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Video Game / Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader

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Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader is an RPG developed by Reflexive Entertainment and published by Black Isle Studios (a division of Interplay Entertainment) in 2003.

The game takes place in an Alternate Universe Renaissance Europe during the 12th Century Crusades - with magic. Conflict ensues between the Knights Templar, the Spanish Inquisition and the Wielders, who all disagree on the usage of magic and each other's control of the region. The player character, a newly-freed slave, sets out to ally with one of the factions and chart their own destiny, all against the looming backdrop of a massive war between Spain and England...

The game is notable for using the SPECIAL stat allocation system (from Fallout, another Interplay title) with a faction system, relatively open world and plenty of stuff to slash, club, spear, shoot, and zap.

Is now available on Gog Dot Com here.


Tropes present in this game:

  • Aborted Arc: The antagonism between the Knights Templar and the Inquisition gets tossed out the door by the end of the first act, especially when England invades, rendering it a colossal waste of time.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers underneath Barcelona, which are home to thieves, beggars and lava trolls, and span multiple areas.
  • Action Bomb: The Disemboweled Ganglers lurking in the Ethereal Realm and the Crypt, which violently explode into a shower of gore (and damage the player) when they're killed.
  • Action Girl: Jehanne D'Arc, who (despite being an NPC companion) is fighting the undead on her own until the player finds her and is the most powerful companion in the game. The player's character (if female) can also count, especially when levelled up enough.
  • Alignment-Based Endings: There are several different (short endings), based on whether the player is good or evil and whether they spoke to Nostradamus and chose all possible conversation options and have the Speech skill higher than 180.
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  • Already Undone for You: When you follow the pair of assassins who broke the cross and ran into the Crypt, you'll find that none of the traps have been set off, nor have any of the door seals been broken. The spirit who greets you at the entrance even ignores it when you ask him where the assassins went, and simply asks you to complete a set of trials to claim the relic.
  • Always Close: The player character and his/her companions show up to the Caverns of Nostradamus just as the ogres are fighting a losing battle against a horde of assassins.
  • An Economy Is You: Played straight, although you can buy common belts and boots that have no stats and serve no purpose but to weigh you down. Lampshaded by a woman in the Barcelona market looking for fruit.
  • Anachronism Stew: The ages (and locations) of several historical figures were changed so they could be included in the game.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the game, it's possible to kill (or fail to save) everyone besides one shopkeeper. This includes Galileo and Da Vinci themselves.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Semi-averted. There is no visible hardcount on party members, but given that many are a Guest-Star Party Member and only six have the possibility to stay with you for the entire game (not counting their death in battle), it is highly unlikely that players can hit the maximum number.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted. One of the first companions you meet is Fang, a young bear being threatened by a hunter. Once you save him, he'll become a recruitable companion. Hostile bears are also found in a handful of areas, but generally aren't dangerous enough to pose a serious threat to the player.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Jackass Genie in the Crypt purposefully misconstrues the player's wish to give them something they didn't want - that is, unless your speech skill is high enough and you make a very specific statement that can't be misinterpreted.
  • Beneficial Disease: The Disease Ward perk slowly heals you when you're ill.
  • Blatant Lies: The player can overtly do this on many occasions by picking the "Lie" option in conversation if their speech skill is high enough. Alternately, this can be done by exploiting certain quest chains by completing a task for an NPC and killing them afterwards (either for experience or to fulfill another NPC's request).
  • Booze-Based Buff: Serpent's Brew, which increases the player character's strength in return for decreasing their intelligence. This also forms the basis of a minor quest - the only way to understand the drunk patron at the bar in Barcelona's Harbor District is to drink said brew and speak to him, which nets you a special perk.
  • Bottomless Bladder: The player character can chug potions and ale like there's no tomorrow, and never has any need to use the washroom.
  • Broken Bridge: Going back to Montarillou after the English invade results in the blue crystal being irreversibly broken and the only way to escape via Da Vinci's flying machine.
  • Can't Catch Up: Companions can't level up or gain skills, which leaves some (like Ernesto) at a disadvantage later in the game when the enemies become much tougher and can kill them in a handful of hits.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Cervantes, who hunts for a demon in bushes, and is generally considered to be crazy by everyone in Barcelona. Then you find out that the "demon" he's looking for is Don Quixote, who exists as a fractured part of Cervantes' mind and results in a Battle in the Center of the Mind unless you help him.
  • Critical Hit: Can be used to stagger or knock down enemies when it occurs.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Dark Majesty perk notes that a "shadowy figure" will make you a "warrior of unparalleled puissance and guarantee you a warm climate in your elder years" in exchange for signing a blank piece of paper.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The "Fortune's Finder" perk, which can be picked at level 1 and allows you to gain more gold off corpses. Due to a crazy bug, dropping the gold you have and picking it back up allows you to get more gold than you started with. By doing this process a couple dozen times, you'll start racking up thousands in gold, which can then be used to buy much better equipment at Weng Choi's store. It's enough to marginalize the first half of the game, although you'll likely be finding better gear by the time you get to Montarillou.
  • Final Death: Save for necromancy (which reawakens them as corpses with limited hitpoints), any companions killed over the course of the game stay permanently dead.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: You can choose to be a Knight Templar or a member of the Inquisition in the first act, but no will bat an eye if you massacre your fellow soldiers as long as it's outside their own headquarters (and even then, the Inquisition doesn't care about you killing the soldiers - including the Grand Inquisitor himself - in the lower levels of their complex).
  • Groin Attack: One type of critical hit damages the enemy in the groin area, which staggers them and leaves them vulnerable to hits for several turns.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Several companions will only stay with you until you complete their associated quest, at which point they walk off for good.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Some of the undead creatures in the Ethereal Realm and the Crypt are missing the lower half of their bodies, and shamble towards the player before exploding in a shower of gore.
  • The Hashshashin: Appear as villains in the latter half of the game.
  • Historical Domain Character: Several, the most prominent being King Richard in the backstory and Leonardo Da Vinci and William Shakespeare in the present. If you're playing a female character, you can get Shakespeare to woo you, read a few of his more famous sonnets, and give you a ring.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won: Attacking the leaders of the Knights Templar or the Inquisition results in them immediately arresting and throwing the player character in jail. This happens even if said PC is a level 20 badass who's just mowed down the rest of the guards in the city.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: During the Battle in the Center of the Mind with Cervantes and Don Quixote.
  • Irrelevant Sidequest: The majority of the sidequests in the first half of the game deal with helping people take care of personal problems, which largely becomes inconsequential once England invades and kills most of the citizens in Barcelona and Montarillou. Notably, accepting one NPC's quest in Montarillou to seek out a rogue witch (and the end result being a successful mission and the man pledging to attack her) becomes this when he dies in the English invasion, but the witch remains perfectly fine.
  • Jackass Genie: The efreet in the Crypt. Want to be stronger? Congrats, you're now stronger smelling, resulting in lowered Charisma. Want to be rich? Great, you can be renamed to "Rich" at no cost! Wish all nearby enemies were dead? Well, you're in a crypt full of undead, so that's another job well done! It is revealed that this genie is responsible for Jehanne's curse, because she wished for a way to eternally protect the relic from the undead. It is possible for the player to overcome the jackassery of the genie by wishing for a wish that is not twisted into something unintended, but this requires a fairly high Speech skill.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Joan of Arc (spelled 'Jehanne' in-game) herself makes an apperance in the game as a recruitable party member. Her faith and a nasty curse has sustained her at her vigil over the Lance, beyond death. She is one of the more useful NPCs in the game.
  • Karma Meter: Though not explicitly shown, certain actions change the player character's relations with members of the game world. Killing a shopkeeper nets you the "Merchant Slayer" perk (which makes certain shopkeepers refuse to sell you their special stock), killing a member of the Saladins nets you a "Saladin Slayer" perk, and saving an NPC from a slave camp in Toulouse and choosing not to take a reward nets you positive karma.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Averted - in any house or dwelling where an NPC and chest are present, they will often ask the player to leave, and attack them if the lock is picked.
  • Level Scaling: The monsters encountered in the ethereal realm scale with the player's level, as well as the monsters encountered by activating red crystals throughout the gameworld.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: In the early stages, melee fighters have a much easier time over wizards, as the majority of the gear is favored towards tank builds and the bonuses for Inquisition and Wielder initiates is outclassed by the Knight Templar benefits.
  • The Magic Comes Back: About ten thousand years prior to the game's plot, a spell was cast to eliminate all magic and fantastic beasts. Then, during the crusades of Richard the Lionhearted, a counterspell was cast after the execution of 3000 Arab prisoners, releasing all manner of nasties into the world.
  • Money for Nothing: The "Fortune's Finder" perk, which allows the player character to find gold "in places they didn't even know existed".
  • Named Weapons: Several unique weapons on certain enemies have names and unique attributes.
  • New Game+: At any point in the game, players can export their characters. These characters can then be used to create a new game; keeping their skills, attributes and perks but losing all items in their inventory.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Here they're cannibal mongols (with Goblin Khan as their leader) who take pride in terrible poetry.
  • Pause Scumming:
    • It's possible to walk into an enemy encounter or boss battle, pause the game and toss off half-a-dozen potions before activating an explosive barrel in your hotbar, making things much easier in the long run. This works especially well against large groups of enemies.
    • It's also possible to run in and out of a level when you're critically injured, then run back in when you're healed, and the enemies will still have the damage that was incurred to them the first time around. This can be exploited to great effect in areas with high-level enemies.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: At the very beginning of the game, you can walk into the wilderness and find a "waterfall cave" that has multiple vodyanoi enemies that attack you with acid spit. Due to a bug, clearing every creature out of the cave except for one, exiting and re-entering causes all of the downed enemies to respawn. This can be used to farm experience at low levels, and works well into the mid-teens.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Any companion that dies during a battle is gone for good.
    • A large chunk of sidequests in the first half of the game become inaccessible once England invades and massacres the residents of Barcelona and Montarillou.
  • Point of No Return: The war with England. After you visit both the Crypt and the Caverns of Nostradamus, you can only focus on the main quest for the rest of the game's ten or so hours.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: To Nostradamus (who happens to be the narrator), "future is like pages in an open book".
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Save for one optional encounter (romancing Shakespeare), both the male and female player characters are functionally identical to each other.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Taking a certain questline (the Wielders) and choosing to talk to a specific character (the Keeper of Ways in La Calle Perdida) twice in succession results in the option to turn your character into a "super human". Taking this option maxes out your stats and makes the game absurdly easy. It was likely that this was intended as an Easter Egg for enterprising players.
  • Rescue Introduction: In the opening of the game, the player character escapes a slave camp with the help of a friendly spirit.
  • Revenant Zombie: The Revenant enemies themselves, which are very powerful undead creatures with resistance to fire. Additionally, Jehanne herself became this in the years since she was cursed.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: There are two present in the region, though the other is "only" about a mile inland.
  • Snake People: An enemy type is green and purple "Snakebreeds" who have poison attacks and move in a serpentine manner, though they do still have arms and legs.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: Several characters can't be attacked by any means (Sir Auric, Da Vinci, etc). Attempting to do so either results in you getting arrested by the Knights Templar/Inquisition or sent to an ethereal realm, where the enemies scale to your level and can come in droves.
  • Take Your Time: Offering to protect Machiavelli results in him getting attacked by assassins as soon as you leave his house. The ensuing fight could be tough for a beginner, but you can wait until much later in the game and return to save him whenever you like.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's possible to murder nearly every NPC in any of the major cities throughout the game, and even if you're caught and imprisoned, it's a measly 25-gold fine after a cutscene. Players can run around slaughtering guards in Barcelona once their level is high enough without a problem.
  • Wallet of Holding: It's possible to carry tens of thousands in gold on your character. Notably, dropping a significant amount of gold from your inventory results in a wide pile of gold on the ground that looks to be bigger in size than the player model.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The "evil" ending, where the player convinces the Old Man of the Mountain/Asha Vahishta to relinquish control of Ahriman and the summoning ritual to him/her. Galileo and Da Vinci give you harsh words before teleporting away. The game then ends with the player character himself/herself becoming the new Big Bad, and gathering an army of undead to conquer the world.


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