Lionheart is a top-notch sound and graphics arcade-adventure masterpiece with varied landscapes and interesting (challenging) action gameplay, released exclusively for the Commodore Amiga computers by Thalion.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Valdyn, a half human, half lion, creature must fight his way through some harsh and hostile landscapes (a swamp, a castle and a volcano), mainly on foot, in order to reach the evil wizard Norka's flying fortress and retrieve a stolen magical gem called "Lionheart". The gem's powers, keep the evil wizard king as the ultimate lord of the land and the hero must stop this. Valdyn must also find a cure kept somewhere in Norka's rooms, which will save Valdyn's wife Ilene from turning into a stone(!) by a rare spell Norka put on her. Obtain the magical gem, save the girl and the kingdom and finally find peace! Simple as that! Or not? The game starts in a 2D scrolling platform style with Valdyn moving on foot and as the game progresses Valdyn will also ride a dinosaur-like beast and a fire-breathing dragon! Your main weapon is a sword that can be upgraded during your quest, by picking up certain items. By holding the action button and pressing on either direction, Valdyn can execute several different moves with his sword: Pressing the back direction makes Valdyn swirl around to kill enemies attacking from behind while pressing the forward and up directions Valdyn slashes his enemies with two different hits. By pressing the down direction, Valdyn will unleash a low kick, one of the only two available ways to attack enemies below his waist level. Well, to be honest, the way you use your sword is quite awkward, meaning that you have to stop and wait for the enemies to come and then hit the hell out of them...! There are several times during your quest, that you must execute blind jumps that, most of the times, may become...fatal. Pretty much unfair I think...! But the biggest problem I had playing this game is to actually replay levels from the very start, after using a credit to continue. Lionheart is a pretty slick and well made action platform that can really impress anyone with its great presentation, sound and neat gameplay, although its few flaws.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics are gorgeous! Thalion worked with Henk Nieborg, one of the most talented European pixel artists of the 16-bit era and made this very masterpiece. The amount of detail in every object is simply stunning, both on the still images and the in-game sprite animations! Note that the game offers around 200 colors on-screen (dithering) while the amount of parallax scrolling layers at the background are almost impossible to count! You will also be astonished by the water distortion effect (just look how the animated water levels up and down and covers objects). At this point, I must also refer to a small drawback: the game has some noticeable slowdowns on the ordinary Amiga 500 or 600 computers (OCS/ECS chipsets), requiring an Amiga 1200 (AGA chipset) to run at full speed and no slowdowns at all! Soundwise, the game is amazing, offering a great opening (and ending) sequence as well as several top-notch in-game tunes plus enough, high quality, sampled SFX during gameplay.
In-game music sample:
CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs