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Review by: Josh Horowitz
Published: April 17, 2002
There’s something about the Middle Ages that seems to be the perfect backdrop for computer games. Perhaps it’s the heavily armored and beweaponed knights on majestic steeds clashing against their foul enemies. Maybe the wonder of magicians and sorcerers conjuring up the unknown has appeal. Or possibly gamers just like disease-laden, dirty peasants who build huge fortresses for their demanding lords. Whatever the reason, we see many titles, specifically real-time strategy (RTS) titles, that in one form or another use a spin-off of the tried and true medieval “build-huge-armies-to-raze-cities” model. The latest developer to approach this genre is the newcomer Black Cactus from England, who presents Warrior Kings, a 3D RTS following an epic story containing real-world history mixed with fantasy and mythology. With their offering, Black Cactus allows players to step into the armored saddle of a cunning warrior as he guides his troops to victory.
Warrior Kings takes place in the fictional realm of Orbis, a large continent that resembles medieval Europe. In the “Empire of the One God,” a region controlled by secular and religious factions, lives the aristocratic House Cravant, led by Baron Amalric and his son Artos. One day, the corrupt bishop Lothar, under orders from the power-hungry Supreme Patriarch, arrives at the city of Cravant with hundreds of troops, executes Baron Almalric for “heresy,” and orders the city razed to the ground. Young Artos, with few forces of his own, flees to the north and arrives by sea to Angland, hoping to establish a foothold there and eventually return to the mainland to exact revenge for his father’s death. Along the way, Artos must choose between different spiritual and technological paths to defeat barbarian and demonic forces, bring order to the land, and return triumphant.
Artos’ quest will lead him from frost-covered island nations in the north to desert regions in the south. Along the way, he has several opportunities to embrace three different cultural paths: following the Pagans with their maypoles and magic, the Imperials with their cathedrals and faith, or the Renaissance Technologists who employ power siege weapons and the mysterious “black powder.” With impressive forces in tow, it’s up to the player to avenge Artos’ father’s death, defeat the Imperial armies led by the awesome warrior Karlem Agnus, and eventually conquer the realm as a true Warrior King.
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