Warlords: Battlecry II

Tired of the same RTS fantasy clones?

Then you’re in luck. What differentiates Warlords Battlecry II from the horde are its scope and depth, having that same sort of magic that made the first entry of Warlord’s real-time foray so enticing. Granted, WBC2 doesn’t fix what isn’t broke. It just adds more races, hero classes, buildings, options, and units — throwing tons of creativity into the upgrade.

You don’t just have two or three races – you have 12 (up three from the original game), each with well-balanced and engaging characteristics. The Dark Elves, for instance, have a Queen Spider unit that automatically lays eggs in a unit it kills, producing four new Spiders. Freedom is king as usual,  with your heroes having a choice of 20 professions, each with advantages and drawbacks. Since you can carry a hero through individual skirmishes and also through WBC2’s campaign, gaining levels at the end of battles, each hero becomes distinct and personalized.


The campaign map of Erethia.

One new feature is a standout, though – a non-linear campaign, set on a map of 67 provinces split up among the 12 races. Subjugating a specific province brings unique benefits: by destroying the Barbarian resistance in Toragnar, for example, all your troops get a permanent +1 Morale in future campaign scenarios, plus an immediate tribute and a yearly income. One of the neatest strategic benefits comes from conquering the home province of another race — doing so lets you produce units belonging to that race, a feature that hasn’t been seen in an SSG product since the original Warlords game.

Of course, other heroes aren’t sitting quietly in their castles sipping tea while you overrun the countryside. Each race has ambitions of conquest, and they’ll vanquish one another, slowly gathering territorial benefits — and they’ll attempt to reconquer the provinces you’ve overwhelmed, forcing you to fight to hold what you’ve gained. In all, the second game in the line of real-time Warlords is a definitive hard-hitter.

System Requirements: Pentium 233 MHz, 64 MB RAM, Windows 95

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