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Video Game / Conquests of the Longbow


Conquests of the Longbow was one of Sierra's later VGA point-and-click adventures, set in the world of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. It was released in 1992 and was a sequel of sorts to Conquests Of Camelot.

The adventure follows the general story arc of the original tale, where King Richard the Lionheart has been taken hostage on his way back from The Crusades. Your primary task throughout the game is to collect enough money to pay the king's ransom, while fighting against the oppression of King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Some of the story, particularly the role of Maid Marion, has been altered, adding elements of druidic mythology.

During the game, Robin must prove his ability to fight in hand-to-hand combat (with a staff) and of course his superior marksmanship with the longbow. Tactical thinking is also required, as several times in the game you'll be counseled by your merry men about possible approaches to an impending battle where only one will result in no casualties to your men. Various actions will win money towards the ransom, and there are multiple endings based on the amount of money you've raised and the actions you've taken during the adventure.

Overall, this is a somewhat Darker and Edgier version of the popular legend, and is widely considered to be more difficult than the average Sierra adventures of the time. Particular scenes, such as the Nine-Men-Morris minigame, can be quite frustrating to adventure players (some found the Morris game so difficult that the official strategy guide gave step by step instructions on how to win), although the action scenes can be skipped by lowering their difficulty.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: There are many opportunities and solutions that can get you the maximum amount of points possible. This includes picking the best strategy that cost you little to no casualties, and if you complete challenging events (like the archery tournament and the quarter staff duel), etc.
    • Don't forget to give a farthing to tax victims!
  • Badass Preacher: The monks of the monastery do not carry those quarter staffs for show. It helps that many of them used to be knights. One of them even challenges Robin Hood to a fair fight (and winning gives you the maximum amount of points out of that situation).
  • Berserk Button: If you're the Sheriff of Nottingham and a "guest" at one of the banquets of the Merry Men, it's probably not a good idea to tell Robin you're an agent of King Richard.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the ending, King Richard shows up just in time to stop the Sheriff from hanging Robin and offers him a fair trial instead. Of course, if you did badly enough then the King will declare Robin guilty and have him hanged anyway.
  • Bookcase Passage: Not a bookcase, but there's a secret passage leading from the tavern to the monastery. Now you know what the monks do with their free time. That passage also leads to a secret door in the castle.
  • The Cameo: Nottingham Fair is packed with numerous Sierra employees, from Corey and Lori Ann Cole to the Two Guys From Andromeda.
    • Apparently Larry and Patti mistook St. Mary's Abbey for a health spa. Best not to think how they ended up in Robin Hood's time.
  • Character Witness: At the end, if you do things right. Doing it wrong can result in negative testimony.
  • Copy Protection: Four times: Hand Code, gemstone lore, coats of arms identification, and Druid tree names.
  • Corrupt Church: Every religious person in the game, aside from Friar Tuck.
  • Creator Cameo: Christy Marx appears in Nottingham Fair, alongside other Sierra employees mentioned above. She'll congratulate you for finding her and proceed to mess with your game points.
  • Damsel in Distress: Marian. The player first meets her when she's being attacked by an evil monk; later she needs to be saved from being burnt at the stake.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Try going to a guard dressed as a jeweler, then leave to dye the beard and return. The guard will recognize you immediately. Wear one of the two rings after you've stolen them, and anyone from the castle and the monastery will take notice and have you captured or killed. Meet with the Sheriff and his wife while wearing the jeweler's outfit, but don't dye your beard; she will recognize you, but only if you entered the archery competition at the fair. Then you'll be hanged when the Sheriff realizes who you really are.
    • There's alternate dialogue if you manage to open the puzzle box before you're supposed to.
    • If you miss a traveler who was supposed to give you a disguise, Little John will deal with them instead. You'll still get the disguise, but that person will not show up at your trial later because you didn't deal with them personally.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: You can let Marian die at one point and still finish the game. Plus, unless you get the Golden Ending, you won't be able to marry her.
  • Drinking Contest: The Abbott challenges you to one. You can cheat, though.
  • Drinking on Duty: The best way to rescue three recruits from the Sheriff's dungeon involves leaving enough money to buy a bucket of ale in a place the guards can find it, then sneaking in while they're off drinking.
  • Driven to Suicide: If you don't rescue the peasant woman on the first day, you learn that she threw herself out of a tower before the Sheriff's man could rape her.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Robin does this at the beginning because he's lonely.
  • Due to the Dead: Robin ensures that Friar Tuck gives a proper burial to all the people he kills in the forest and on the highway - except one.
  • Elemental Powers: The rings of protection from fire and water.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Everyone's favorite Sheriff of Nottingham, of course.
  • Fens Are Evil: More specifically, haunted by wisps and home to an evil monastic order. Subverted as the wisps help you if you wear the Ring of Water.
  • Flower Motifs: Several puzzles involve these.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Marian, who in this version of the story is a priestess of the forest.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Mess with Green Man and he'll turn you into a tree.
  • Game Over Man: The Merry Men, who comment on how Robin kicked it and lament his loss.
  • The Ghost: Prince John, oddly enough. Dialogue mentions him several times and he's clearly the head of the conspiracy the other villains are in on, but he never once makes an appearance. Not even at the end when King Richard's meting out justice.
  • Girl of My Dreams: Marian first appears to Robin in a dream.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Subverted in some parts of the story where Robin can humiliate certain characters, but will only be mean when it's called for. Can be played straight if the player chooses to with certain side characters.
  • Hedge Maze: At the back of the Nottingham abbey. It contains a secret entrance to the Witch's Court, and using it is the best way to rescue Marian later on.
  • Humiliation Conga: One can be delivered to a priest, whom Friar Tuck can then force him to work for them for the day, without his robes.
    • A more humiliating one has Robin tricking the sheriff into the forest, only to be held captive as he is robbed of his marks and stripped naked (save for his hat) before being sent back his way to the castle. The only moment he truly feared for his life is when Robin gets offended over a remark he made about King Richard.
  • Have a Nice Death: In a twist from the usual Sierra formula, the game's death sequences show the Merry Men commenting upon how Robin died, usually offering a hint on how to avoid repeating the same mistake.
  • The Jester: Fulk, to King Richard.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Any act you commit in the game can come back to help or haunt you. It can even lead the villains to walk off, scot free!
  • The Lost Woods: Sherwood Forest.
  • The Many Deaths of You: It's a Sierra game. Par for the course, really.
  • Master of Disguise: Robin.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Robin does this to several people over the course of the game, though in some cases you can offer to buy their clothes instead for more points.
  • Multiple Endings: Again, it's Sierra.
  • Mutual Kill: What happens if you try to shoot the Yeoman. He warned you he could draw faster that you could, but Robin's good enough to reduce it to this instead. Not that it helps.
  • Nature Spirit: The Green Man.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: If you make Marian look at an emerald before the Archery Contest, you get one of these.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Robin had the corpse of the guard who tried to rape a woman dragged off for the wolves instead of being properly buried.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Richard of Lionheart. He will be holding the trial that the sheriff skipped to provide Robin a fair chance to prove his intentions to be good, and even provide him a chance to challenge the corrupt, depending on the actions he took in the game.
  • Revenge: One game over scene has Robin defeated by a monk, and John immediately going to avenge him and winning.
    • Should Robin approach the sheriff's man as he holds a peasant hostage, he'll kill the peasant, leading to Robin immediately avenging their death
  • Riddle Me This: To learn disguising magic from Green Man. Also, you're restricted to answering in Hand Code.
  • Rule of Three: For many dangerous situations, they have the three strike rule. Get a riddle wrong three times, you're an oak! Do nothing for a peasant twice before, and the third visit will have you killed. Been told to not come back to a spot, return for the third time to get arrested.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Done with the Optional Sexual Encounter. Lampshaded by the game, citing their need for privacy.
  • Stealth Insult: Robin Hood, disguised as a monk, "blesses" the Sheriff to "get all he deserves and may (Robin) live to see it." Being drunk, the Sheriff thanks and tips him, the Merry Men speculating at camp that he'd be furious when it finally clicked.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Roger and Giles.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "You see, I'm nearly safe, but I thought I'd do something truly foolish instead and get myself killed."
  • Transflormation: The Green Man demonstrates two of the variations. Either you answer the riddle correctly and gain the ability to transform into a tree at will, or you answer incorrectly and aren't given a choice.
  • Undying Loyalty: Robin and his men all pledge themselves to freeing King Richard and aspire to only steal from the rich and corrupt, the very ones who choose NOT to help Richard.
  • Unwinnable by Design: It's a Sierra game. Though you will receive warnings and indications as to when you will past this point.
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: Acting like a brigand reflects poorly on you when it comes to Character Witness time, as you might imagine.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • As mentioned above with Videogame Cruelty Punishment.
    • If Marian dies when you first meet her, the cobbler will kill you for not saving her. Even the Merry Men will agree that there was no excuse for letting Marian die like that.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Robin's friends suggest that the reason he's depressed is that he's missing the company of a woman.

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