Stronghold Legends

By Scott Parrino 13 Sep 2006 0

Introduction

Stronghold Legends is billed as the ?spiritual successor to Stronghold Crusader." The game still allows players to build castles, wage open war, and lay sieges to their various foes. In this installment, those foes are from myth and legend. Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and Vlad the Impaler are all either allies or adversaries in the fight.

Meat and Bones

The main features of Stronghold Legends are the new units and the unorthodox things they can do. The demo, available on the publisher?s web site, consists of a basic tutorial and a single player scenario pitting the player against Mordred and Vlad for control of a single objective ? a stone circle.

There are 31 unit types available, although most are unplayable in the demo. The dragon is by far the most impressive, although Vlad?s Creeper units ? a nasty werewolf-like creature that scales castle walls and turns friendly troops against the player ? is equally mean. According to the advisor, it is best to use iron against the Creepers ? something in short supply in the demo. A Creeper loose in the castle will always go after the granary, so it?s imperative to stop it immediately. One of the units available for player use is the Giant Demonic Bat - basically a bomb with bat wings. Other new units, such as giants, variant dragons, and legendary heroes like Sir Lancelot, are unavailable at this time.

Combat is simple point and click. Selected units can be given basic tactical commands (aggressive, defensive, stand ground) and formations (open, closed, line), in addition to move, attack, and patrol orders. The actual castle building is important; determining where to build certain structures and how to lay out buildings can be very important to a player?s success.

The graphics and physics seem consistent ? soldiers can destroy buildings but not castle walls. Dragons are also unable to destroy the castle walls, although they could barbeque anyone fool enough to be standing on the battlements well enough. Wells were available for putting out fires.

Summary

The demo shows a single type of scenario and a fraction of available troops, but the potential is there. The tutorial doesn?t tell players much more than how to start their castle and order soldiers around. Once in the game, the real learning begins.

The first few times the computer beat me like a rented mule, so I kept playing until I figured it out. The fact that it drew me in is a good sign, although I can?t comment on the game?s staying power without the full version. The demo just doesn?t give enough away about other types of scenarios or available units to make more intelligent comments than that. There are plenty of promising hints to the developers? final design, but nothing concrete enough to make a strong case one way or another as to the look and feel of the finished product. At first glance, it feels like a fun game with lots of promise.

About the Author

Chris Caran was born and raised in northern Virginia, moving to Raleigh, North Carolina in attempt to bankrupt himself with student loans at NC State University. His day job is writing software for a large company recently bought out by China. His dream is to eventually make enough money freelancing and publishing his own games so he can stay home.

He now lives in Apex, North Carolina with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Athena, and son Marcus. Elizabeth is a librarian for Wake County and is always bringing home nice books. When not working, gaming or parenting, Chris spends his time watching and playing ice hockey.

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