Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat

6_1Skip this rat.

Your role in Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat is that of Morgan Bernhardt, mercenary soldier, as he fights a bloody war on 3D real-time tactical battlefields. The strategic 3D control of the game was nothing short of novel, but it’s far from perfect. While you’ll have control of the occasional individual soldier or wizard, almost all of your troops are regiments. Setting up these regiments isn’t a problem – the trouble actually begins once you start fighting.

It’s extremely difficult to execute the regimental-level maneuvers necessary to properly play the game. For instance, if you want to swing your regiment around to face an enemy attack from the rear, you attempt to quickly do the following: select the unit by either clicking on its standard on the battle map (this works most, but not all of the time) or cycling through the regiment selection buttons, click on the move button, click on the wheel button, then return to the battle map and click on it in the direction that you want your unit to face. By the time you’ve done all this, you’re hoping that the enemy is still somewhere in the general area of where you saw them last.

5_1Once you engage the enemy in open combat, you’re pretty much reduced to the role of spectator. The only tactical decision you’re allowed to make is to declare a rout, which is a short way of saying “run away and regroup.” Otherwise, you have no control over your units – that is, unless you decide to use the “hero” button. By clicking on this repeatedly, you supposedly inspire your troops to greater heights of valor. A cynic would say the designers put this in to keep you from becoming too bored during a battle.

The biggest mistake with Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat was deciding to place it in the realm of real-time action. If Mindscape had designed it as a turn-based wargame (and had done some drastic surgery on the cumbersome interface), they might have had a pretty good game on their hands.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win3.1

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