Knights of the Round. When I got this game I was hoping for an ok Final Fight/Streets of Rage kind of fantasy co-op beat em up, but we cousins were very pleasantly surprised. I saw that it was a Capcom so it had to be at least pretty good, but it still puzzles me why this game is so little known because the quality of this game is through the roof. Out of all the side scrolling beat em ups, we have played this one has to be one of the best if not the best. This is originally an arcade game so I have to say it has been ported very well. Awesome different characters, lots of cool moves, super tight controls and awesome environment and music.
I have seen that the arcade version is 3-player, sadly this port allows only 2, but it is extremely fun nonetheless.
The story is pretty straight forward. You take the roles of Arthur, Percival, and Lancelot to overthrow the evil king and find the holy grail. Artur is the all-rounder with an upward slicing attack, Percival is the strong brute with a running dash attack and Lancelot is lighting fast and quick and has a jump attack. The gameplay is similar to games I already mentioned such as Final Fight , Streets of Rage, Turtles in Time and more. This game though has something special. Swordplay with heavy hits and quick combos, guarding that takes precision and bosses that are extremely challenging but fair. This game is not a button masher. You won’t get far doing that like in some of the other beat’em ups, cause the difficulty in this one is real. To get through this one, you have to use guard. Guarding is pretty tricky since you cannot just hold the guard button and wait to get hit because if you hold it in for too long you get fatigued and are an easy target. If you are bad at guarding and get hit then you need to practice because getting hit seriously hurts! So you cannot button mash, cannot get away with bad guard mechanics. You need skills! Easy to play, difficult to master and THAT is something we like!
The quick combos (mash attack button) and heavy attack (Attack button + ->) are your bread and butter attacks that all characters can use. You can end each quick combo with a heavy attack. Then you have the super attack that takes down everyone around you along with some of your health. In many games (like Turtles in Time) this is never worth it but in this game getting hit hurts way more than the super attack penalty does so we always try to use it if it means avoiding getting hit.
All characters have a different jumping attack. Lancelot can slice twice in mid-air and take down those annoying falcons, Percival jumps and bombs the ground while Arthur does something in between. This is the main reason we like to play as Percival and Lancelot. Percival does the most damage and is probably the best among the three, and meanwhile, Lancelot can take care of falcons and flying/jumping annoying stuff. Lancelot’s lightning fast quick combo can also stagger a few bosses with his speed while the other two cannot. Lastly, Arthur is an all-rounder and if I were playing alone I would maybe pick him but having two very different characters like Lancelot and Percival who have different roles makes more sense and is more fun. I guess in the end all characters play a bit similar but have clear distinctions.
The enemies you face are many and diverse so you have to study each type of enemy closely and learn their patterns in order to be successful. Same can be said about the bosses, diverse, fun and challenging.
You get 2 lives each, then the players split 10 continues (2 lives per continue). It is kinda annoying having to take continues all the time instead of just having more lives per continue but it’s not a big deal. It must have taken us over 30 runs to beat this one. Often we just reset the SNES because we knew that we had lost too many lives to continue. Like for example if we lost a life in the first stage we just started the game over. Same if we lost 2 or 3 lives in the second stage.
Still, for some odd reason, we had the time of our lives in every one of those runs. The game´s flow, fun combat, fun music and the bosses that never made us particularly frustrated kept us entertained and engaged the whole time. The game is very difficult, but at the same time, it is not because of some broken reason. It just takes skill and persistence. That persistence pays off because clearing this game was such a glorious moment for us. It was so fun and so rewarding.
One fun thing about this game is that for killing and collecting treasure you get points when you get enough points you level up and go to full health. As you level up your character get more armor and bigger weapons generally making them look more badass. The timing on when you level up is also important because you want to level up at a critical time to get your health back which makes for some heart beating moments when you are hanging by a thread trying to collect those last points to level up.
So it has a bit of an RPG element to it, and you can even ride a horse! Horse riding is not the greatest feature of this game but it makes you a lot more powerful and harder to hit, with a new set of moves. But really there are actually very few horses around to ride so it is not that important.
All this equals to a beat em’ up game that has many diverse moves, surprisingly deep combat and a cool theme that gives the game its own strong identity.
The game looks very good. The graphics are solid and the sprites and background look good. Nothing really that bugs me at least. In Co-op, we noticed minimal fps lag when 5+ enemies were on screen but it does not happen often. The music too is pretty decent. I actually I think it is very good. It sets the correct mood, makes you feel badass and heroic. Below is not the main theme of the game but it is probably my favorite tune in the game. Most probably do not agree with me though so, by all means, listen to the OST. You will like it.
Just take a look at our “let’s play” so see exactly what i mean by the greatness of this game, although you have to try it out yourself to really feel it of course
Overall this game is such a solid co-op adventure. It takes time to defeat and brings you back in with even harder difficulty levels (easy, normal, hard). The deep gameplay and great game feel along with the music and environment make you feel great while playing, even if you are getting your ass kicked. Knights of the Round is addictive and extremely fun. If you have a dedicated pal, friend (or cousin) you are in for a sweet ride. This is one of our favorites.
Lasting appeal: 9,5
Is it fun?: 9,5 (sort of wanted to put in a 10, but i guess the game is not 100% perfect)
Overall: 9,5 a masterpiece!