Kingdom Under Fire
Kingdom Under Fire’s story revolves around that hoary old fantasy convention of a “once strife-torn land that had known peace but is now once again facing invasion by the forces of darkness.” If that doesn’t sound original, then the hackneyed and often just plain goofy names of many of the characters – “Moonlight,” the “Mysterious Knight”, “Rick Blood” – are enough to make you cringe.
Kingdom Under Fire tells this story in two campaigns, one each for the forces of good (Humans) and evil (Orcs). Each campaign consists of 13 missions; ten missions are WarCraft II-style real-time strategy affairs and the other three are Diablo-esque dungeon crawls. Although you will control multiple heroes in the game’s various missions, the overall campaign follows the exploits of a single hero that gains experience and abilities with every successfully completed mission.
The 2D graphics of these missions are merely average, but the gameplay is actually the greatest offender. The very aggressive units in your charge can’t be adjusted AI-wise, and your heroes die all too easily no matter how powerful they become. There’s nothing like playing through a two-hour mission only to blow the whole thing when your hero decides to wander into a horde of Orcs when you’re not looking. Worse still, you can’t see unit hit points at a glance, but have to select and read their stats manually.
The Diablo-esque dungeon crawls provide a break from the strategic gameplay by providing new frustrations of their own. The view is fixed tightly on the main hero, which can be a problem if another hero wanders off-screen. Overall, the role-playing missions play a lot like Diablo minus the fun. Their sparse look and even sparser monster populations simply lack the visceral feel of Diablo. In sum, the biggest problem with Kingdom Under Fire is that neither the real-time strategy nor role-playing parts are very good, and will likely disappoint both camps.
System Requirements: Pentium MMX 200 MHz, 64 MB RAM, Win95
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