Robin Hood story, doesn’t really make sense. For instance, at one point you’re told you sneak into the castle only to have the next level take place outside in a wooded area. How does that work? They should have left the story out. It would have made more sense. The game ends with the climactic boss fight against Prince John, who wears armor and shoots multiple arrows at a time. He feels, much like every other enemy in the game, an annoyance in your way to putting your name on the leader board.
Robin Hood: Return of Richard, should have left the story at home. As a shooting gallery it feels like a sloppy port of an iPhone game. There’s no real options outside of shooting things in the lame story. There’s very little reason to replay the game, no online leader boards, and no real creativity in enemies, or environments to speak of, and no real challenge. I was able to survive more than two minutes before dieing when I set the controller on the couch next to me. As a $2 time waster on a phone, or even the DS, it makes sense. Anything more than that and it really falls apart. Console owners have come to expect a variety of experiences, even among their downloadable titles. Robin Hood: Return of Richard doesn’t have any.
Final Score: 1/5 Terrible
Review copy of the game provided by Nordcurrent
Played through the story mode twice.
Total Play Time: 1.5 hours