Knights of the Round – A Beat ‘Em Up Retrospective

This beat ’em up game found on the Super Nintendo is of the hack ‘n slash variety. It has alluded me for a long time. Either it’s an obscure game or I don’t get out often enough. Whichever it is, it doesn’t matter because I’ve played a ton of Golden Axe and this one feels very similar. One difference being that Knights of the Round has an RPG element. The score reflects experience points and once you reach a certain amount your heros will level up. However I don’t think that leveling up does anything at all. Except changing the appearance of the sprites. But it still serves a purpose. I think most people just like the instant feedback even though it’s virtually meaningless. I know I do. kotr2

The game has 3 characters to choose from. And like most beat ’em ups there’s a big, slow but strong person. An all-rounder. And a fast but weaker individual. I tend to go for the big and strong type myself. But enough about me.

The story is vague. Its basically about King Arthur and his pals going on a journey to get back a cup. Along the way they must slay the many who stand in their way. You get the picture. There is a horse that can be ridden for half a stage. But it can be a bit awkward to strike down the enemy at times. And while it may have been more effective to walk, I really wanted to ride the horse. Even though it caused me to take unnecessary damage.kotr1

The controls are very much like Final Fight – if you’re not a reader of mine you should know that I credit FF with coming up with the perfect beat ’em up control scheme. But instead of being able to grab and grapple, the game gives us a block button. And with a little practice it’s possible to stun your opponents with a well timed block. One more thing I like about the controls is that you can press the jump and attack buttons simultaneously to perform a special move A.K.A. holy shit move. Or, that’s right there’s an ‘or’, just press the single button that is dedicated to it. Like in Final Fight 3. And yes it does drain your life bar.kotr3

The game is solid, there’s actually not a lot to complain about. But I did notice a few negatives. There is nothing memorable about the whole experience. It’s a basic arcade game that came out during the height of the golden age of beat ’em ups. While that in itself is fine, there just isn’t one thing that stands out in Knights of the Round. Take the little bastards in Golden Axe that give you powers when you kick them. Or the monsters that you can hop on and mow down everyone with. Who doesn’t remember those moments. And I was disappointed in the ending. It didn’t offer anything. Not that I expected much but it’s lame when the credits roll immediately after the last boss is defeated.

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