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Arthur's Knights: Tales of Chivalry, released on June 19, 2001 under the catch phrase "Chivalry to live by... Honor to die for...", is a keyboard-operated PC game whose story revolves around the mythic Medieval era of which the legendary King Arthur is a contemporary. The player can choose to play either of two unique storylines: that of Bradwen the Celt or that of Christian Bradwen. In both storylines, he is the illegitimate son of the dying King Cadfanan, leader of the Atrebates tribe shortly following the Roman occupation. Bradwen's goal is to foil the evil attempts of his half-brother Morganor (heir to the throne) at securing a malevolent kingship for himself through which enactment of his evil intentions will be made possible.
Bradwen has two alternate paths that can be played through in Arthur's Knights: Tales of Chivalry. Prior to choosing which path shall be followed, the game opens with the player in control of a young page (newly a squire) who trots off to converse with a gentleman by the name of Master Foulque, who, it would appear, is a librarian and historiographer. After some discourse with Master Foulque, the player is presented with the choice of deciding between a red book and a white book (determining which story, Celtic or Christian, respectively, of Bradwen shall be told). Both stories take place shortly after the departure of the Romans from Britain. This epoch marks a time in which Christianity has been somewhat imposed upon the native populace of Britain thus majorly extinguishing what in the game is described as "an age of Kings and Queens, Monsters and Magic" (not to mention fairies and otherwise traditionally Celtic and pagan concepts). Controversy erupts when the decampment of the Romans leaves the British tribes in conflict over political power (thus leaving them disunited and therefore vulnerable to their common enemies, the Saxons). The barbaric Saxons pose a particular threat to reestablishing a semblance of order in the land. Bradwen's role in all this is to embark on a series of missions when his half-brother informs him of the necessity for a cure for Cadfanan, their father and king. Ultimately, both Bradwens encounter fairies, dragons, King Arthur, Merlin, and even the Devil during travels through Camelot, the mystical realm of Avalon, and a plethora of other lands. Bradwen also, regardless of the religion to which he cleaves, eventually seek justice against the treacherous actions of his half-brother which develop during gameplay.
Positive and negative aspects
Though Arthur's Knights: Tales of Chivalry boasts that the keyboard controls allow for more exactitude in maneuvering, the controls can often pose tiresome problems instead of advantages. The precision necessary to gain entrance to parts of the game can sometimes prove hard to achieve and thus takes a bothersome amount of time. The game also is strictly non-action: the player never actively partakes in battles. When a fight is initiated with a given enemy, the game goes into autoplay and will show Bradwen winning or losing depending on whether or not he possesses the necessary implements for a victory. The gameplay also proceeds in a highly direct, RPG manner. Run one errand, and have access to another. On the other hand, Arthur's Knights has beautifully-rendered graphics and highly realistic sounds. Traveling through a forest, one may hear an assortment of sounds including running water, the laughter of fairies, birds chirping, and animals growling. However, it becomes very disgruntling when the magnificently-detailed environments cannot be fully interacted with and explored due to the large amount of interphase blocking in the game. Nonetheless, the plot of the game is, on average, sufficiently inriguing to keep one playing.
Throughout the game are interspersed some historical facts about Roman Britain, post-Roman Britain, tidbits on the legend of King Arthur, and several allusions to Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel The Mists of Avalon.
Arthur's Knights: Tales of Chivalry was followed in 2001 by Arthur's Knights II: The Secret of Merlin.