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Review by: Keith Durocher
Published: September 11, 2003
Locked in a tomb of ice, something is stirring!
Blizzard Entertainment has long maintained an uncanny flair for legacy titles and epic tales. Many are the husks of burned out computer mice, victims of overuse at the hands of Diablo, StarCraft and, of course, WarCraft. The seemingly unending conflict between the savage, even primitive Orcs and the proud, often arrogant Humans reached its apex in last year’s awe-inspiring Reign of Chaos. That release saw the fall of many old empires and the destruction of entire cultures. Now, amidst the ashes, new ways must be forged. The Frozen Throne is the culmination of many unresolved plot threads, a real time strategy foray back into the world of WarCraft.
Frozen Throne isn’t so much a sequel as it is a logical extension of the events detailed in Reign of Chaos. By the end of that vast epic, no major race was left untouched. The Humans had seen their king’s son kill his father and proclaim himself the new ruler of Lordaeron, now a land of disease and death. The Orcs had fought their way out of slavery, and faced finding a new place in the world, unshackled by demonic influence for the first time in millennia. The High Elves were all but eradicated, and the Night Elves saw the almost total decimation of their sacred homelands.
As endings go, it wasn’t the happiest, although it did carry a kind of serenity. The beginning of Frozen Throne is a jarring reminder that closure hasn’t yet been achieved. Like its precursor, the introductory cinematic is a chilling blast of graphical prowess. Setting the tone for the entire game, the Night Elf Illidan Stormrage stands menacingly on a seaside cliff, hissing, “Sometimes the hands of fate must be forced.” With this proclamation, Frozen Throne launches into its intriguing tale.
The first campaign follows the Night Elf hero Maiev Shadowsong, who bears the dubious distinction of being Illidan’s warden from his time imprisoned within the earth. She’s on a vengeful hunt to recapture the wayward demon, and as such is the first to encounter the serpentine Naga race, awoken by Illidan to function as servants to bolster his abilities. Long-forgotten, the Naga will prove to be more than just another evil presence in the world. Through the course of events, players will find that treachery isn’t strictly the domain of the undead. The warden will stop at little to obtain her target, even to the point of lies and manipulation of her comrades. In the end, she finds herself pursuing the forsaken pseudo demon alone in the scorched lands of Draenor, the ex-home world of the Orcish hordes that Illidan has chosen to be his refuge.
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