Lew Leon (Leon the Lion) is a 2D platformer made by polish developer Longsoft Multimedia. It’s a family game and was one of the first professionally made video games in Poland. It’s full of humorous situations and requires some thinking from the player. It features a lion named Leo, the king of the Lion's Archipelago, who travels through various places (including jungle, polar region, ancient pyramid, magic castle and the depths of the ocean) in order to retrieve his crown stolen by the conspirators.
The game takes place in the Lion's Archipelago which is ruled by Leon the Lion. Most animals are pleased with their sovereign, however there is a group of animals who don't like the king. They gather in their "very secret base" and plot the plan to steal the king's golden crown, stating that a lion without a crown is just a "big mangy cat".
Out of all the conspirators the monkey is chosen to steal the crown. He sneaks into a room with the crown while the king is fast asleep on the couch and takes it. Afterwards, in conspirators' secret base the plotters divide the crown into 8 parts, each conspirator keeping a part for himself.
Meanwhile Leon awakes, discovers the robbery (and banana in place of a crown) and decides to find the conspirators and get his crown back.
Game consists of 3 episodes, 4 levels each for 12 levels total. Each level takes place in different area (except for some twin-levels. For example both ZARIA I and ZARIA II are played in jungle while KADMAR I and KADMAR II are desert-themed levels). There is no typical save option. At first the player can access only the first level (ZARIA I), but after completing each episode he (or she) gets permanent access to all levels of the previous episodes and to the first level of current episode. Each level is followed by a short cinematic. After completing the game the player is given access to 11 levels (that is because the final two levels are linked together and played as one). The reset option in game's main menu removes access to all levels except for the first one.
Leon can walk and jump, but the height of the jump varies with each level (and in some levels he cannot jump at all). He can also move up and down ladders and ropes. Leon's health is represented by his bust displayed in the left lower corner of the screen. If bust is facing the player the lion is at full health. When taking damage the bust starts turning to the right (from player's perspective). When the lion's back is visible the lion is very low on health and about to die. The bust also starts blinking when the lion is damaged. Quicker blinking means lower health.
When Leon dies he will lose one life (the number of lives is displayed next to lion's bust, minimal is 1, maximal is 9) and will reappear at the start of the level or at the recently activated checkpoint (see bonus list below). When all lives are lost and the player has one or more continues he or she can choose to continue playing from the beginning of the current level (starting with 5 lives). If player's got no continues (or chose not to use them) he or she will be redirected back to the main menu and must start from a currently available level.
In most levels Leon can find and pickup various tools. Typical level has 1 to 4 tools (with two levels having none, and two having 10 tools). Some tools can be used as weapons, other may (or must) be used to help overcome obstacles in the way. Currently selected item is shown in the box in the right lower corner. This item will be used after pressing CTRL key. Other tools are selected by pressing corresponding number key. In some levels there is also a throwing weapon activated with the ALT key (some have limited number and can be found throughout the level to replenish the ammo). If Leon has no tool at the moment, the "pocket" is not visible. The list of the tools on each level is available after pressing F1.
Warning! On level KADMAR II the ALT key is used for crawling instead of throwing.
Aside from the tools Leon can also pick up bonus items. These do not appear in the "tool's pocket" and their effect is immediate. Bonuses are basically the same on each level:
- Balloon. Walking through a balloon will make it pop and restore some of the lion's health. When at full health the balloon will not pop. Warning: balloons look slightly different in each level (in ENA I they appear like big air bubbles) and they don't appear in levels ENA II, SADES and TUNGA I (however in SADES Leon's health is partially restored whenever he replenishes his air supply).
- Crown. Walking through a crown marks a checkpoint. When player dies he will respawn at the last activated crown. Activated crown rotate, while not-activated remain completely still.
- Specter. Appears on some levels and more often than not it is hard to reach. Sometimes it does not appear (probably it appears only once for every game reset). Specters serves as continues and allow player to keep on playing a level when all lives has been lost.
- Question mark. They appear in every level and grant (mostly) random effect. On easy difficulty level a second question mark will eventually appear after the first one was collected, on hard only one appears in each place (with one exception). Possible effects are:
- Health restoration (similarly to a balloon).
- Additional live.
- Invisibility (Leon is completely invisible except for the character's outline). Enemies don't damage us with their attacks or on contact. Leon can still die however from some other hazards (most common being falling into a bottomless pit). Effect lasts for approximately 7 seconds (however it is shorter on RAN level).
- Invincibility. This effect is called "Predator's armor" in the game instruction (mainly because of the graphic effect). When invincible Leon defeats enemies just by touching them once (bosses may still require few hits though). Effect last for approximately 7 seconds.
- Flying. Leon gets a propeller on top of his head and can fly for a few seconds. Be careful when the effect wears out, because falling can kill Leon. This effect is only accessible in KADMAR I level.
- Control inversion. For few seconds the control is inverted (we go left instead of right and climb up instead of climbing down for example).
The player doesn't need to attack and defeat every single animal on his way (although this is often very helpful and sometimes necessary). Moreover some animals are player's friends and can help him by allowing transport, trading an item with him or just pointing him into the right direction. Friends include: a seahorse in ENA I, a seal in LONA, a camel and turtle in KADMAR I and most villagers in TUNGA I.
There are two possible difficulty levels. On easy the player gets hints (mostly signboards) suggesting the usage of a certain tool. He can also collect each question mark twice. On hard most hints are not present and the question marks are not doubled.
Levels and tools
Below is a list of all levels and tools found in them.
ZARIA I - First steps
Played in jungle with enemies like caterpillars, spiders, vultures and rhinos. Tools:
- Machete. Basic weapon, good on most enemies.
- Fly-swatter. Weapon effective against smaller enemies like caterpillars and spiders.
- Stick. Can be used to lever up some obstacles.
- Pickaxe. A climbing tool.
- Coconuts. They can be gathered and thrown as a weapon.
ZARIA II - Tropical heat
Roughly the same location as the previous one. New enemies include snakes, parrots and the first of the conspiratos: the crocodile. Tools:
- Machete. The same as in previous level.
- Fly-swatter. The same as in previous level.
- Coconuts. The same as in previous level.
- Watering can. Used to quickly grow helpful plants.
ENA I - Underwater expedition
Takes place underwater with Leon wearing diving mask. Enemies are various fishes, sharks and other sea animals. Tools:
- Spear gun. A ranged weapon.
- Reins. Used for horsemanship... in a way.
ENA II - The pirates' treasure
Played inside a underwater pirate ship. Enemies include some fish heads and the second conspirator: the turtle. There are no tools in this level.
LONA - The land of penguins
Played in the cold arctic region. The enemies are penguins and the third conspirator: the Yeti. Tools:
- Small snowballs. Unlimited throwing weapon. Warning: used with CTRL key!
- Big snowball. Snowball that rolls forward on the ground and deals a lot of damage. Warning: used with ALT key!
- Water bucket. Used properly can make new ice paths.
- Crampons. Used for climbing, except these have some magic properties.
SADES - Reaching the bottom
Takes place almost completely underwater. Leon acquires an oxygen cylinder which allows storing oxygen. The air runs out, but can be restored on the surface or in some underwater caves. Enemies include many different water creatures and the fourth conspirator: the octopus. Tools:
- Spear gun. Used to fight enemies.
- Oxygen cylinder. Allows for air storage. Second cylinder can be found to double the time spent in underwater.
- Anchor. Instead of a corkscrew.
- Steering wheel. Properly used opens new passages.
KADMAR I - Ancient secrets
Played in a desert, including sphinx and pyramids. Enemies include snakes, parrots, monkeys, ninja cats and the fifth conspirator: the leopard. Tools:
- Whip. Short-range weapon, but can be also used to play Indiana Jones.
- Coconuts. Throwing weapon similar to coconuts in ZARIA I and ZARIA II levels.
- Hatchet. Used to cut and trim wood.
- Roll. Simple tool. Spectacular effects.
- Turtle's shell. The owner will be happy to see it. You must gather four parts of the shell.
KADMAR II - Pitch darkness
Level taking place entirely inside a pyramid. There are no enemies, but many traps in the walls can hurt the lion or put out his light candle. Leon will die when left in darkness for a few seconds. Tools:
- Whip. More Indiana jones!
- Match. Use it to relight the candle or the darkness will engulf you.
- Chalk. May be used on a pyramid walls to mark visited places.
RAN - Two weeks in a balloon
Leon is flying in a balloon above a vulcanic region and tries to avoid the birds and geysers from damaging the balloon. The level features sixth conspirator: the vulture. There are no tools in this level.
KARA - The magic castle
Takes place in a castle with giant rats, dragons, owls and the seventh conspirator: the coyote wizard. Tools:
- Short-sword. Used for close combat.
- Magic stars. Effective ranged weapon.
- Bomb. Creates powerful explosion.
TUNGA I - Almost there
Played in a jungle village inhabited by monkeys. There are no enemies. Tools:
1. Machete. Basic weapon.
2. Blowpipe. A ranged weapon.
3. Hammer. Useless without a stake.
4. Stake. Will come in handy when you get a hammer.
5. Egg. It will make a cook very happy.
6. Nail. Give it to someone who will need it.
7. Mirror. Another great present.
8. Hop pole. Required to make a pole jump.
9. Idol's head. Can be combined with the rest of the idol.
10. Idol's body. Part of an idol. Complete idol can open a secret passage.
TUNGA II - Final battle.
Played in jungle similar to TUNGA I, but with enemies like snakes, panther, vultures and the eight and final conspirator: the monkey. Tools are the same as in TUNGA I level.