Pages: 1 2
Review by: Jim Richmond
Published: September 25, 2003
The universe has many natural opposites: Yin versus yang, synonyms versus antonyms, hot versus cold, and the even numbered Star Trek films versus the odd numbered ones. In developer Madcat’s new game Heaven & Hell, the age-old foes good and evil are pitted one against the other, and with your direction, they’re out to win the hearts of the people you lord over.
In Heaven & Hell, you play the part of either a good or evil omniscient being, and from your throne on high you use your powers to convert the inhabitants on the map. If you elect to be good then your opposition will be the evil minions of some dark abyss and if you select the path of evil, then you will be challenged by the forces of light. The ultimate goal for agents of either side is to recruit enough followers to bring about the end of the world.
The people you are trying to sway to your dogma look something like less-Norse cousins of the populace in Cultures 2. They are quiet, unassuming folks who just go about their daily business until you send someone in to show them the light (or the dark, as the case may be). In order to get them to listen to your doctrine, you select prophets to work miracles and deliver sermons to aid in the convincing of the people. Every citizen has a meter above their heads that shows where on the spectrum between glow and gloom their beliefs lie, so you can get a gauge on how much extra work you have to do. All denizens begin as neutral entities and can be persuaded to either end of the ideological spectrum through the viewing of miracles. After they are converted, further miracles done in their proximity will turn them into extremists. Extremists wear either halos or horns around their heads, and will stone opposing prophets on sight.
Miracles are produced by dipping into a pool of available mana. Actions such as casting rainbows or storms of locusts, decorative flowers or skulls, calling prophets from groups of followers, and raising entertainment facilities to fortify allegiance all dip into this account. In order to do larger and more effective things, such as bring about the end of the world, you have to restore your mana by converting disciples’ homes into mana producing buildings. The larger the multitude that believes in your name, the larger the pool of houses you can convert into mana producers. Each house can be upgraded three levels to supply mana more quickly.
Not every seer that serves your holy order wields miracles as part of their contribution to your kingdom. Good and bad deities have at their disposal special-use prophets that help ease the way toward global domination. Traders build and destroy paths that increase favor by allowing the inhabitants of the cities to travel to amusement facilities in another town. Paths also allow the trader to send caravans from a strong city to a weak city to buoy the weaker one up in times of doubt. Warriors recruit soldiers that run defense for the basic miracle-casting prophets in hostile areas and offensively take on opposing forces in a town. After opposing prophets have taken sufficient damage, they give up their ministry and change into barrel-clad hermits that can then be sent to heaven or hell to give you a quick mana boost. Troublemakers destroy paths and amusement facilities and can convert enemies immediately into hermits. Lastly, spies can camouflage themselves, steal mana, and change the loyalty of an entire city.
To direct your prophets and cast miracles of your own, you employ the “hand of power”. The hand of power is reminiscent of the pointer in Black and White and serves some of the same purposes. The heavenly team’s hand will pat individual citizens to raise their inclination towards good, while the evil side uses its red, scaly claw to slap people around, accelerating their decline into wickedness. The hand of power for both moral leanings can also be used to pick up individuals and set them down near sermons so they can be converted. Additionally by simply pointing your digit and giving the command, you can strike opposing prophets with lightning and cause earthquakes that bring down enemy buildings.
Pages: 1 2