Chivalry (Apple II) review
"KNAVE! Didst thou believe that Mario and his ilk brought party games and 'minigames' to the gaming world? Thine own eyes and ears deceive thee yet again. Ye should know that the first true party game - that is, a die-rolling boardgame concept for multiple players, crammed with arcade mini-games - was Chivalry for the Apple II, released in 1983 by Optimum Resource. If thou canst find a TRUE example of an arcade-board-party game hailing from an even earlier time, I'll eat yon squire's hat! ..."
KNAVE! Didst thou believe that Mario and his ilk brought party games and 'minigames' to the gaming world? Thine own eyes and ears deceive thee yet again. Ye should know that the first true party game - that is, a die-rolling boardgame concept for multiple players, crammed with arcade mini-games - was Chivalry for the Apple II, released in 1983 by Optimum Resource. If thou canst find a TRUE example of an arcade-board-party game hailing from an even earlier time, I'll eat yon squire's hat!
Ah, mist fills mine eyes at the thought of the buxom packaging that was to be had in those days. Chivalry came with a real board and playing pieces so that the contesting knights and ladies (up to four at a time) could track their progress relative to each other, and also plan out their selected rescue routes to the castle of that dastardly black knight, he who had kidnapped our beloved king. The astonishing Chivalry had no competition in its day, and more impressively it remains one of the most rollicking party games ye can play today. For fun, laughter and angst, memorable ditties, voluptuous graphics... this game is a sight for the sorest of eyes, and for 'children of all ages' as those daft scholars are heard to say!
The prerequisite for returning to the glorious age of Chivalry is a FLAWLESS AND UNRELENTING rendition of Ye Olde English Accent! The game does not falter in the marvellous performances of its characters even for a second, and its excuses for asking the player certain questions are truly the height of jest. Consider yonder example:
''Excuse me fair noble, I am old and my eyes are weak, are you a Lady or a Knight?''
Stow thy laughter and concentrate, dogsbody!
Brave nobles, please proceed to Fair Castle
On each turn of the game, a die is rolled or a spinner spun to determine the number of spaces ye should progress along the map, with a maximum move of three permitted. There are forty-six spaces in total, with three instances of alternate high and low roads ye can travel by. And every single space contains its own games and situations, no two the same! Once the adventures for your turn are complete, the next player (if there be one) seizes the reins for their turn. There is a unique musical theme and a background graphic for each scene. The melodies are strong and simple single-voice folk tunes fit for a queen, and the graphics are some of the best and fullest the Apple II ever offered, exploiting every patterning trick and shading effect to deceive grovelling peasants such as you and I of the existence of far more colours than were really available. The eye for detail in both the greenest of countrysides and the most intricate stonework is unsurpassed!
In the course of thy journeys, thou wilt face more challenges and adventures than thou couldst poke a stick at, and in league with all of the most valorous combative sports of the age. If ye fair well at the Archer's Meet or The Lists (jousting) for instance, ye might benefit from going ahead a couple of spaces. Ye will also encounter the good (and bad) folk of this land, and your behaviour towards them can affect thy progress for better or worse. Listen now to one such tale of CHIVALRY: If ye land at the mill, yon miller might ask you to help load his cart with sacks of flour. Thou couldst toss altruism to the wind and proceed on thy way (FIEND!)... or thou might choose to help. The miller now tosseth his sacks from the upper window, and you will manoeuvre a cart to catch the falling parcels. Spill no flour and thou shalt be rewarded. Let too many sacks explode 'pon the earth and there'll be no favour for you, slovenly varmint! (There be no lives or dying in Chivalry; the penalties are missed turns, being sent backwards and being subjected to amusing slander, wretch.)
The medieval world is a dangerous place, let me tell thee. There be numerous platform games in which one must jump across the stepping stones of a river or scale the parapets of a castle. The keyboard or paddle controls will cleverly adapt to every mini-game. You might be guiding your noble, aiming a bow, steering a raft, riding a horse or driving a catapult, and the button might make you jump, shoot, accelerate or run as the situation demands. The sound effects are particularly bright for the Apple II (wibbling footsteps, swooshes, thumps and drones to cater for every move thy knight makes) and the intuitive design is sharper than a widow's eyeteeth. And the game VARIETY; it be unparalleled across the kingdom I declare! Isometrica, overhead, platform, maze game - all are on hand. In the day of this game, each contestant proudly wielded his or her own paddle, but now... thou shalt SHARE the controls, and thou shalt wield joysticks or keypads!
Treachery and cunning exist in abundance side-by-side with luck and skill to bring a wicked smile to thy face throughout Chivalry, and to dash predictability upon the rocks. At the Thieves Inn for instance, ye might play darts against the scoundrels - a timing game in which thine hand drifts up and down the length of the target, and you hit the button to choose when to toss the dart - and ye might pride thyself on scoring perfectly. A result to which the thieves might take unkindly. Thou wouldst now find thine own smart-arse tossed to the dragon! HA!
Thou canst learn the broader vagaries of these folk over the course of many games, yet the black art known as 'randomisation' will keep thee on thy toes. Ye must find the best way to deal with fickle guards, Macbeth-ian witches, a troublesome bear and pesky serfs if thou art to succeed in thy quest.
The terrain itself will cause thee as much vexation. Evil forest glades and spooky towers might offer thee a choice of multiple roads, and if luck has been with thee, ye might have previously encountered a Gypsy and gained a lucky talisman or a key of warning, at the cost of a missed turn if thou hadst the patience. But now thou shouldst count thy chickens as thou art shown which path to take! Choose poorly and... CALAMITY! The dread wizard may teleport ye back six spaces. Optional shortcuts can also be found, but are usually taken at the cost of more dangerous arcade games. Prithee now, feast thine eyes 'pon my least favourite message in Chivalry:
''Come and look everyone! Sir Bloomer is going to fight the giant troll!''
Death and Drek! Verily I became another notch on the club of a swarthy troll as I tried to evade him 'pon an isometric bridge, and I was sent back more spaces than I care to mention to the likes of THEE! Ye can choose when to be bold in such decisions, when to play safe, and ye can cunningly aim thyself down the paths which offer your favourite games when thou hast gained more experience in the game. It's the height of playability and of replayability!
Know that the final assaults upon the castle of the black knight are not for the meek. Inertia-ridden catapults must be used to storm the gates, and receiving an enormous stone in the head, flung from the battlements, is the fastest road to losing many spaces' progress that I know of. The knight himself flings further stones at thee as thou climbest his devilish arrangement of platforms, many demanding rebounding jumps from the screen edge. And yet, knowing full well that the spirits of young players might be broken after too many failings on the last screen - and that the game needs to end - the makers of Chivalry have the black knight surrender if thou canst breach his castle three times! A final masterstroke of generosity, truly worthy of the game's title.
Chivalry presents a gloriously colourful and sonorous world with a massive variety of games ye can learn and enjoy, and mixes in enough chance and variation to keep thee on thy toes even after thou hast rescued the king from the black knight a hundred times! With a group of friends and the board set up amongst ye (and dare I say some morsels of bread and wine that thou couldst scrounge from thy mouldy larder), thou art guaranteed unparalleled fun. Where are the games with real boards in the pathetic times we live in NOW? Currently I must resort to playing Chivalry with mine own finely handcrafted rendition of the Chivalry board, as the original is long gone. But the spirit of Chivalry...
''Fair maiden, save thyself whilst I block this troll club with my head''
...will remain triumphant FOREVER!
Kneel Chivalry: I dub thee one of the most innovative and wildly entertaining multi-player adventure games in the history of gaming, suitable for folks of all ages and tastes, and a TRUE pioneer.
-- Chivalry -- 10/10 --
Community review by bloomer (February 05, 2004)
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