We're Knights of the Round Table!
We dance when e'er we're able—wait...that's not right.
This is just Knights of the Round! Silly me.
The story part of Knights of the Round begins as you would expect any from anything Arthurian. A young Arthur pulls the sword Excalibur from a rock and claims his rightful place as King of Camelot or, in this case, the Britons. There is a catch, however. The people refuse to serve this guy just because he pulled something from somewhere and thus threw the lands into chaos and ruin. Merlin pops up like a pimple on prom night and tells Arthur that the only hope of uniting and healing the tattered lands is to find the Holy Grail. Forget actually doing anything politically sound or economically grand. It's "Hey, Arthur! Go find this religious artifact. That'll show these people who's the boss around here!"
So off Artie goes along with his two best pals Lancelot and...Percival? I had to look this up. As it turns out, in Arthurian legend, Percival was actually the main hero in the quest for the Holy Grail. Lancelot's son, Galahad, later replaced him in the stories. It's nice to see that a fictional character gets his due credit in a video game that isn't actually about him or tells anything about him. He has some awesome green pants, though! Lancelot's there too, hopping about like a frog on a hot plate. He sports some simply glorious long blonde hair that would make any girl jealous. I know Percival was probably jealous, too. His haircut reminds me of something a second grader from the 90s would have on picture day at school. Arthur definitely doesn't need to envy because he looks like Jesus mixed with Rambo. Why Guinevere would cheat on Arthur with Lanceblonde is beyond me.
This game is more difficult than it almost needs to be. Sure, you can put it on easy mode, but I found that going the easy route doesn't make much of a difference in the long run. You're going to get your butt thoroughly booted one way or the other. You do level up, but so do the enemies. Leveling up is awesome though! The higher the level you go, the better the armor and weapons you get. You go from wearing discarded armor and rags to golden armor and the finest linens that can be magically poofed onto you. Players can level up by defeating enemies and reaping the riches of the barrel gods. If you decide to go the two-player route, these treasures can definitely come in handy since they can be split and shared between players. Even silver tea sets can be broken down into little teapots. I wish splitting a twenty-dollar bill into smaller bills was as simple as going at it with a kitchen knife! The same concept applies to gaining health. Someone is really going to miss those giant salads and turkeys that they stowed away in barrels.
These enemies are pure Med-EVIL!
I'm rather curious about the person who suggested putting "Mad Tigers" into the game. I'm fairly certain there weren't tigers in the British Isles back then, let alone Camelot! Maybe that's why these enemy tigers are so angry...or the fact that the artist decided to give them some, uhh, "enhancements" of a round nature. If you can't figure out what I'm alluding to, look it up and prepare yourself for a shock. Most of the other enemies are simple-looking. Many of them are just various types of soldiers in armor or acrobats in jester clothing. The game labels one type of enemy as a "Fat Man." I'm not sure if that's a reference to the guy's weight or the bomb. All of the bosses are knights with quite unique names and horrendously awful demeanors. I hope you didn't get scratched on your way to some of these bosses because you will probably spend all of your continues on these battles. The first few aren't too bad. Scorn is easy. Braford? More like Barford! Then you get to the unfair one like Balbars and his giant hammer of doom and despair that will fling you around like a ragdoll and finish you off in two hits. Don't even get me started on the final boss! I know I didn't. I tried playing through the game at least four times with different strategies and never made it past Stage 5 of 7. I gave this game a valiant effort worthy of a Knight of the Round Table, but alas! I fell short of the true glory in the end.
Last night, I had the honor of playing the arcade version of Knights of the Round. Now, keep in mind this review is for the SNES version, but it was definitely interesting to see the differences between the two. First of all, the writers couldn't seem to figure out how to spell "Percival." Since no one could seem to agree on one spelling, the writers used them all! You can be Percival, Perceval, or Parceval. The enemies were slightly different in number as well. There were so many more! In the arcade version, some of the bigger enemies rode in on horses while in the SNES version they did not. Luckily, the arcade allowed you to have infinite continues (as long as you had infinite quarters). Man, I wish I had had infinite continues in the SNES game since I actually did enjoy playing.
The quest for the Holy Grail is complete and King Arthur has healed the land of...anarchy? Overall, Knights of the Round is an enjoyable game although it is quite frustrating and difficult. If you can buckle down and power through it, you have all of my respect!
I wonder if this King Arthur knows the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow...