"A great side scroller, that manages to break the mold of being average with it's unique level up system."

Knights Of The Round is one of Capcom's many side scroller action games, however this one is set in medieval times.

Story:
Knights Of The Round hardly puts any emphasis on the storyline, which is ultimately very disappointing. The game starts out with a brief scene of Arthur pulling the legendary sword Excalibur from the stone. The game explains that one day while Arthur was training he removed the Excalibur from the stone. Whoever is able to remove the sword is destined to become king. This is the only story you will ever get, besides learning that Lancelot and Percival will aid Arthur on his way. Disappointingly the game has no real ending. All that happens is you fight the last boss and you get a "Congratulations". I would have enjoyed the game more if they elaborated more on the storyline.

Gameplay:
This is the obviously the funnest part of Knights Of The Round, and it is unique because of the games level up system. During the game you will gain experience points after defeating your enemies, and you will level up. Another interesting factor is that your appearance will change over time, so your character will go from basic clothing to being decked out in shiny armor, with bigger versions of their initial weapons. There are however only 3 playable characters, Arthur, Lancelot and Percival, and they each have their differences. Arthur is the well rounded character, equal in all areas. Lancelot is fast, but he is significantly weaker than the other two. Finally, Percival is the strongest, but he is also the slowest, and he can also not attack while jumping, instead his mid-air move is executed once he lands after his jump. During your first playthough Arthur is probably the best choice.

In addition to your basic attack combo, each character also has a special attack, but these attacks drain life away from your health meter, so you should only use these when desperate. I actually only use it maybe two or three times the entire game, due to the fact that I would rather keep my HP then waste it on defeating enemies, especially since food items that replenish HP are not so conveniently spread around as the treasure is, so you don't come across them very often. Picking up treasure will give you experience points that can be used towards leveling up. If you obtain enough experience points during a level you can level up in mid-level. Also at the end of the level all your bonus points and other points will be tallied and you can level up at this point as well.

There are also several other items you can pick up such as red or green orbs that have various effects, such as killing all enemies on screen. You can also attack most dropped items to have them split into multiple pieces, while giving you less points or health restoration the cumulative effect of all the pieces will grant you more points overall than if you collected the treasure chest or food item without breaking it. You can also ride horses at various parts of the game, although the maneuverability seems a little limited. Maybe it is just because I have played this game along time after it's initial release but the controls for the horse felt a little clunky, but they work nonetheless.

There is also a good variety of enemies, but you will mostly be seeing the same group of enemies for the entire game, just with altered appearances and color schemes as time goes on. If I remember correctly there is 12 stages, but I honestly can't remember, because I wasn't keeping track, perhaps when I actually find out the exact number I will update this section of my review. There is also a good assemble of Boss fights, these Boss' are not overly difficult, but some of them can provide a good challenge, although the main difficulty comes from them being able to attack you even while your attacking them. This will seem annoying at first since the main enemies will not attack you while being attacked. Once you discover the attack patterns of the Boss' they are not very difficult to defeat.

Graphics:
The graphics in Knights Of The Round, present nice looking areas, with some nice backgrounds. The characters also look good, and seeing their appearances change as they level up is a nice change from always looking at the same character, in different stages. The levels also come in different assortments, but a lot of them are castle type environments. There is not very many special effects, or anything very spectacular besides what I have previously mentioned, so for SNES there isn't anything very groundbreaking about them, but they are still very good.

Sound:
The sound seems more mediocre. The weapon clashes sound nice, and the music gets the job done, but some tunes seem to get repetitive. Although, non of the music in the game ever became annoying while I played through it. The enemies groans are probably one of my biggest complaints, since for the entire game you will be hearing a similar assortment of groans from the enemies when they are defeated. Although not very irritating, and mostly overlook-able, they could have definitely been better.

Value:
Knights Of The Round is a fun game to play through, but it is of similar length to most side scroller action games. There are a few memorable experiences, but the story was not elaborated enough to make you feel like you want to play though the entire game again, besides beating up some enemies, and there are many other side scrollers that could provide you with better replay value than Knights Of The Round, although the level up system is definitely something that fans of this genre would probably come back to it for.

Score:
Gameplay: 9
Graphics: 9
Sound: 7
Value: 7
Tilt: 7

Overall: 7.9
Knights Of The Round is a fun side scroller to play though for the initial experience. Afterwards the game may become tiresome for some people, but the unique level up system in the game creates something that is fun to experience again. With a good variety of levels and some good boss fights Knights Of The Round is a good game that fans of the side scroller beat 'em up genre should definitely look into. However those who are not interested in medieval times, or side scrollers should probably look for something elsewhere.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/23/05


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