- Mar 2, 2010
It's been so long since I made an LP it took me forever to get even this far.
Welcome to my LP of Conquests of the Longbow! As you can gather from the game manual (well, aside from "please don't pirate this"; I'll have much to say about copy protection in this LP), the Conquests series was a (sadly short-lived) attempt at making traditional Sierra adventure games based on more-or-less historical British figures. I say more or less because both major figures used in the series, King Arthur and Robin Hood, have so many different contradictory versions and it is not entirely clear how much of their life stoy is true. The games acknowledge this and roll with it by mixing other mythologies into the main lore. Conquests of Camelot added a lot of Greek and Middle-Eastern polytheistic myths into the more traditional Holy Grail story. Conquests of the Longbow adds a healthy dose of Celtic and Druidic mythology, which I think works very well, better than the mixing did in Camelot.
The reason I really like Longbow, and consider it one of Sierra's great underrated gems, is that the game is very heavy on choices and consequences. We like to think that C&C is something CRPGs invented in the late 90s, but the truth is adventure games had been doing it for almost a decade by then, and this is one of the earliest games to do it so extensively. Almost every little thing you do in the game, which in the Sierra tradition would result in a dead-end or in a death screen, lets you continue playing, all the way to the end. But the game keeps track of these things; at the end of each day, the Merry Men and Robin will comment about what has happened, and the combination of ALL of these choices shape which ending you get. As far as I know there are four endings, ranging from "perfect" to "you suck", and which one you get is determined very organically by the combination of all the choices you make, which makes the entire endgame extremely satisfying. My main playthrough will be a perfect ending, but after that I'll show how to get the bad ending, and boy are they different.
Let's get to it!
Yes, it's a Sierra game.
The credits show a host of familiar names, not least of which is Ken Williams, founder and then-president of Sierra.
Bill Davis is an oft-forgotten name but he's credited as producer or creative director on every single Sierra adventure between 1990 and 1993. He's also immortalized as the janitor in Police Quest 3.
Everyone knows Roberta Williams, Jane Jensen and Lori Cole, the Three Women of Sierra. Unfortunately not as many remember Christy Marx. Her contribution was mostly the Conquests games, but that in itself is good enough. It also makes the typical "games are by men for men" argument amusing when you consider just how many of Sierra's finest games were designed by women.
Seibert is of course THE Sierra composer. If it has a MIDI soundtrack, Seibert had a hand in it. If it doesn't, chances are he composed it anyway (unless Al Lowe did). As usual for Seibert, the MT-32 soundtrack here is great.
Ken Nishiuye isn't as famous as some of the other names here, but he's credited with some of Sierra's finest graphics, including Longbow, Quest for Glory II (perhaps THE best looking EGA game ever made), The Colonel's Bequest, and the three Microprose adventure games (all of which have superb background graphics rivalling anything by Sierra).
After the credits are over, the game's introductory animation plays, setting the stage.
With all the Merry Men introduced, the game proper begins.
Before ending this update I will as usual leave you with scans of the official hintbook, which in typical Sierra/Dynamix tradition have a detailed, extensive making-of section written by Christy Marx. It always pains me to look at those gorgeous original paintings, knowing that they are now lost, and that, if someone had had but the foresight to keep them, we might be playing the same game with the same backgrounds in their glorious original resolution and colour depth.
Next time: Robin shoots people!