A challenge has been set by the Druids of the High Temple! You and your tribe have to compete with up to three others to find the Moonstone and bring it back to the Stone Circle. The prize is ultimate power!
Sounds simple enough if it wasn't for the small matter of the Black Knights.
They have other ideas. Their masters have sworn them to destroy the Moonstone - and you with it.
They have a whole gang of extremely nasty friends to help them. These include hammer-wielding Trogs, vicious Ratmen, Mudmen of the Wetlands and the terrible lady known as The Guardian.
Moonstone is a remarkable combination of fast, aggressive combat action and subtle role-play that, perhaps uniquely, challenges your brain - while it covers you in gore.
Oh, by the way, if the sight of so much blood upsets you, don't worry. The blood is an option!
Features nearly 1,000 frames of incredible animation in 2 Megabytes of monsters and creatures, over 60 beautifully painted backdrops and detailed scenery. Sound effects are high quality digital samples and includes a full musical score and stunning full screen animation introductory and game complete sequences.
~ from the back of the box
Moonstone: A Hard Day's Knight (1991-1992, Mindscape) is a hard game to categorise. The real-time action is very much that of a beat 'em up while the turn-based multiplayer has strategic elements. Other sites categorise it as an RPG first and foremost. Considering the exploration of towns, the ability to level up and collect items and spells I'd say that would probably fit this hidden gem best.
You play as one of four knights travelling around a map of four distinct areas in order to find the magical Moonstone and defeat the marauding dragon causing havoc. The map features a number of different 'lairs' which are essentially single-screen combat events against a bunch of inventive and well-drawn enemies. One of these lairs in each territory will contain a key that'll give you access to the Valley of Gods where a Guardian defends the Moonstone. If another knight has found one of the keys, you may have to fight them for it adding some competitive strategy.
Considering the game came out on the Amiga at the beginning of the 90s, it uses the out-dating single-button fighting mechanic to defeat your foes. The joystick alone will move your knight while holding the 'fire' button and a direction will hold you in place to execute a defensive or offensive move. If takes a lot for modern gamers with their multi-buttoned joypads to get used to. I grew up with this style on my trusty Atari ST and still have trouble. Imagine playing Street Fighter II that way!
Visit the towns to purchase upgrades with money earned in battle.
Click on the columns to exit. It took me too long to figure that one out...
If you've sussed out the mechanics and are able to kill the monsters (who die in the most gruesome way possible), you'll have access to the treasure chest that's found in the background. Mostly it's money, but you can also find spells and health potions. You can spend this money in the town, of which there are two; Highwood and Waterdeep. Beyond weapons at the Merchant, gambling at the Tavern or health from the Healer, Highwood also has a magic shop known as the High Temple where you can buy amulets, spells and potions to aid your quest. Waterdeep has Mythral the Mystic in place of the High Temple where your chances in battle improve (if you donate the right amount of dosh).
The other two territories host their own distinct landmark. The host of the Wizard's Tower in the northern wasteland may grant you with power-ups, money or items but could also turn you into a frog if you annoy him. Stonehenge in the southern forest will heal your health and increase your lives if you offer up a magic item. It is also here where the Moonstone should be presented to win the game.
While certainly entertaining, Moonstone: A Hard Day's Knight hasn't got as much depth as other RPGs of the era. In fact, the action may put off a number of that genre's enthusiasts. Conversely, the need to level up and hunt for items may put off those wanting a simple action game. In all honesty, neither side represent their genre well but together they do make for an interesting attempt to do something different. Or you can just play for the superb, ultra-gory graphics.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the PC version to modern systems and FS-UAE to emulate the Amiga version. Manual & Addendum included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 92.6 Mb. Install Size: 199 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Moonstone: A Hard Day's Knight is © Mindscape International Ltd
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me