Warrior Kings

Set in a medieval fantasy world, Warrior Kings chronicles the exploits of Artos, the proverbial young prince who must conquer and reunite his father’s former kingdom. The game’s 22 levels are split between three civilization types — Pagans, Imperials, and Renaissance.

5_1Since the base “race†is human in Warrior Kings, all sides have access to balanced units of archers, spearmen, and the like with the expected overlap. The differences arise from your civilization’s alignment. If you’re the Pagans, for example, you can summon demons and sacrifice your peasants to research more powerful beings. The Renaissance civilization is technologically oriented, while the Imperials are aligned with the forces of good and can summon Acts of God through prayer.

Creating a diverse army is key. If you just pump out spearmen, for example, enemy archers will chew you to pieces. While the battles are massive (not to mention fun), controlling the action can be a royal pain. The pathfinding is complete crap, and unlike Age of Empires II, in which you could group multiple unit types into one formation that moved at the same speed, units here are grouped strictly by type. In other words, all of your spearmen move together, all of your archers move together, and so on. This setup makes fielding and manipulating a large army a nightmare of micro-management.

L8_1ike other RTS games, Warrior Kings has you collecting food, wood, and stone, but in a nice twist, you must establish supply lines and ferry resources from your outlying villages to your main manor. You also need to store enough food to feed your troops, even after they’re created. The effects of your supply line being cut can be devastating, with your forces weakened by hunger. This feature really adds depth, as disrupting enemy supply lines (while protecting your supplies) becomes a major strategic challenge.

With over 20 multiplayer maps, you’d expect more than just one game mode, the standard “destroy the enemy†battle. Also missing is a skirmish mode — a must in RTS games. Beyond the general ‘been here, done that’ vibe, there isn’t much reason to hate Warrior Kings. Once the game is up and running, it suffers from long load times. Though the animation is a tad stiff, the 3D graphics do a good job of conveying the carnage. But if you’re not sick of these sort of games, then it’s a worthy offering despite its issues.

System Requirements: Pentium III 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM, Win98

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