ARTHUR'S KNIGHTS: TALES OF CHIVALRY (aka ORIGINS OF EXCALIBUR)

Long ago, Honor was worth dying for...

Travel to the age of Kings and Queens. Monsters and Magic. Live the legend of the Order of the Round Table and become Bradwen, a Medieval hero who will forge his fate with the aid of renowned characters King Arthur and Merlin. Travel to the kingdom of Camelot, and the legendary place called Avalon, as you battle monsters and attempt to outwit your rivals.

Experience the journey from two different perspectives as you choose your destiny. Select between playing the role of a Christian or a Celtic Knight.

Play two separate and unique story-lines that will determine your ultimate fate.

Main features
  • Enter the medieval legend of King Arthur and the Round Table
  • Stunning backgrounds, dynamic cameras and fluid 3Dnimation
  • 2 games in one
  • 2 playable characters
  • 2 separate quests and ultimately a knight's honor to be won
~ advertising blurb

The Legend of King Arthur is a ripe subject matter for an adventure game. Back in 1999/2000, Cryo Interactive must've known this as they'd created a short-lived series of adventure games based on the legend. The first was Arthur's Knights: Tales of Chivalry (or Origins of Excalibur to us Brits), and even this had two different stories in one package. Look like they were all in with wizards, grails and magic swords.
 
The game begins with a young squire begging for tales from the Knights of the Round from his uncle, The Chancellor of Champagne. Two books are open to you, each telling an alternate tale of a Knight named Bradwen. One casts him as a Christian Paladin, a pious defender of the faith. The other has him take on Celtic traditions with Merlin himself as his mentor. Both are very different in their story, but neither are as polished or deep as you want them to be.

Choose the Red of the White book to tell a different story of Bradwen (left).
Combat is animated nicely, but the outcome is entirely pre-ordained (right).
 
Part of that could be down to the visuals. They do look good for the time, with 3D polygons superimposed on pre-rendered 360° wraparounds. It's just very sparse. There are only a few objects or characters with which to interact with, meaning most progress is simply done by talking to everyone or taking everything that stands out from the background. Some puzzles require you to answer riddles by making a choice, but not once did I find any of this particularly engaging.
 
It doesn't help that the controls are a little muddled. It is a mix between direct and mouse control awkwardly lumped together. You control Bradwen with the arrow keys, but most interactions are done with the mouse; not on the game screen, but on some icons at the bottom. It's not the most intuitive, nor is it the most complex, but stick with one or the other. 

There are three sections in this little pop up; conversation, items and travel. Whenever you pick up an item or learn of a new location or piece of information, they will show up as selectable icons. The inventory is self-explanatory, as is the dialogue tab, but the horse allows you to fast-travel to different locations. Clicking on the circle to the left of this will continue any dialogue but it may also offer up its own options and choices - such as fight. Combat is entirely pre-scripted, meaning that you will only win if the game wants you to. Failure is death, obviously, but it's not easily signposted. Sometimes, the criteria for success is a puzzle in and of itself and the only way to know it is one is to get a sword through the throat. It wasn't long before I just got into the habit of saving before each conversation instead of the beginning of each area.

An extensive historical encyclopedia can be accessed at any time (left).
Choosing the right answer for a riddle. There are a lot of these types of puzzles (right).
 
What I did like over anything else is the locations. All of them spark the imagination, inviting you into a visual world more cohesive than the story. It's a pity they're not exactly explorable, but the thrill of a new location is what kept me going through most of it. 
 
I don't exactly have high praise for the first entry in the Arthur's Knights series. It's a game that suffers from the same type of problems as many other Cryo games - all filler, no killer. They look good, but there's a certain rushed and under-baked feeling towards the entire thing. Another thing they all have in common is a promising premise. That may keep others like me playing for far longer than others.


To download the PC game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses dgVoodoo to run on modern systems. UK and US Manual included. A real or virtual CD drive is required to play. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 802 Mb.  Install Size: 1.02 Gb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


Arthur's Knights: Tales of Chivalry (aka Origins of Excalibur) is © Cryo Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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13 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot, have been wanting to play this for some time! :) If you like Cryo games like me, maybe you could give "Riverworld" a shot? It's a quite decent 3D adventure/RTS hybrid based on the novels of the same name.

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  2. Despite their failings, I love both Arthur's Knights games. It would be much appreciated if you could also do the second Arthur's Knights game, Secrets of Merlin. Thank you very much for your efforts.

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  3. This game completely went completely under my radar, but it's actually quite good! Thank you for making it available

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  4. Thanks so much for uploading this. I'm getting an error, despite downloading it twice. It says "Could not find CD-ROM Drive: Application aborted"

    Any idea on how to fix this? Thanks.

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  5. Im Also Getting The Same Error above as ArthurYanthar.....Thanks For your superb Uploads... Love This Site!!

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    1. It is not happening to me, so I can only speculate as to why. Open 'ArthKnia.ini" from the System folder in the install directory using Notepad. Under [Install], check that Type=./ is correct. This points the game to read from the same drectory as the .exe that launches the game. This executable already uses a third-party crack.

      If that doesn't work, it could be one of those games that need a CD drive - regardless if anything is in it. Use a Virtual CD program to create a disc drive. Failing that, I've put a .reg file in the Download link. I can't see anything about it that requires it - it doesn't on my system - but it's there just in case I've missed something.

      Hopefully one of these option will fix it.

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    2. Thanks. I've created a virtual disk drive with Daemon Tools Lite and it's now working.

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    3. Good to know! I'll add a note to the page and FAQ, so thanks for telling me.

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  6. Bah no luck, have a virtual disk drive, game doesn't start when i try to run it from ARTHKNIA.exe, sometimes - if lucky - it starts when i run it from the shortcut icon but crashes after "new game" is selected. My bad luck i guess :/

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  7. Edit: managed to make it work by setting compatibility mode of ARTHKNIA.exe to "Windows 98 / Windows Me".

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    1. Hello. Part of me thinks that the crash is due to dgVoodoo not being implemented. If compatibility mode is working - great - but I'd be curious to know if this is the case.

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    2. How can i check it? i just install the game, mount a virtual drive and run it either from shortcut or the .exe file. Is there another step?

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  8. Gotta love Cryo and their weird, ambitious, atypical and inevitably broken or unfinished games. Well, maybe 'love' isn't quite the right word... around this time PC Gamer seemed to review one every other month, usually unkindly.

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