Defender of the Crown
is the game that probably sold more Amiga computers in North America in 1986 more than any other. At the time, it was simply shocking to see and experience. The graphics were nothing short of revolutionary compared to literally everything else, including the arcades, and it blew open the minds of consumers to what was possible in the home computer market.
Published by Cinemaware, a publishing house that became known for producing highly polished visual masterpieces, a team of artists led by James (Jim) Sachs created something for mass consumption that seemed impossible for contemporary home-based technology to accomplish. Built on an Amiga for the Amiga, Sachs and his team pushed every pixel to an amazing level of photorealism and beauty previously only attained by painters on canvas. Yet this was interactive with a dramatic musical score!
If you didn't own an Amiga in 1986, when you saw Defender of the Crown
that dream of ownership began right then and there if not from the "boing ball" demo (for me it was "the juggler"). The 8-bit market looked like tic-tac-toe drawn in the sand next to this. And competitor computing platforms surely must have been frightened by what they saw.
Is Defender of the Crown
an amazing game? Not really. After about an hour or two of play, it can be put on the shelf without too much longing to play again. You pretty much just find yourself mashing buttons, wondering if you're even controlling things half the time. Now, had the game been two-player, it could have had the potential to be vastly more entertaining. And it has its moments here and there. But more than anything Defender of the Crown
is a technological marvel bordering on the magical. How these complex digital paintings and animations were fit onto two Amiga disks still impresses 30 years later. The most fun this game offers, in my opinion, is for the first-time play when you enter a new screen you've never seen before. You want to just sit and admire the view, right before you die and start the game over again.
Think about that for a moment, though - this game will hit 30 years old in the fall of 2016, and it can still impress onlookers. That's a true testament to Sachs' artistic leadership and vision, and for taking the initiative to push the boundaries of what an Amiga could do. The game inspired, shocked and awed. And sometimes still does.
If it pleases you, take a moment to admire the screenshots below at a larger size by clicking on the thumbnails. Many of these shots could be made into 8x10s.
Back of the box:
The Age of Chivalry! A time of lusty wenches and black hearted villains, King Richard has been murdered and England thrown into civil war! Amidst the ringing clash of steel and thunder of charging steeds the bold Saxon knights have chosen you to lead them into battle against the hated Normans. Victory will not come easy. To save England your skills as a swordsman and military leader will be severely tested. But should you succeed you'll win the Crown of England and the love of many a beautiful damsel!
- Heart pounding action as you rescue your lady from a foul Norman prison.
- Majestic tournaments where you joust for fame, fortune and land.
- Heroic battles featuring castle shattering giant catapults!
- A unique blend of role playing and strategy combined with dazzling arcade-style sequences.
- Easy-to-use mouse or joystick controls. No typing required!