main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Video Game: Conquests Of Camelot
Conquests Of Camelot: The Search for the Holy Grail was a 1989 Adventure Game produced by Christy Marx and Peter Ledger and distributed by Sierra On-Line. It produced one sequel, Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood.

You play Arthur, King of Camelot, on a quest to find both the Holy Grail and three of his knights, who have gone missing: Sir Galahad, Sir Gawain, and Sir Lancelot. The gameplay is atypical of '80s Sierra, with many arcade elements aside from their regular puzzles.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Or, compilation with liberties, as the creator admits.
  • All Myths Are True: So you'd better offer some tithes at the altars of both Jesus and Mithras, then get looking for that "cup of Christ / vessel of the goddess", so you can fight the Muslim Saracen guardian in the Temple of Aphrodite. But not before visiting Glastonbury Tor to search a certain well.
  • All There in the Manual: The Liber Ex Doctrina
  • Armor Is Useless: Played straight until the very end of the game, where the thief stabs you in the back if you let him live, but your armor protects you. Notably though, the many violent deaths you can potentially suffer all avoid hitting you directly in your armor. Also, you have to take the helmet the Saracen offers you before you fight him, otherwise he'll kill Arthur with one blow to the head.
  • Berserk Button: A few of them, for the Mad Monk.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Liber Ex Doctrina" can be translated as either "book derived from knowledge" or "free from doctrine".
  • Bittersweet Ending: If you play successfully, you manage to heal Camelot, but the last graphic is King Arthur sadly watching Lancelot and Gwenhyver talking in her rose garden as Merlin says: "but your heart may never be healed."
  • Black Knight: As himself, and this time with a lance for the jousting sequence.
  • Falling Portcullis Of Divine Retribution: Do NOT piss off Mithras or that Christ-God fellow.
  • But Thou Must: Do you HAVE to sail to Gaza? Nah. Go anywhere in the world you like. Just don't expect to make it there.
  • Cool Clear Water: The spring in the desert is poisoned. It looks fine, but your mule refuses to drink from it. If you drink from it anyway, Merlin insults you for not being as smart as your mule.
  • Copy Protection: The Liber Ex Doctrina. Without it (or a substitute), you won't get past Fatima's puzzle. Or the Lady of the Lake's test.
  • Crossing the Desert: To get to Jerusalem.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: There are all sorts of details in the game that have no bearing whatsoever on the game, but are just there to add to the atmosphere. For instance, when Arthur is reaches a fountain in the desert, a woman takes fright at his presence and runs away. She's never seen again and is of no importance to the plot, but she was included anyway.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally Merlin. Fall to your death in a dry riverbed? Wadi shame.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Very much so. By the time Aphrodite turns up, she explicitly states that her time is over, and when the Grail is taken back to Camelot, the altar for Mithras disappears.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: The Lady of the Lake. Arthur manages to get her help by giving her crystal heart back to her. It's also suggested that her moods rely on the weather, and when the icy lake melts in the spring, she's much more benevolent.
  • Driven to Suicide: The last way you can die in the game: Arthur falls on his sword if the thief gets away with the Grail.
  • Evil Detecting Mule: The mule doesn't seem to like Jabir. You know, the guy who tries to murder and rob Arthur?
  • Fetch Quest: Welcome to Jerusalem.
  • Fisher King: In a sense. It's implied that Arthur's broken heart at the knowledge that Lancelot and Gwynhyver are in love is the cause of the pestilence that destroys Camelot.
    • In the end the Grail restores the kingdom to healthy prosperity, but Arthur is forced to continue suffering.
  • Flower Motifs: An entire challenge is based on the Language of the Flowers. Gwynhyver's rose is also an important reoccuring symbol.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Forest Perilous.
  • Genre Shift: the many arcade scenes were rather unusual for a Sierra game.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: On the one hand, Lancelot and Gwenhyver's love affair places a curse of pestilence over the Kingdom of Camelot. On the other hand, one of the tasks that Arthur must complete is to help a man retrieve his treasured veil so that his wife doesn't find out that he's been cheating with a prostitute. Because the man at least seems honestly repentant, forgiving him is a virtuous act on Arthur's part and thus in keeping with the ideals of his quest.
  • Guide Dang It: The riddle stones. How exactly is an iceberg lighter than what it's made of? Simple: ice is lighter than water. In addition, the Lady of the Lake's puzzle makes no sense to anyone not familiar with floriography, but that happens to be described in the manual. And much later, Fatima's puzzle relies on the player having asked another (non-revisitable) character about a particular topic. At least the stones' riddles can be randomized by reentering the screen, and the other two can potentially be solved by trial and error or simply brute forced with enough reloading.
  • Have a Nice Death: Sierra game, remember?
  • Hollywood Mirage: Whilst in the desert, Arthur sees puddles of water that disappear as he gets near. More seriously, he is also haunted by images of Lancelot and Gwenhyver embracing each other.
  • Human Popsicle: The Lady of the Lake keeps Lancelot frozen in a large ice pillar. Naturally he's just fine once he gets out.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted and Defied: Arthur is unavoidably bitten by a poisonous rat in the same room where Galahad is found dying from the same poison, and only has a single dose of the antidote. To survive, Arthur must cure Galahad and then hurry to find the Grail and be magically cured before succumbing himself.
  • Just Desserts: The false guide (if you bother with him). Also the thief, eventually.
  • Karmic Death: After a thief steals the Holy Grail right when you find it, you're prompted to chase him down. When you catch up to him, he begs for his life. Spare him, and he'll stab you in the back when you walk away. Your chain mail will save you from his audacious attempt on your life and the Holy Grail zaps the poor sap into a pile of bones.
  • King Arthur: Duh.
  • Lost Forever: Don't leave Camelot until you have everything. The jerks at the portcullis will NOT let you back in.
    • There are two ways to cross the frozen lake without falling in, one of which involves a one-use item, the rose. If you use up the rose to cross the lake but haven't already obtained the plot-important item you need on the other side (found in a completely different area and with no way to know you need it ahead of time) you'll be sent back across the lake to get it. And now your rose is gone, and the only other way across the ice is with that item you were supposed to get before coming here. Better hope you have a recent save!
  • Moral Dissonance: Arthur needs to find the Grail because of the pestilence caused by his broken heart (in a type of Fisher King scenario) at the knowledge that Gwenhyver is in love with Lancelot. Once in Palestine, Arthur must help an adulterous man cover his tracks by retrieving a veil from a prostitute so that his wife won't suspect that he's been unfaithful to her. This is part of a mandatory sidequest, and Arthur's forgiveness of the man is in keeping with the ideals of virtue that the whole quest for the Grail is about.
  • Non Sequitur: You kill the mad monk. Naturally, he shouts, "In Vino Veritas!"
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The riddle stones, the statue of Aphrodite's pop quiz on Greek Mythology, and the Lady of the Lake's questions on floriography (the last two double as Copy Protection since the answers can be found in the manual, although these days the internet is a suitable substitute).
  • The Peeping Tom: While exploring Jerusalem, a certain normally-darkened window will occasionally have a young woman inside. Moving closer to investigate will reveal that she is taking a bath, and Merlin quickly suggests that Arthur avert his eyes. You should probably listen.
  • Point of No Return: Exiting Camelot, sailing to Gaza, entering Jerusalem, and entering the Catacombs. Since this is Sierra, each one makes it possible to permanently miss something important.
  • Rule of Cool: You won't find this exact account of King Arthur finding the Holy Grail. So what?
  • Rule of Three: Three knights to rescue: Gawaine, Lancelot and Galahad.
  • Sex Equals Death: Fatima offers herself to Arthur, but will strangle him with her veil if he succumbs. It's a Secret Test of Character, after all.
  • Shout-Out: The first time Gwenhyver mentions the Lady of the Lake, she immediately adds "the watery tart".
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Standard Sierra trope.
  • Something about a Rose: Gwynhyver gives Arthur a rose from her garden before he leaves for his quest; one that gets him points with the Lady of the Lake.
  • Text Parser: Another standard Sierra trope.
  • Unwinnable by Design: You don't HAVE to save Gawain, Lancelot, or Galahad. Only if you don't want to, you know, vaporize at the end of the game.
    • Just try leaving Camelot without the rose. Or gold, silver, and copper coins.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: When Arthur throws the mirror to Mari and she leans out the window to catch it, her dress slips down for a single frame to reveal EGA nipples.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After transforming the hag back into Elaine, she rushes away, eager to find her love. Her love is two screens back, long dead and rotted into a skeleton. Even if you return, there's no sign of Elaine and nothing to indicate where she went or how she's doing.
    • There's magic afoot: her love is long since dead, but the mark of her love is still in perfect condition. She herself is old and decrepit as the hag, but immediately reverts back to her young beautiful self when she gets what she wants. She's also never seen again. The implication is that she rushes off to join him in death, which has either happy implications or terrible ones.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Courtesy of Merlin. Usually related to your death. Or if you do something especially vile, like try to kill the friendly hunter in Forest Perilous. Or if Arthur lets one of his knights die.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Black Knight and the Saracen.
  • The Vamp:

CommandoAmigaConquests of the Longbow
Colossal CaveFantasy Video GamesConquests of the Longbow
Commander KeenIBM Personal ComputerConquests of the Longbow
Codename: ICEMANAdventure GameEmmanuelle
ContinueNeeds Wiki Magic LoveConquests of the Longbow

alternative title(s): Conquests Of Camelot
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy