A month ago, I posted a hands-on preview of Manomio's iOS version of the classic Cinemaware strategy game Defender of the Crown. I'm happy to report that the game has finally landed as as Universal application (for iPhone and iPad) in the App Store [link].

Defender of the Crown was originally released for the Amiga in 1986 -- but that's really not saying enough. The Amiga will always be remembered for, among many other things, being one of the most notable gaming platforms ever created. And, for a long while, Defender of the Crown was the system's undisputed flagship game title. I will quote Brian Bagnall from his excellent book On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore, to help convey just how actually jarring an experience it was to see the game for the first time on the Amiga back in 1986.

[Amiga co-creator R.J.] Mical saw artist Jim Sachs push the Amiga to its full potential. "Jim Sachs, what a God he is," marvels Mical. "Jim Sachs is amazing. These days everyone sees graphics like that because there are a lot of really good computer graphics artists now, but back then, 20 years ago, it was astonishing to have someone that good."

The final game was a landmark in video game production values. As game designer Bob Lindstrom recalls, "The shock of seeing Defender for the first time was one of those experiences that changed the gaming stakes for all of us."

Compared to other video games of the time, Defender of the Crown established a new level of quality. IBM had Kings Quest by Sierra On-Line, a decent but primitive adventure game. The Macintosh had games like Checkers or Backgammon, or board games like Risk. Defender of the Crown had richer graphics than any computer, console, or even arcade game could boast in 1986. It was a revelation.

Of course, the above seeks to convey the magic of the title as seen 25 years ago, but despite the passage of a quarter century, the visuals still look magnificent and are a testament to both the Amiga's then-revolutionary graphics hardware and the pixel savvy of designer Jim Sachs. The accompanying audio score is superb, as well.

The game was originally mouse-based and, in this iOS release, is running under Manomio's iAmiga emulation system. As such, completely native iOS controls were not possible, but the studio has done an admirable job of converting the iPhone and iPad screen into a virtual track-pad for swipe and tap controls. Given the extra screen real estate, the game is best played on the iPad, but it's still a great experience on the iPhone and iPod touch.

The preview I posted last month is basically a review of the release version of the game, as all that was left to finish at the time of that post was the in-game documentation. I'd urge anyone who's never played the game to give it a read. I think it's safe to assume that anyone who has played the game before already jumped right to the download link on seeing the title of this post.

  • http://twitter.com/asianmack asianmack

    One of my favorite games ever!

  • Bosconian

    I had this on my Amiga back when it was new. I will not be getting the iOS version.

    Why?

    Because aside from nostalgia, it was never that great of a game in the first place. Back in the day it had very impressive graphics and sound, and that was the main draw.

  • Adams Immersive

    I always wanted this game, and never got it! Never thought I’d make up for it by getting it on a device 1/3” thick.

    I hope other Cineware titles make it to iOS as well. It Came From The Desert!

    • Realsfg

      100% Ack. The mouse cursor is not necessary and the main reason why I will not buy this (sadly). Why didn't they just emulate the mouse too? 2D Touchscreen Pos -> Mouse Pos.

      • Realsfg

        Ignore this here.. pushed the upper reply button instead of the one below o.O .... This comment should belong to the comment of "Aer2".

      • http://www.facebook.com/ngohuyq Huy Ngo

        I completely agree, though I actually purchased it out of impulse before reading more details.  That is a mistake I will not make again. 

  • Aer2

    enjoyed one of the originals on the pc way back in the day, but why the heck would they include the mouse cursor and a slow mouse emulation on a touch interface??  no way i'm touching this.

    • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

      Because this is an emulated title. It's running in an Amiga emulator. Modifying the emulated title to feature multitouch controls would not be an option, and a full iOS rewrite of the game is a rather different proposition than bringing a classic title ti iOS via emulation.

    • http://twitter.com/stuartcarnie Stuart Carnie

      The game is the original Amiga version, not a conversion.  As you know, there was no such thing as a touch interface for the Amiga back in 1986, so there was no way to replace this.  We didn't explicitly build a mouse driven interface, it's part of the package :)

  • DotComCTO

    Manomio did a great job on the game! The emulation is spot on, and they worked very hard to abstract a lot of the Amiga Workbench so that it feels like a standalone game rather than a game running on an emulator. I know people have been surprised that it uses the screen as a trackpad of sorts, but it's very smooth an you get used to it quickly. I also know that they worked closely with Cinemaware throughout the process to deliver a polished experience.

    If you were ever a fan of the game and/or the Amiga, this is a worthy purchase...and $2.99 isn't that much to ask for all the effort that went into bringing this game out.

    For full disclosure - I was one of the beta testers, but as an Amiga owner (yes, my Amiga 500 *still* works fine), I'm telling you that this is good stuff!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dower.chin Dower Chin

    I really liked this game back in the Amiga days! Gads it was hard though, but then again, so were all the CinemaWare games! I hope they do "It Came From the Desert" I loved the mood and feel of that game! Great Stuff, and I'm glad to see these old games make there way onto the IOS platform!

  • Anonymous

    Think it'll work?

  • Arti

    I want SuperFrog, Cannon Fodder, Furry in the furries from Amiga to iOS

  • North Face Sale

    Wonderful, that’s
    definitely what I was searching for! You just spared me alot of work
     

    North Face Sale

  • Faucett

    Don't mind the track pad at all - seems like a perfect emulation to me!

  • http://www.martindemsky.com Martin Demsky

    DofC is great classic, you got me! :) and i am dreaming about iOS port of great cyberpunk game DreamWeb...

  • Cleaned

    What does this single "Rom"? Where is the version of "complete" iAmiga Emulator?

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

    I was a real Cinemaware superfan back in the day, particularly of Rocket Ranger and It Came From the Desert, but I enjoyed all of their games bar the sports ones.  Defender was probably the weakest of their adventure games, as it was the first and served more as a graphical showcase for the Amiga.

    As for this emulator then, I'll be giving it a miss. I'm sure there's nostalgia value in playing Defender again, but single ROM apps are a major red light for me and something I avoid. Why? Because it's messy, and goes against the way Apple have architected the app store. It's akin to having each individual album, audiobook, or podcast outside of the iPod app and making springboard even more cluttered. In-app purchases exist for just this reason, and ignoring that doesn't sit well with me. I could use folders I guess, although I personally think they're ugly and don't work well.

    Not to worry, there are plenty of other games to play on iOS, and if Mamonio ever does emulation the right way again, (as they did to begin with in their now sadly abandonware C64 app) then I *may* invest. Or I may not, depends how long they're going to milk this ugly single ROM as app thing.

  • http://www.peitsch.de Sebastian

    Sorry but  the sound is hurting my ears and the mouse-cursor HAS to be a joke.

    Even if it were for free I would not get it after seeing the video. Super awful input, extremely annoying sound, 80s graphics... there's seriously better things to play and to be honest furthering the conversion of 25 year old games is just wrong.

    Give us an emulator and offer us the Roms for 99 Cents a piece because that's what they are worth today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ngohuyq Huy Ngo

    Oiiii.  As much as I'm an advocate against buying old Squaresoft games that are ported, I really should've done my research on this emulation.  

    This game's mouse cursor is manageable, but far from ideal.  If you're not on the ball with your touch drag you will inevitably "left click" on an option you did not one.  

    Instead of using resources to emulate the old title, it could have been remade to be iOS native using the old graphics in probably half the time.  Coulda shoulda woulda...  Perhaps that'll be my next task eh?

  • DnPRuLZ

    http://noob.hu/2011/08/12/photo1.PNGhttp://noob.hu/2011/08/12/photo2.PNG

    without joy it's a bit complicated to control, but the player seems to be moving by touching the screen :)

  • DnPRuLZ
  • Anon

    So is he going to release his iAmiga emulator soon then or just package them as single games to make more money ? It's been a long time since this was announced a year ago and still no info.

  • Jonathan

    Would prefer to see a touch style interface.  When you tap the screen, move the mouse cursor to that spot and do a click.  Should be possible if you have the emulator source code.  Remote desktop apps like Splashtop do this and it works fine.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_64UM2VP4I4KNPDN5ROMMWTQT5A Marco Honor

    request the source code and build you own!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Montgomery-Gabrys/1085446349 Montgomery Gabrys

    That book you cited stops before the Amiga years! WTH?