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Review by: Jim Richmond
Published: May 28, 2004
At the dawn of mainstream computer gaming, the turn-based strategy title, Warlords, hit the scene and created a hardcore following. Almost a decade later, Warlords: Battlecry moved the renowned series into real-time. Recently, developer Infinite Interactive released the second sequel, Warlords: Battlecry III. Let’s open it up and see what’s inside.
Battlecry III weaves the tale of a world standing on the edge of an apocalypse. Selentine Merchants, curious about the wealth that lies outside their trading routes, ventured into uncharted sections of the Etherian globe and stumbled into a land flowing with gold and silver. A snakelike race called the Ssrathi inhabits this unknown territory, but the reptilian culture is thought to be primitive, and they’re slaughtered for the riches they possess. News of the Ssrathi homeland spread quickly, and soon, everyone with a sense of adventure and a boat headed off to make their fortune. The Ssrathi are not, however, as backward as greedy merchants and mercenaries led themselves to believe. Instead, these snake men were strong in ancient magical knowledge, and in fact the Ssrathi Shaman-King was so mighty in the dark arts that other gods were fearful of his power. The war that followed would change Etheria forever.
In Battlecry III, you take on the Ssrathi as any of the game’s 15 races or repel the waves of invaders as the Ssrathi themselves. Each race has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages that requires you to take a different tack with each one. For instance, Barbarians don’t have a lot of unit types, but they’re highly upgradeable and very skilled in combat. Orcs have a wide variety of unit types that are fast to produce, but they don’t have many upgrades, so they fare better early on in a game. The Swarm have weak, but easy to produce, horde units backed up by stronger Scorpion Men and Scorpion Priests. Finally, Wood Elves don’t fare well in melee combat, but make up the gap with superlative scouting abilities and the best archers around. On the opposite side of the conflict, the Ssrathi race train dinosaurs to do their bidding and maintain a Sun Temple near their city core that can blanket the ground around it with devastating fire spells.
At the head of each army is a hero. Unlike many real-time strategy offerings on the market, these heroes are upgradeable units that level up with combat experience and can carry magical treasure located in chests. Upon gaining a new level, attribute points may be assigned to Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity and Charisma. Additionally, heroes gain points that apply to race and occupational skill sets. Skills are broken into categories like morale, leadership, combat and different branches of magic.
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