This is the first web-based flash-based Fantasy Game that I have ever played. What caught my eye, was the idea of fielding an Army of Dragons - and suspected that this would be the ideal Strategy Game to fulfil this desire! I donned my Dragon Scales, and marched to War:
What I found surprised me somewhat! The veteran of many a strategy game, I was used to building structures (such as Castles and Barracks) whenever I wanted to. Yet, this game twists that all around - for you can only build one structure at a time ... At first, this caused me little concern - for I approached the game in the same way that I would other strategy games: resources first. Thus, did I set about building Farms (for Food), Lumber-mills (for Wood), Mines (for Metal) and Quarries (for Stone). Now, as I had expected - the level of my Stronghold-Castle (here a Fortress) constrained the amount of these that I could build (e.g. each upgrade to my Fortress allowed me to have three more resource buildings). Yet, it was when I was upgrading my Fortress, together with my resource buildings - that I noticed that the build-upgrade times were increasing! At first, it took 15 seconds to build a Farm - which soon increased to several minutes (e.g. it's 14 minutes 21 seconds for a level 7 Farm). Now, that may not seem too bad ... But, when you consider that a level 2 Fortress takes 9 minutes 35 seconds, with a level 8 Fortress taking 1 day 5 hours 5 minutes 20 seconds, then you realise that the limit of building one structure at a time - can quickly become a hindrance! Of course, there's ways to eliminate this - for example, by building structures overnight-over-weekend, or by acquiring speed-ups (which shorten your build times). I found it amusing that the game gives you a taster of speed-ups, then wants you to purchase Rubies to buy them (in the future). Despite this, I persevered, and was soon starting to feel that I had a good level of resources for my First City. Thus, did I go about wanting to build Troops to defend it! It was here that I discovered that these to, have various requirements (as I had expected). I tasked myself with wanting to build Dragons - specifically Swift Strike Dragons, Battle Dragons and (my first) Great Dragon. Whilst these troops require resources (such as Food, Metal and Lumber) - they also require specific buildings (such as the Dragon Rookery, Dragon Keep, Garrison and Metalsmith) together with specific research (such as Dragonry and Rapid Deployment). It was here that this game started to be become much more exciting! I quickly set about building the various structures, and completing the necessary research (within the Science Centre) with one goal in mind: to build my troops as quickly as possible. I liked the fact that there was a hierarchy here - I had to build Halberdsman (requiring Metallurgy research), Minotaurs (requiring a level 3 Garrison) and Longbowman (requiring Weapons Calibrator research) BEFORE I had any hope of building Swift Strike Dragons, let alone Battle Dragons! As each of these tasks (aka Quests) was completed, it was satisfying to see that you earn rewards (such as ten thousand Gold Coins, and-or five thousand Food). All of this started to fuel my desire to build Battle Dragons (which feature even higher requirements - such as a level 7 Garrison). Whilst all of this is going on, it's very easy to overlook one simple fact: that your First City shall only be protected (from attack) for the first week. I don't think that a weeks grace is enough. There's so much you have to do within this week, that the time seems to fly by - especially when you task yourself with upgrading your City's Wall, hatching your baby Dragon's Egg, carrying out higher level research and training 300 Battle Dragons. There's also the Art of Spying to learn, which allows you to Spy on enemies - both human and AI controlled Anthropus Camps (which when captured, increase your production rates-resources). To help you with all of this, the game features a Quests Plane - which I feel provides a useful task list of what to build (or do) especially in the Newbie (aka early) stages of the game. Overall (so far): I think that this game shows the potential to warm-up to become one of my favourite (online) strategy games. Even so, I feel that there's room for improvement. Apart from giving Newbies' more time (perhaps two weeks of protection), there's one area that I found confusing - the Forge. I found the layout of it's controls confusing (at first), as the ability to Forge and Adventure were greyed out. As such, I decided to ignore them, and concentrated on building up my City and it's Troops. I also found it quite common to run out of resources (in the early stages), and I became frustrated by time (an on-going concern). All of this is why, I have decided to grade this game four stars at present (as there's so much more - within the game to explore).
It's been quite some time since I last walked the Lands of Lore and the Thrones of Chaos. Yet, all of that changed this week (with the help of DOSBox 0.72 and a hunt for my old 3.5 inch floppy discs!). I donned the boots of Conrad, and headed off for a trip down memory lane - to assist King Richard:
To be honest, I had expected the game to seem somewhat dated. The graphics are not in the same league as today's games, the 3d world is essentially tile based (where you move around using cursor keys), and ... You know what, I just don't give a dam! The storyline is amazing!! I found myself thinking about Quests and Adventures that seem as real now, as they did back then. Within the Draracle Caves, I was soon asking myself a question: what was the gift that the Draracle wanted? With some head scratching, I knew it when I saw it - a golden knife with red jewels in it. Then did the Draracle give me some riddles for an Elixir - that will save King Richard (albeit much later in the game). Still, I'm getting ahead of myself ... I love the fact that everything seems to fall into place in this game. When your Quest starts, you receive a Magic Atlas (which you need - as it's easy to get lost within the mazes of each location/level). Then do you receive a Compass (which you use with your Magic Atlas). Then do your receive a Spell Book (which holds your various magical spells - such as Spark, Heal, Freeze, Fireball and Lightening). Then do you receive a Lantern (when you first visit the Caves - which with enough Oil, helps Lighten the Dark). Your an adventurer (either Ak'Shel, Kieran, Micheal or Conrad) who has companions along the way (such as Timothy, Baccata and Lora). Prepare to have both your combat and magical skills tested - whilst at the same time, having a really good work out for your memory! It's easy to forget where you are in the mazes of these Lands ... Now, even though this game is (at least) two decades old - it does one thing that many modern games don't seem to do: it has the ability to make you laugh! For me, this always occurs in two places: the pits you find in various Mines and the sink holes (in the Gorkha Swamp). In both cases, it always goes something like this for me: fwd, fwd, left, left, fwd, fwd, left, AUGH! I've fallen down a hole! AUGH! Laugh, Laugh, Laugh. Then just for fun, I do it again! (Not quite so funny now!). Laugh, Laugh. As I say, this game's storyline pulls you in - especially when you feel like you've achieved something. It's great fun when you fix the Water Pump within the Urbish Mines (so that's what the lumps of coal and the gear/cog are for!). Although, the Urbish Mines themselves is a place that I've always found testing (both the getting lost, and those Avian Worms!). There's plenty of other challenges to - such as Scotia's Barrier(s)! These caused me nothing but grief a few years back, but this time - I remembered Vaelan's Cube! This game has more monsters/mythical creatures than you can shake a stick at. Some of my favourites are: Bandits, Cave Dwellers, Gimlets, Gorkha, Giant Lizards, Orcs and Great Orcs - as once you have some decent weapons (such as Great Swords and Great Axes), then these tend to die fairly easily in hand-to-hand combat. Some of my least favourite monsters/mythical creatures are: the Larkhon (a big worm - throw your sword at it), Magic Mirrors (walking jelly fish - they don't like Lightening), Rocklings (made of rock - dam, you blunted my sword!) and Wraiths (run, no really - run!). Overall: this is an amazing adventure/role playing game whose storyline seems to have stood the test of time. I'm amazed that it's challenges seem just as hard now, as they did back in the day (when I first got those 3.5 inch floppy discs home!). This may not be a game that you want to play full-screen now, but it can certainly play/run perfectly well in a window on your desktop (even perhaps whilst your doing other things!). One question I found myself asking was: where am I? I seem to be lost in these Urbish Mines! Let alone being lost in the White Tower ... Finally: it's been sometime since I've seen Scotia, but I do remember Dawn - was that a Cuckoo? Tip: for DOSBox 0.72, I used mount c c: (slash) OLDGAMES (slash) westwood (slash) lands, c:, lands. If you don't fancy that, then there's a newer version (see relevant link below).
When it comes to a Computer Game that blends a Haunted House, with a Spooky Storyline and numerous Puzzles (to challenge your mind), then I'd be hard pressed to name one better than this:
Lady in White - She faded away from me ... I like the fact that this is a game that's played best in the evening, as this is when it spooks you the most. Lady in White - She faded towards me ... I like the graphics found within this game, especially the Twisting Staircase that leads to the first floor of the Mansion. Lady in White - She passed between two doors ... I like the contrast in difficulty between the Puzzles in this game: some are simple (such as the Word Games), whilst others may cause you to tear your hair out (such as the Chess Games). Lady in White - Just where do you lead me? To the Crypt, I see ... The first puzzle left me hungry for more: two Skulls, two Tombstones, the rest is just Icing. The second puzzle came with a phobia at hand: eight points in a Star, seven Spiders to move. The third puzzle with an Eye to the Sky: the rivers of Mars - what phrase do you Spell? Shy Gypsy Slyly Spryly Tryst By My Crypt. What logic is that? The Sky is Ruddy Your Fate is Bloody! What riddle is that? My first real challenge came with the Maze in the basement - as I kept getting lost. It was only the Twisting Staircase that revealed the turns to make - a room upstairs with a map to the Maze: take the fifth on the right, then straight on, then turn to the right, ... Yet before, a Puzzle with a Grate, a simple solution did it seem, yet on my next turn, did I forget! When I first played this game (twenty-or-so years ago), I found myself amused by the icons/cursors: a throbbing Brain in a Skull (there's a Puzzle to be solved), Chattering Teeth (there's a Spooky Scene to view, such as plates and cutlery, that dance by themselves) and a Skeletal Hand (which both shows you the way, and bars your way). When I last played this game (earlier this week), I found myself jumping-for-joy: as I'd finally nailed the Piano Puzzle! It's with my new found Love of Music (including the learning of my Piano Notes/Chords over the past couple of years), that allowed me to breeze through the puzzle: B, B-Sharp, E-Flat, F ... Speaking of Pianos, there's two Spooky Scenes to watch (via the Drama Icon): a Skeleton that plays the Piano by itself (I just love that one!) and two hands by themselves, that play the Piano (I'd just faint at that one!). What's the hardest Puzzle in the game? I hear you say ... Well, for me, there's two (at least in the early/middle stages): one is Chess based and the other is Frustration based! After conquering the first Chess game (where you have to place eight Queens on a Chess Board), I encountered Bishop Chess: swap the position of four Black/White Bishops. Seems simple enough ... Hours later though - whilst I'd found a way to swap the middle pieces (fairly easily), the corner pieces caused me grief (what planet is this Puzzle from?!?). After conquering that (with some Magic in the middle), I then found out just how a virus multiples! Yes Gentle Reader - it's the Microscope Puzzle! This Puzzle tested my patience twenty years ago. This Puzzle tested my patience last weekend. This Puzzle tested my patience this week! Now I have a headache and I feel like I've caught the flu! Anyway ... I think I shall Flip a Coin and Turn some Cards! Ah, that's better - both solved (even with some head scratching). Now, one of my favourite (graphical) locations has to be the Altar/Chapel: as the room is decorated with the Swords and Shields of many a Knight (in Shining Armour). The puzzle itself? Mind your step - as every third step should be on Purple. You did get this far didn't you? Still stuck on the first Chess Puzzle? Here's a hint (assuming each row/column is labelled A to H from bottom-left), stick a Queen in (row-column): AB, BD, CF, DH, EC, FA, shhhhh - quite, that would be telling! Now, I found myself shivering at several Spooky Scenes within this game: hands that push out from a painting, soup that shapes itself into a face, and a mirror that shows a Lady in Green more than she bargained for (when she wishes to be young again). I also found several comical/defying reality Secret Passages, which both helped to save travel time, and add to it: there's one from the Library (the Fireplace) and there's one in the Games Room (the Billiards Table), but perhaps the oddest - is the one that's located on the Shelf! What room scared you the most? The Children's Nursery/Doll Room, especially when the Dolls Shadows danced! What about the control system? It's quite simple - just point and click with the mouse, although you need to be careful when clicking in puzzles (as too far to the left/right/bottom and you abort/restart the puzzle!). I also like the out-of-game controls: as there's an Egyptian Sphinx, which allows you to save your game and view which rooms you've solved puzzles in (via a coloured map) - all rendered as though it's on some Ancient Egyptian Papyrus (that also features two Egyptian Pyramids). Overall: I'm quite a fan of the Mansion that Henry Stauf built - as both the Mansion, and the Games/Puzzles, have been entertaining for over twenty years. Yes, some of the graphics may seem a little dated (by today's standards), but they don't seem to affect the quality of game play (at all). I still enjoy playing the puzzles (they are a good workout for my mind), and I still have several puzzles to solve (can you guess which ones?). At the very least, I have several dates with the Microscope over the next month or so (I will solve it!). The game is something of a masterpiece - as the Music, Puzzles, Ghosts and Video all combine to convey a decent storyline. It's not a fast game, and if you don't like puzzles, then it won't be for you. But, if you do like puzzles ... You do don't you? Then what are you waiting for? Afraid that the game won't run under Windows 7/8.1 64-bit? Well - it can! I used DOSBox. For example: mount c c: (slash) OLDGAMES, mount d d: (slash) -t cdrom ioctl, d: (after install - c: then cd t7g), t7g. If you don't fancy that, then there's a newer version (see relevant link below). Just one question remains - do you have a date with the Microscope to?
When it comes to a Role Playing Game (RPG) that allows me to masquerade as a modern Vampire, you might just-be-able to get me to admit (with the twist of an arm), that this is indeed my favourite:
I like the fact that this game starts with the asking of a question that's on the mind of many a Vampire fan: What race of Vampire would you like to be? Whilst there is the option of answering some personality-style questions (to determine the answer), I decided to choose my characters Vampire race directly: Clan Brujah - as I liked the idea of my character being a rebel, who specialised in hand-to-hand combat, and who had some residual traits (from his human days), as a Special Forces operative! When it came to allocating my Vampires initial skills/abilities (upon the Character Sheet), I managed to get confused - as I failed to realise that I had to click the black dots/circles (to advance that particular skill/attribute to the next level). I then made another mistake - as I'd managed to select Skip Intro (which left me wondering how-on-earth my character had become a Vampire in the first place). Any way, once I made it through to the game play, I found myself getting lost again! So lost in fact, that I took a break from the game (for around six months), and it was only my desire to conquer it (that made me play it again). I am now so glad that I did, as I have experienced one of the best Quests (in a game) that I have ever played/seen: the Ocean House Hotel - which is in fact haunted! So haunted, that I found myself jumping out of my skin when: various objects were thrown at me, several doors opened by themselves and a Lady in White simply ran out in-front of my Vampire (which really made me jump!). There were also some spooky voices, and creepy Piano music, both of which, helped suggest the idea of a Poltergeist (and the thought that I wanted to play this Quest/Level several times). Unfortunately, my love of this level is matched equally by two control issues that I really don't like! The first: The elevator within Club Asylum - which has often made me feel like crying. How many times have I selected floor two only to have it open the elevator at floor one? No, no, no! The second: The constant flick between first and third person cameras. I usually play the game in third, then suddenly realise it's in first (changed by the game), then I'm having to press keyboard Z (to get back to third), then I'm having to press Z again (because I need to shoot). The camera controls in other games, just don't seem to be as annoying (as they are in this one). Despite this, the game goes a long way to making up with the way that it handles character conversations: the character (your chatting with) is usually centred on the screen, providing you with various numeric key-press options (to select your desired question/response). I like the fact that the game allows me to turn subtitles on (no more wondering what a particular character said) and that you can select/use certain seductive lines (assuming you have a high enough seduction skill/attribute). My favourite character conversations have to revolve around the two feuding sisters: Therese and Jeanette. With Jeanette being my personal favourite (as Therese tried to have my Vampire killed). Saying that, I also quite like the interactions with the character VV (as she makes me laugh!). Yet even this (conversation system) has some differences in consistency - the most noticeable being the fact that some conversations feature a high-quality (3d) character model, that's been rendered over a low-quality background texture! I have also encountered two major variations in frame-rate. The first being when my Vampire runs around outside in the rain, and the second being when my Vampire suffers a Final Death (although I suspect that both of these can be solved by dropping the particles slider-value). My second favourite Quest has to be Grout's Mansion - as it's another location that proves to be sufficiently spooky! On the Mansion side there's: Marble Floors with Grandfather Clocks, and Winding Staircases with Hidden Passages. On the game play side there's: several Puzzles (the Candlestick Holders that you have to flick in the correct order - to open Hidden Doors), numerous Ghouls (that can attack you five or six at a time - although they are also a good source of Blood) and getting lost (how many times have I seen this red/green Hall before?). Yet the Mansion does not want to let you go, as there's also: fun with electricity (until you notice the switches and learn how to crouch) and fun with fire (perhaps a Vampires worst enemy) - as you struggle to find your way out! Another part of the game that I really like is it's ability to surprise you - especially in terms of it's Characters. First: there is the Doom Sayer - a Female Fire Brandishing Zealot who appears when your taking a quick stroll down an alley in Santa Monica (not hard to kill, but try doing it without attracting the authorities!). Second: there is the Character called Chastity - a Female Vampire Hunter who caused my Vampire lots of grief (ironically, after I had spent a fair amount of time within the Character Sheet, spending Experience Points, ensuring that I had matched levels of Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Brawl and Dodge - all of which, made no difference at all, as she was still hard to kill!). Third: there is the Character called Vick - a Gun Totting Bishop who really did test my patience! The fact that my Vampire had a lower humanity level (too much feeding on passer-bys) meant that he constantly wanted to Frenzy (meaning I kept loosing control of my Vampire, whilst the Bishop Vick fired another volley!). It felt great when I finally managed to dispatch Vick (to read his own Sermon!). Overall: this is a game that has caused me to experience both amazement and frustration. The amazement stems from it's fantasy locations (some are very pretty with great story-lines), together with it's variety of supernatural beings (some have personalities that just seem to engage you). The frustration stems from certain elements of it's control system (the first/third person camera battle mixed with elevator fun), together with the feeling that I kept getting lost (where to next? - my Quest Log seems to have much more in it, than I've solved!). When the amazement and frustration are taken together - you end up with a game that has you wanting to replay certain levels, whilst Hammering a Stake into others!
When it comes to a Role Playing Game (RPG) that allows me to masquerade as a Vampire, I'd be hard-pressed to name one better than this:
I like the fact that this game starts with a twist - as it's a while before you become a Vampire! The games storyline sees you take control of the character Christof, a Medieval Holy Knight, whose been injured on the battlefield (by an enemy arrow). Almost mortally wounded, it's only with the caring of the Nun Anezka, that Christof eventually recovers. Yet in doing so, Christof falls for Anezka, and the games storyline gains an important sub-plot: a wound for which there is often no cure - the Power of Love! I like the fact that this game strives to contrast the differences between Christof as a Human, and Christof as a Vampire, yet at the same time - it also fights to highlight the similarities! Whilst Christof is still Human, you undertake a Quest within the Bonn Silver Mines - to rid them of whatever Evil lies within. It is hear that you learn the basics of control: left-click to attack an enemy, left-click plus hold to powerfully attack an enemy. It is here that I first appreciated the quality of the graphics: as various flames/torches light your way, whilst leaving the shadows to themselves. It is also here that you shall encounter your first challenges: Just how do I drain the water from the Crossing? Just how do I kill the War Ghoul? And just how do I kill the first Vampire Boss? The answer to all three is essentially the same: left-click, left-click, left-click! Yet, as Christof is a character of strong Faith, perhaps some Holy Water shall save the day? The games storyline then gains another important sub-plot: as Christof fights to retain his Soul. His Desire for Anezka places it in Peril, yet it is the attentions of a Vampire that truly tests his Character ... I was excited when Christof becomes a Vampire - as this is when the game comes truly alive! I'm also a fan of the Vampire Mythology that's found within this game. First: there is the fact that there are several races of Vampire (such as Cappadocian, Gangrel and Nosferatu - each with their own particular traits, skills and appearance). Second: there is the idea that Vampires have their own beliefs and traditions (Christof is recruited by the Philosophers of Caine - the Brujah, whose primary aim is the collection of Knowledge). Third: there is the concept of Vampire Lore (that the Brujah only take from Humans the Blood that they actually need - not a drop more). Fourth: there is the suggestion that not all Vampires are the same (that the Brujah actually see themselves as Guardians of Humanity, and as such, are less interested in the Blood Lust that's often associated with Creatures of the Night). I was impressed by the games use of animation and narration to highlight several of these ideas (especially the part where Christof views the Scrolling Tapestry). Playing as a Vampire is much more exciting than playing as a Human! There's plenty to learn (as a Vampire) - and you shall earn your Fangs (so to speak) at Petrin Hill Monastery. Lesson One: Looks can be Deceptive - as the Monastery looks all Quite and Peaceful, yet open that Wooden Door, and you shall soon have plenty of opponents to fight - as there's Vampires and Skeletons (usually armed with Swords and Arrows). Lesson Two: Vampires require Blood. When Christof (and his friend Wilhelm) become low on Blood, they shall start to Rampage (possibly even feeding off each other). To counteract this - you need to learn the Art of Feeding! There's plenty of Monks around the Monastery for you to feed on (and slaying an enemy this way does not affect your Humanity levels - which comes in handy). Lesson Three: Sometimes the ability to fight is not enough - you have to use your brain as well, together with switches and keys. Many an Evening did I fight Mercuio (the Vampire Boss of the Monastery), and many an Evening did both Christof and Wilhelm die (to his Green Gas). Yet it was, when searching around, did I find my first special weapon: a Femur (bone) that introduces Mercuio to the Grave! The games more than just about fighting though. One part I really like is managing the equipment that my Vampires wear. Once you've found enough Gold/Jewellery/Jewels, I like to equip my Vampires (via the Blacksmith) with: Studded Leather Armour, Gauntlets and a Light Helm - which helps improve their combat/defence capabilities. Another part I really like is the Character Advancement screen: with each Quest you complete, you earn Experience Points, which you spend to make your Vampires stronger. When I have enough points, I like to increase (in this order): Strength, Dexterity and Stamina (as I feel that these help to establish the central core of my Vampires abilities). When it comes to Spells and Magic, it's a must to upgrade Blood Healing (as it quickly heals your Vampires, usually for less blood), and in the case of Wilhelm, his Feral Claws (a favourite of mine - as he's often at the fore-front of an assault). I also like to equip each of my characters with: two Scrolls of Awaken (so that they may wake fallen comrades) and a Scroll of Walk the Abyss (so that a doorway can be opened between the current Quest and your safe haven - a great way to save travel time, which also allows you stock up on valuable supplies!). Overall: I have spent many an evening playing this game! I found that I became fully immersed in the storyline (especially with the twists regarding Faith, Love and Souls). Yes, there are some frustrations (such as when you accidentally tell Christof to feed off Wilhelm), but there's also a great amount of fun (such as when you destroy the rampaging Golem). I was stunned by the beauty of many scenes (especially those that reflect a decorated ceiling of a Castle/Palace unto the floor). The most draw-dropping part of the storyline (for me), was when the Time-line changed (as I wanted to remain in the Medieval), and felt totally lost (at first) running around in the Modern Age. Even so, this is still my favourite Vampire game to play!
This is the first computer game that I have played, which allows me to take control of the (totally-alien) Necrons, from the Warhammer 40,000 universe:
Necrons - the word that strikes fear into many a Space Marine Commander ... I like the fact that this game is massive - both in terms of its armies (Blood Ravens Space Marines, Word Bearer Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Imperial Guard, Orks and Tau) and in terms of its maps (Just one more hour! Just one more hour!). Necrons - their green energies ripple across the battlefield, corrupting, distorting ... I think the graphics are stunning - explosions in green, with lightening of death, and rain from above, grinding the enemy, into the ground! Necrons - the Great Sleep is over, emerge, emerge, from the Crypts of Time. I like the fact that I don't have to wait: an alien race without requisition (power instead) and a fully-featured campaign manager (where I can choose which provinces to attack, defend and/or reinforce). I love the fact that this game has two continuity features - (both of which) allow me to hit-the-floor running, when attacking/defending provinces. The first: I can earn/win units that make up an Honour Guard. These accompany my commander from mission to mission, allowing me to grab a quick foot-hold (on an enemy territory). The second: I can upgrade my commander (by equipping them with war-gear), which helps to improve their fighting capabilities. For example, in the case of the Necron Lord, he may be equipped with items (such as, but not limited to): Reinforced Body (making him harder to kill) and Skinning Blades (making him stronger during attack). Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?), delusions of grandeur are not far off: as I often like to move my Necron Lord around the battlefield, by himself, as he's powerful enough to be off having fun, by himself! My favourite tactic (when attacking with Necrons) is: to build as many Necron Warriors (including Flayed Ones) as possible, teleport my (mobile) Necron Monolith directly into the heart of an enemy city, then summon my Necron Warriors/Flayed Ones to the Monolith, then sit-back and watch the carnage be unleashed! I have found this tactic to work (pretty-much) all of the time on easy (level of difficulty), and about fifty percent of the time on normal (level of difficulty). Don't be fooled though: there's good variation of game-play/tactics (even within the campaign mode). For example: try teleporting your Monolith when your attacking the Imperial Guard Stronghold - there's only one relic (which is required for a teleporting Monolith), and its right in the heart of the Imperial Guard City (which is not going to be easy to get to!). When playing as Necrons, it's possible to exceed the squad limit (that other armies have to adhere to). You do this by using the Resurrection Orb, and grinning at the same time! I have found it hard to return to playing as Space Marines (after having played as Necrons) - because other races have to (basically) walk between locations (as opposed to the Necron Warriors/Flayed Ones, who can be summoned, to another, Necron structure). Even so, I still feel a state of panic ensuing when I encounter both a Chaos Daemon Prince and a Chaos Bloodthirster (Greater Daemon of Khorne) - as both of these units are well known for their hand-to-hand combat abilities! I admit that I have only completed the campaign on easy - which I feel was time-consuming enough (in a good way), and I can only imagine how long it would take on normal (let alone hard!). My favourite unit (for looks) within the entire game has to be to the Imperial Guard Baneblade: a massive armoured tank that (I believe) should be wielded by the Space Marines as well! Overall: This is a game that will take forever to complete (especially if you wish to complete it for all seven armies on a normal/hard difficulty setting). The game plays right into the desires of those that enjoy/lust to conquer and there's only one way to do that (in my opinion): capture every strategic point/relic on the map! This may take longer, but it will allow you to better defend your provinces, if some enemy (such as Chaos), decides to attack it (how dare they!). A very enjoyable game, that could see you disappearing for an evening/weekend (especially when it's cold and dark outside).
This is the first computer game that I have played, which features both Space Marines, and alien races (such as Orks and Chaos), from the Warhammer 40,000 universe:
The above intro/video sequence has to be one of the best that I ever seen! My favourite part is when the Blood Ravens Dreadnought engages the Orks - as the footage easily conveys the power (and vulnerability) of such military units. I like the fact that this is a (real time) strategy game, which sees you having to manage both troops and resources (such as requisition and power). At times, this management can seem overwhelming (e.g. when you have to fix-up an existing Space Marine city - as you may find yourself wondering what to upgrade first), yet for the most part, you shall soon fall into city building that works: stronghold, chapel-barracks, armoury and plasma generators (that generate power), whilst building up your army! The campaigns first chapter (Planet Fall) sees the Space Marines Commander offering advice (in a non-annoying fashion), which will help you get up to speed (although there's also a tutorial - which I never actually watched). The games controls seem to be supportive of battle, and I like the fact that I can group my combat units based upon number (e.g. ctrl plus 1, 2, 3, etc. allows me to quickly organise my forces). My favourite forces layout has to be: all of my Space Marine infantry in group one (with as many missile launchers as possible), with all of my heavy support in group two (such as two Land Raiders and five Dreadnoughts). I find that this combination works well in the heat of battle - especially when you have (approximately) thirty-two missile launchers backing up your Dreadnoughts (although the game has defeated this tactic in the past, especially on a hard difficulty setting!). Even though I prefer such a simple forces layout - it still makes sense to leave a squad behind (to guard your city, just in-case the enemy sneaks through). The game relies upon your ability to capture strategic points and relics (as these affect your requisition rate, which in-turn, affect the speed at which you can build/train). Once a point has been captured, I love to upgrade it to a heavily fortified position, and have been known to build nine bolter turrets around it! The Campaign is intermixed with video, which had me wondering about the Librarian from day one: he seems a little too keen to draw battle (for my liking). I like the fact that the game illustrates how god-like the Space Marines are - especially when compared to the (expendable) Imperial Guard (who form the core of the Imperium's armies). Overall: I find this game to be very addictive, and the amount of times I have said - just one more level, is (almost) beyond count! I think that the graphics are stunning, especially with the variety of explosions that appear (e.g. when the enemy is under extreme missile fire). I also think that the maps are suitably sized, and are also suitably detailed (e.g. with the remnants of Leman Russ battle tanks, within the ruins). This game has been known to keep me up, to all hours! Only one thing remains to be said: Walk softly and carry a big gun!