Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Conquests of the Longbow

Go To

Conquests of the Longbow is one of Sierra's VGA point-and-click adventures, set in the world of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. It was released in 1991 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! Come to think of it, you might as well give a farthing to everyone who might possibly not be in league with the Sheriff and Prince John.
  • One-Steve Limit: Little John, Prince John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham (who, as you learn from his wife, is also named John).
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: If Robin orders one too many while disguised in the pub, or if he loses the drinking contest with the abbot, his intoxication will blow his cover with lethal results. Inversely, if Robin uses the amethyst to cheat at the drinking game, he can exploit the abbot's intoxication to interrogate and/or rob the abbot.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • While the game gets nearly everything about King Richard’s capture correct in the opening cutscene, there are a few errors. Namely...
      • "In the year of our Most Gracious Lord 1193, Good King Richard the Lionheart sailed across the sea..." In fact, King Richard was captured by Leopold in December 1192, and spent the entirety of 1193 in prison.
      • "But in the realm of Austria, King Leopold did reign; he swore to capture Lionheart or else to have him slain." Leopold V of Austria was an duke, not a king. The Austrian monarchy had no king at the time to begin with.
    • The price of ale in the game is 4 pennies for a bucket. Assuming that the bucket holds a gallon or less, that's more than twice as expensive as the best ale on this list.
  • Bad Habits: Two of Robin Hood's disguises are monks' robes, the better to infiltrate their respective Corrupt Churches. One death sequence, obtained by wearing black robes while the Sheriff's men are sweeping the forest, has one of them question if they’ve committed sacrilege.
  • 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).
  • Bald of Evil: The Prior. Bald and is evil enough to have Robin or his men hung any chance he gets.
  • Beard of Evil: The Prior has one to compliment his Bald of Evil.
  • 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.
  • Book Ends: The game begins with a bard setting up the plot by discussing King Richard's capture. He returns after the final section of the game to narrate the ending, and to comment on events if you didn't get the Golden Ending.
  • Boss Battle: The fen monk on the road.
  • 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.
  • Caper Rationalization: Most of Robin Hood's capers are justified by the behavior of his victims, most notably the Sheriff, the Prior, and the Abbot.
  • Cap: An interesting one involving King Richard's ransom: Because the game is 16-bit, the max value of any integer is 65,535. Hence due to limitations, the maximum ransom you can get is 65,535 (specifically 65,300). So you will never reach the 100,000 marks needed to pay off the ransom. Nevertheless, King Richard is freed on the last day. As Lobb mentions in his initial meeting with Robin Hood, Queen Eleanor had already been working to raise the money for her son's ransom by the beginning of the game, and the Abbot confirms that she had been unable to raise even half of it, but presumably she had raised at least 35,000 marks already.
  • Character Witness: At the end, if you do things right. Doing it wrong can result in negative testimony.
  • Church Militant: The fen monks are all veteran soldiers and quite capable of kicking ass, especially with the quarterstaff.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The two groups of monks wear different robes to help tell whom they serve. The ones from Nottingham Abbey who serve the Abbot wear brown and the ones from the monastery in the fens who serve the Prior wear black.
  • Comically Missing the Point: At the fair, Robin can get into a debate with a doomsayer about whether 1200 or 1201 will be the end of the millennium. (They're both off by about 200 years.)
  • Copy Protection: Four times: Hand Code, gemstone lore, coats of arms identification, and Druid tree names (which also need to be spelled out in Hand Code).
  • Corrupt Church: Every religious person in the game, aside from Friar Tuck. Notably, they are corrupt in different ways; the monks of St. Mary's Abbey and their Abbot are inclined towards hedonism (with a bit of implied masochism), while the monks of the Fens and their Prior are inclined towards sadism.
  • Court Jester: Fulk, to King Richard.
  • 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.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The monastery of the fens.
  • 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.
  • Designated Victim: Marian. She gets attacked by pretty much everyone, from a Fens Monk to the Sheriff who wants her burnt at the stake. And yes, these incidents can easily kill her if you don't save her soon enough.
  • Developer's 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.
    • Quite a few deaths focus on wearing a disguise to a part of the game you’re not supposed to- for example, trying to enter the fair while disguised as either one of the groups of monks will result in Robin being arrested when a monk from that group sees him, and wearing the abbey monk’s robes while the sheriff's men sweep the forest will result in them mistaking Robin for one of the monks and demanding to escort him back to the abbey, where he is quickly found out and hanged.
  • 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.
  • Dishonored Dead: Robin and his men will usually bury anyone they kill and have Friar Tuck perform the funeral rites. The only exception is the guard who attempts to rape a peasant woman for non-payment of her taxes; if you kill him, Robin will order his body to be left out for the wolves and ravens.
  • Double Meaning: When disguised as a monk and speaking to enemies such as the Sheriff or the Prior, Robin often engages in this. Most notably, his "blessing" on the Sheriff.
  • Drinking Contest: The Abbott challenges you to one. You can cheat, though. In fact, there is no way to beat him unless you do.
  • 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.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Per Sierra. Pretty much EVERYONE wants your head. The Sheriff, the various monks, Prince John, the various guards, and so on. Justified in that Robin is marked as an outlaw.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Everyone's favorite Sheriff of Nottingham, of course.
  • Evil Prince: Prince John. The opening song makes it pretty clear that he wants to make sure King Richard rots in prison.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Robin and his men consider rape worse than murder, as they leave the body of a lecherous guard for the wolves but give a proper burial to the monk who tried to kill Marian and the guard who tries to arrest a man for poaching.
  • 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.
    • Also, the bard can qualify as this if you get a bad ending in which Robin is hanged.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Immune to Fire: The Ring That Commands Fire makes its wearer immune to fire. You need it to save Marian when the Abbot tries to have her burned at the stake for witchcraft.
  • Karma Houdini: King Leopold never gets any comeuppance for keeping King Richard hostage and demanding an exorbitant ransom, nor Prince John for trying to keep the ransom money for himself. The Sheriff, Prior, and Abbot are aversions in the Golden Ending.
  • 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!
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When the cobbler sends for Robin, he requests that Robin bring a lady's slipper to prove his identity. Soon afterwards, Robin finds Marion being attacked by an evil monk. If Robin doesn't act fast enough, the monk will kill her and one of her slippers will fall off. (This will result in death for Robin, as the cobbler will angrily kill him for failing to save Marion.) If Robin does save Marion, she tosses him one of her slippers before retreating. Either way, Marion leaves the forest with one less shoe.
  • Master Archer: Robin, naturally, is an extremely quick and sure shot against pretty much everybody he meets on the road (with the exception of the Yeoman, who is also a Master Archer), and to win the archery tournament he has to split his final opponent's arrow.
  • Master of Disguise: Robin. Goes through various disguises (monks, jeweler, etc.) to infiltrate the locales of Nottingham.
  • 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. In general, the game rewards less violent means:
    • The beggar can be threatened with violence, but it's better for your score to give him money.
    • The St. Mary's monk must be mugged, but using your hand rather than your bow will give you more points.
    • The fen monk is an exception to the "less violent means" rule: You must not only threaten him with your bow, but then also beat him to death with a quarterstaff.
    • The yeoman cannot be mugged; the only way to get his clothes is to pay for them.
    • The jeweler, like the St. Mary's monk, must be mugged, and you're rewarded for not resorting to your bow to do it.
  • 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.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Robin Hood's prank on the Sheriff of Nottingham. Notably, the Sheriff is the only character to suffer this indignity; everyone else is shown with either white undergarments or foresters' clothes after Robin takes their own.
  • Nature Spirit: The Green Man and the sprites.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted on higher difficulties in target practice and the archery tournament; the farther away the target is, the higher you need to click to compensate for gravity.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The Sheriff's guards have no loyalty and serve him only out of greed, a fact that Robin exploits late in the game. Robin and his men avert this trope, of course.
  • Noodle Incident: You start the game with 300 marks set aside for King Richard's ransom (and an undisclosed amount for other expenses). How you got those marks is never explained (though easy enough to infer).
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: It's easy to think of the abbot, the sheriff and his men as a bunch of bumbling drunken oafs. But get careless or fail to regard them as a threat, and you'll pay for it.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: If you make Marian look at an emerald before the Archery Contest, you get one of these.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played straight in some cases in which Robin is in certain disguises; for example, if he dresses himself as some sort of monk, he merely puts on a robe, and presto — he can go around the monastery unnoticed! Averted in many other cases in which using disguises in the wrong places, or having poor versions of themnote , the enemy will see right through the disguise and have him executed.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Fens are haunted by wisps and home to an evil monastic order. Subverted as the wisps help you if you wear the Ring of Water.
  • Precision F-Strike: King Richard's response to being held for ransom, as narrated in the introduction:
    "I have no fear," King Richard said. "My people love me well.
    They'll raise the ransom that you ask; and damn your soul to Hell!"
  • 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. Even the fens monk who assaults Marian gets better treatment from Robin and his men.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Richard the 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 gain entry into the monastery of the fen the first time (for which you need to be familiar with gem lore), and to learn disguising magic from Green Man (for which 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.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Robin engages in this while impersonating a jeweler: "Forthright man of military bearing, I have travelled many dangerous and wearisome leagues that I may lay before your vainglorious Master and his Callipygian spouse the humble yet incomparable splendors of lapidary's craft such as I possess... I have fine jewelry to show the Sheriff and his wife."
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Done with the Optional Sexual Encounter. Lampshaded by the game, citing their need for privacy.
  • Shout-Out: Lose because you didn’t save Marian and were, in turn, beaten to death by the cobbler, and Alan will say that he's come up with a song that goes, "Bang, bang, cobbler's silver hammer came down on his head".
  • Stealth Insult: Robin Hood, disguised as a monk, "blesses" the Sheriff to "get all you deserve, 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.
  • Thrown Down a Well: The Sheriff's dungeon is an oubliette. Robin needs to make a makeshift rope to help the Widow's sons escape.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Some of the ways to die involve taking out-of-your-way, outright stupid actions. Lampshaded by a death right at the final segment of the game, where Robin is trying to sneak into the fens' monastery:
    Robin: Excuse me, could you lend me a hand? 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 (or shoot his tree with an arrow) 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.