Excellent review of an underwhelming game; I really enjoyed this one, thanks.
As you mention in the podcast, Thalion emerged from the demo scene, and unfortunately this release demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses you might expect given their origins. While the artwork and special effects are enchanting - spectacular even - the game-play falls flat.
Lionheart desperately wants to be Rastan, only with a He-Man/Lion-O amalgam as the protagonist. Its Achilles heel, however, is Valdyn, in that he's totally ineffectual as a warrior we could believe capable of vanquishing the dastardly Norka who is intent on enslaving the Cat People.
Half the critters he faces attack at ankle-biting level so naturally your instinct is to use Valdyn's leg sweep manoeuvre to dispatch them. Sadly it's more of a fairy love tickle than the fierce, jabbing strike you'd expect; it's so unresponsive you can lose several hit points in between launching it and landing a blow. Being thwarted by inch-tall bugs is so demoralising.
The same goes for the sword; it's pathetically minuscule so you have to be nose to nose with an enemy before you can take a shot, making you unnecessarily vulnerable to attack.
Actually the whole control mechanism is clumsy and frustrating. The 'hold the fire button down and point in a direction' technique simply doesn't translate well to a rapid-fire platformer, given that it seriously restricts your ability to react quickly enough to take evasive action, or launch surprise attacks. In the same vein, some of the platforms are so puny, precision jumping is required to make any progress, only you end up over or under-shooting them because Valdyn is such a blundering oaf.
I can't help ruminating that if Rastan had been ported to the Amiga, this game wouldn't exist. What I'd love to see is a mash-up of the two; take Rastan's weaponry and control system, throw them in a bubbling cauldron, stir in Lionheart's mesmerising graphics and atmosphere, leave to simmer, then serve piping hot with a side serving of Thundercats folklore.