Fun fantasy platforming
Another surprisingly decent little game from Operasoft, creators of the equally entertaining Corsarios and the Livingstone games, Sirwood mixes adventure and platforming thrills to neat effect and backs it all up with charming old-school graphics to create a guilty pleasure. It's not exactly complex stuff, in terms of gameplay or story, but it's got a lot of character and in this industry, that counts for a lot. The plot here is your typical fantasy guff, involving the theft of magical shield by an improbably named evil wizard (aren't they always?) as part of his wicked plans. It all falls to the player, the poor but noble shepherd Arn, to get the shield back and what all this translates into in game terms is a side scrolling platform actioner, somewhat akin to Elf perhaps or a less intense Turrican. There are three levels to explore, forest, cave and castle, while of course there is the usual array of vicious nasties between you and victory. Sirwood is certainly not going to win any awards for best retro game of all time, but there is something delightfully charming about its simplicity and which makes it worthy of a brief investigation. The gameplay is undeniably basic, requiring little more than a few jabs at the fire button and the occasional jump move, but the visuals are strong enough to overcome any faults. The sprites are lovely and chunky, full of vibrant colour, while the enemies are bold and inventively designed and stand as a fine example of old-school charm. It's not a must play by any stretch, but Sirwood is fun while it lasts and is certainly worth a look.