Defender of the Crown


posted 10/28/2002 by Dan Clarke
other articles by Dan Clarke
Platforms: GBA
Let’s turn the wayback machine to 1986. During that year, a company called Cinemaware was making some pretty amazing games for the Commodore 64. From Flashback to Defender of the Crown, everyone was just amazed at the gameplay and the graphics.

Usually, when games are THAT good, they come back over time in multiple formats, like Flashback on the Genesis. They come back looking better and reminding gamers that a game doesn’t have to use 23 button combos to make a fun game.

Such is the case with Defender of the Crown. The Game Boy Advance version is just like the original Commodore version. If you’re familiar with this game from the 80s, then you’ll enjoy the recreation. If you’ve never played it, let’s start with a primer.

DOTC is a game of strategy and conquest. It has some board game like qualities in that it is turn based and you’re trying to take over land that may belong to other people. In addition there are games such as jousting that you need to win in order to acquire land or fame.

You need to buy soldiers, catapults in order to take over land. The attacks are pretty much of the ‘watch a screen showing casualties’ variety – you don’t really have much control over it unless you are using the catapult. Another way to get more money is to loot another castle, which does require some action on your part – multiple swordfights to get to the kitty.

Each ‘turn’ allows you to choose to build an army or raid another castle, or claim undeveloped land. You can also choose to fight another army.

The game can be difficult at times especially in the beginning as you’re creating a start up dynasty, but then can be a lot of fun. I would call this game a ‘strategy lite’ game, as PC gamers into WarCraft or Command & Conquer may be shocked at the lack of depth – however, as a pick up and play game, it can’t be beat. There is a battery backup so you can save your game at any time and avoid the horrible passwords!

Even though the graphics are 16 (!) years old, they still look great on the GBA. Sound isn’t the best, but it is decent enough as to not detract from the game. Some of the action sequences are difficult until you figure them out, such as the jousting competition. I had a very tough time with the competition until I finally figured out how to get points (it always helps to read the manual). I was then winning the competitions in no time.

It is a shame that a link option isn’t available – a turn based game is the perfect link up game, but this is not the case here—you’re limited to single player only.

Overall, I found Defender of the Crown a great way to pass the time and re-live some Commodore computer gaming history.

Overall, I found Defender of the Crown a great way to pass the time and re-live some Commodore computer gaming history.

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