After fighting all manner of heathens in the Holy Land for the last five years, the last thing a knight wants is to come home and find his father, the king, been overthrown by his wicked uncle. Fear and oppression rule the land.
Iron Lord from UbiSoft, which has taken literally years to complete, puts the player in just that situation. Your wicked uncle has gathered an army of hideous monsters and is reported to be about to mount an offensive against the normally peaceful province you call home.
Like a typical Cinemaware game, Iron Lord is a type of graphic adventure interspersed with arcade games. The adventure side of things has you riding your horse from one location to another, towns to castles to big houses, stopping off at the place and then entering various buildings and interacting with the people encountered. During this phase of the game the screen is divided into three sections. The left side of the screen shows a picture of the town you are in, while the top right gives you an aerial view of the town. Your character is represented by a small animated person viewed from above which you move around and into buildings (well, stand outside and press fire and you enter). Below this window, pieces of text appear giving you info on what is going on.
Most of this part of the game involves listening to the characters you meet and doing small jobs for them which will convince them that you are a jolly sound chap and that they really should do their utmost to help you raise an army which you can then lead into battle.
What will also convince the populace that you are a worthy knight is doing well in the arcade games. For example, winning the archery contest or arm wrestling the local champion in the pub will do your reputation a world of good.
When you finally get the army together, you can then take control of them and organise them in battle (fortunately, there is a game save option, so it is well worth saving it once you have got your army together). Come out the victor and you then have to face the final challenge in an evil labyrinth - ulp!
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The pictures are all well drawn and the small animated window works fine. Some very nice touches include the horse galloping across the screen whenever you move from location to location. Well presented graphically and the sound effects complement it. Very nice.
The arcade sub-games are no push over, so it will take a while to mater them. The overall game task is also large and becomes more convoluted the further you get into the game. This will keep you going for some little while.
The arcade bits are tough and add variety while the main quest in the game is well thought out and entertaining. It does tend to get a little repetitive due to the smallness of the game area, but overall it is not half bad and can get quite involving.