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Joining the King of Thieves
With the fairly lengthy title of "The Chronicles of Robin Hood - The King of Thieves", this particular game belongs to the Match 3 genre of challenges. Developed by eFunsoft Games, this offering retells the story of Robin Hood and his band of merry men through a series of Match 3 game play with linking static scenes and accompanying dialogue as you set about helping the citizens of Nottingham by taking down the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham through the five chapters of the game.
Prior to joining Robin and his band of outlaws, you can create profiles for different players in order to record their progress as they play in either Relaxed or Time limited mode with the latter being represented by a time bar situated in the lower right corner of the main action screen. You can also make certain adjustments to the game playing environment. The volume levels for background music and sound effects, including the dialogue spoken by various voice actors, and a commentator can be set to a level to suit your preferences. Other settings involving whether to play in full screen mode or not and opting for assistance from tutorials, can be applied.
Following a brief intro, as the Earl Robert of Huntington returns from fighting in an overseas war, only to find that the Sheriff of Nottingham had taken control of his hand and properties. After a failed attempt to unseat the Sheriff, Earl Roberts flees to the local forest as he is pursued by the Sheriff's men. As the forest had a reputation for being the site of strange happenings, the chasing soldiers were reluctant to follow the Earl into the greenwood. After changing his name to Robin Hood, the fugitive Earl sets about recruiting a band of men to help fight the Sheriff, build a camp and help the local people by completing a series of Match 3 challenges.
The Match 3 action in this title is that of the familiar technique of creating groups of 3 or more similarly embellished and coloured tiles within the irregularly shaped grids. Groups are formed by swapping two adjacent tiles. The tiles in the group will then disappear and be replaced by other tiles falling downwards and, sometimes, creating a cascading effects as more groups are formed. In order to complete each of the grids, you will need to successfully tackle a set challenge of removing a set number of tiles of a particular colour and embellishment. In some cases jewelled broaches form part of the grid. These broaches, forming part of the grid challenge, need to be guided towards the bottom of the grid so that they fall of the bottom.
Adding a degree of difficulty, to achieving the necessary challenge, are features that include single and double stands of chains plus holes in the grid. There are also tiles encased in a bubble that are constantly changing their emblem and colour. You will need to be on the look out for spiders, living in the forest. These spiders wander around the grid, building webs, until they are disposed of by enticing them into a trap.
When playing the Match 3 aspects of this game, various snippets of information and tools are arranges around the screen. A power bar on the left of the screen will show the power ups available and a power wheel which needs recharging at the start of each grid. The right side of the screen shows the amount of the resources you have collected. Positioned at the top of the screen will be the current status of the challenge for that grid.
As mentioned earlier, this game is spread over five chapters. Each of the chapters features four upgrades that need to be implemented by using the resources that have been collected. Generally these upgrades will take place within the forest scene which is too large to be viewed in a single screen. Using the left mouse button you can scroll left or right to examine other parts of the forest. The upgrades cover such features or events as Sanctuary, Watch Towers, Infiltration, The Prison and Revolution. While numerous mini-figures are dotted around the forest scene, they play no part in the completion of the various upgrades.
Various cut-scenes are used to move the story on as Robin meets up with and converses with Little John, Will Scarlet, Maid Marion and Friar Tuck. These scenes feature spoken and printed dialogue with a skip option for those in a hurry to get back to Match 3 game play. Characters seen in these cut-scenes are static.
While some of the backdrop scenes are visually impressive, I was less impressed with the game's dialogue which was rather bland and uninspiring. The Chronicles of Robin Hood - King of Thieves will only really appeal to those who cannot get enough of the Match 3 genre but do not expect anything innovative. I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is available for $9.99. The game requires a 1.5 GHz processor with 1024 MB of RAM and 880 MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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