Gisburne's Castle was first released by Martech some three years ago as a full price game, and it has now been re-released at a budget price.
The aim is to steer Robin of Foxley - The Hooded Man - through Sherwood Forest and into Guy of Gisburne's heavily defended castle, to free Maid Marion who has been captured and held as bait.
This quest leads you to confrontation with the guards who take various guises but who are all dead shots with wooden beams or axes - you have to rely on your archery skills. Being hit reduces your energy, but your arrows can destroy the guards though their bodies take time to fade away and leave a clear path.
You can replenish your energy by picking up food on your way and arrows can be supplemented by collecting the quivers which have been left lying about.
The shoot-'em-up part of the game requires speed and dextrous finger work. At the same time you also have adventure-style problems to solve.
Could it bethat the guards inthe castle need poisoned arrows to kill them? Will the rope enable me to escape from the dungeon? Where should I throw the dynamite?
Many posers like this occur and just as in a text adventure you will have to decide which of the many objects to carry and where to leave the spare items. Whatever you do, don't go in the hut until you've got the sack!
Different keys allow you to move up, down, left or right and fire arrows. You can also use keys to pick up objects when you are near them and alter the object you hold in your hand. You can use hand held objects, or drop or throw them if preferred. There is also a mystery key which seems to have good effects sometimes, but at others proves disastrous.
This is a true arcade adventure. And while the graphic quality may not be up to present day standards, the game has many plus features.
You can define thekeys and change them during a game, the sound (which is adequate) is optional, and at any time you can obtain a display of the various characters. You can also alter your opponent's skill level, to Novice, Marksman or Robin Hood.
If I attempt anything but Novice, my energy rapidly drains away to nothing.
Anti-pirate security is novel - on loading you are presented with a number. The cassette inlay has a six letter code which corresponds with the number and before playing the game you must type this in. There are 250 possible codes, and it is different each time you play, so ownership of the cassette inlay is essential.
I find Gisburne's Castle addictive and excellent value for money - for arcade adventure freaks.