>> Sunday, November 5, 2006
In one or more ways the CD-i reminds me of the good old Amiga days. Especially because of Philips's own POV Group which was formed from the famous Cinemaware, who used to be a fond Amiga producer. One of the major innovative titles for Amiga is highly underestimated on the Philips CD-i. I'm talking about "Defender of the Crown", a game which have seen many conversions including Amiga, NES, PC, Atari ST and Commodore 64. A little flashback to a game unequalled on the CD-i system.
Defender of the Crown was the very first title from Philips POV on the CD-i system. The game is situated in the Medieval days, you're a Lord and owner of a small piece of land. But the country itself is scattered.The king has been killed, and both nations accuse each other. To make things worse: the crown is also lost! Now it's your (including a little Robin Hood magic!) turn to re-unite the country and to find out what happened to the crown and who killed the king.
That's the story of this legendary game. The name "Defender of the Crown" will probably call up good memories of owners of the Amiga. Cinemaware was the first company utilizing the full capacity of the Amiga, and many gamers were jaw-dropping when experiencing the great graphics (at that time!): The letters in the title screen looked like pure gold, the knights and other people seems to really live and all and the movies were like a fairytale.
The PC conversion is far worse than the CD-i version (it was only EGA and capable of 16 colours) (CD-i version has 4096 colours, just like the Amiga version).
Defender of the Crown is a turn-based strategy game. the main screen shows the map of England, divided in provinces. the goal is to conquer them all. There are four characters to choose from, and your start position is based on this choice. You can buy catapults and soldiers, arrange your campagne army or plunder the castle of the enemy. As long as you conquer land, you gain more gold. There is also some random action of thieves taking your money. Using the gold wisely you'll have a lot of fun, at least I have! True, the CD-i version is a bit slow, but after you get the hang of the game, it's a unique blend which I've never seen on CD-i before.
In 1986 Cinemaware released Defender of the Crown on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and it revolutionized strategy/action games. Offering multiple gameplay aspects with both strategy and action elements, it became one of the classic games of the time. Jump ahead two decades and Cinemaware is back with Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown for the PlayStation 2. Now Cinemaware is an acquisition of one of the biggest budget labels: eGames. Still I hope the return of Cinemaware to the market means more returns of legendary games like Defender of the Crown.
OK, the CD-i version is not the best version around (go for Amiga) but the turn-based gameplay is unique on CD-i and very addicting once you get through the manual. The graphics are great and surpassing the Commodore and PC versions easily. Defender of the Crown was highly popular with Amiga fans, but unfortunately the CD-i version never catched on. Probably due to the fact it's a very first generation title, and the latter were often far better.
POV is the only production unit which still exist nowadays out of the Philips Media Family, known as Mass Media. Mass Media, Inc. is a privately held California corporation established to design and produce entertainment software. The executive offices are located at 357 Science Drive, Moorpark, California, 93021. The core group of Mass Media came together in the late 1980's at "Cinemaware". Cinemaware (Defender of the crown, wings etc..) is often credited with creating a new genre of computer gaming known as Interactive Films. In 1991 this group formed a production unit called Philips P.O.V. Entertainment Group for Philips Media. Over a four year period, Philips P.O.V. created 11 award winning titles for Philips Media, including VOYEUR, CAESARS WORLD OF BOXING, and THUNDER IN PARADISE INTERACTIVE. Mass Media left Philips in 1995 to be an exclusive developer for Time Warner Interactive. Following the break up of Time Warner Interactive, Mass Media has been an independent developer.