- Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight
Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight Developer(s) Mindscape Publisher(s) Mindscape Designer(s) Rob Anderson Platform(s) Amiga, DOS Release date(s) 1991 Genre(s) Action, RPG Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer Media/distribution Floppy disk
Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight, is a computer game developed and published by Mindscape in 1991. It was released on the Amiga and one year later converted to DOS-based PCs. The title is a play on A Hard Day's Night.
Moonstone's gameplay blends several different genres, including strategy, real time fighting and role-playing games.
It allows up to four players to participate in a basic turn based Role Playing Game with real time combat for any encounters. It is also notable as one of the goriest games of its time, with some exceptionally bloody fight and death scenes, similar in tone to the famous Black Knight fight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
When the game was released, it got quite positive reviews from some magazines (90% from Amiga Action, 89% from Amiga Computing) while some reviewers did not like it at all (59% from Amiga Format, 52% from The One) . However, these days the game has a large cult following among vintage gamers. The game is highly sought after as a collectible; an original copy in good condition with all the original included contents, including a map of the game world, is extremely rare costing over 500 pounds at eBay.
Story and setting
The player takes on the role of a chosen knight who is sent by the druids to return the mystical 'moonstone' to Stonehenge. The game supports between 1 to 4 players at once, with the computer controlling any knights not controlled by human players as rival NPCs.
The world map is divided into 4 distinct regions:
- Misty Moors: The NW region of the Blue Knight (Sir Godber). Monsters found there are the Axe and Spear-bearing Troggs as well as their War Beasts. There is also the city of Highwood with the High Temple where the player can buy and sell magical items.
- Wetlands: The SE region of the Red Knight (Sir Edward). Monsters are the Trolls and the Mudmen. There is also the city of Waterdeep with Mythral the Mystic who can advance the player's abilities in exchange of gold (or randomly reduce them).
- Great Forest: The SW region of the Green Knight (Sir Jeffrey). Monsters are the Troggs and the Ratmen. It features the Stonehenge where the player can gain a life by donating a magical item.
- Northern Wastelands: The NE region of the Orange Knight (Sir Richard). Monsters include Troggs and Baloks. It also features the Tower of Math the Wizard who can randomly reward the player or transform him into a frog if he asks repeatedly.
Gameplay consists of two distinct modes: Turn based exploration and real time combat.
In turn based mode where each player can move a limited distance on the game's world map and visit various locations. Players will mostly visit the many dolmens that are scattered across the map. These places represent areas guarded by enemy beasts. Visiting these dolmens will trigger the second main gameplay mode: real time combat. The player takes control of his chosen knight and attempts to defeat the beasts using sword combat similar to Barbarian_(Palace_Software) or Sword of Sodan.
Defeating the beasts will allow the player to steal treasures from that location, which vary depending on game's random placement algorithm. Success will also result in gaining one experience point. These then can be distributed in one of the 3 abilities: Strength, Constitution and Endurance, each to a maximum of 5.
The required amount of XP needed to advance varies according to the number of human controlled characters (For example, a single player game needs 3 XP to advance one point etc). This, combined with some powerful weapons that can be discovered or bought, can boost the player combat abilities. However, the difficulty of the game increases to compensate - high level players will encounter more monsters in their travels.
In addition to the dolmens, there are also enchanted places, towns where you can buy equipment or try your luck in gambling and special locations that have specific story roles.
The overall objective of exploration is to find the lair that holds one of the four keys. The player who gathers together all four keys (either by finding them or by stealing them from rivals), will have access to the Valley of the Gods at the center of the map. The knight will have to fight against the Guardian in order to win a 'moonstone'. The moonstone corresponds randomly to a lunar phase, and grants the knight more power during that phase. The moonstone must be returned to Stonehenge for the game to be completed.
Complicating each player's quest is the presence of the opposing players, who can attack the player or be attacked by the player. This triggers real time combat where the opposing knights fight to the death, the victor can then steal the other player's money and equipment, including the moonstone.
After some days, a dragon will appear and make regular sweeps across the land. In the event that an unskilled player is unfortunate enough to encounter the dragon early on in the game, defeat is almost inevitable. Skilled players, however, should be able to take advantage of the dragon's weak spot, granting them victory regardless of their current stats. The dragon's weak spot is its neck; a successful blow to the neck will render it unable to move for a short period of time. A successive series of upward thrusts from underneath the dragon makes it unable to move, as each stab stuns the dragon long enough for the knight to recover and deliver yet another attack.
- ^ Amiga Action 29 (Feb 1992) 90%; Amiga Computing 46 (Mar 1992) 89%; Amiga Force 5 (May 1993) 80%; Amiga Format 32 (Mar 1992) 59%; Amiga Format 46 (May 1993) 72%; Amiga Power 26 (Jun 1993) 74%; Amiga Power 9 (Jan 1992) 73%; CU Amiga (May 1993) 86%; CU Amiga (Oct 1991) 81%; The One Amiga 56 (May 1993) 52%; The One for Amiga Games 40 (Jan 1992) 82%
- ^ Appears on Top 100 list on LemonAmiga.com website where users rate games
- ^ BPjS / BPjM indexed games. http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/bpjs-bpjm-indexed-games/offset,250/so,1d/. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
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