Invictus: In the Shadow of Olympus
Poseidon, the god of the ocean, has grown angry towards all of humanity. Showing the same restraint that most greek gods are famous for, he’s cast a great flood of water across the earth to destroy humankind, a great deluge from the sea.
Naturally, humanity is kinda bitter about that.
It all started at the dawn of time, as the world was still emerging from the muck of creation. Human beings were on the upswing, what with heroes arising from the populace to defend the innocent from the evils of the world. In the story of, these heroes have begun to gain power that challenges the might of the gods, impressing some and grievously angering others.
This notion is what angered Poseidon, who saw humans as being nothing before the power of the gods. For Poseidon to have his strength threatened by these pitiful creatures was a great insult, one that deserves his wrath. To this end, he planned to destroy our entire race, and would have, were it not for the goddess Athena. In a feat of brilliance and compassion, she posed a contest. Athena and Poseidon would create armies, and whomever’s army was able to destroy the other would claim victory, and decide humanity’s fate. Poseidon, in all his arrogance, believe that this would be a simple matter, and agreed without hesitation.
With the first part of her plan in motion, Athena set about working on the second part. Now all she has to do is find the right mortal heroes…
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Invictus plays like a dumbed down Real Time Strategy. When you’re starting the game, you’re provided with your choice of heroes, of which you can take between one and four depending on mission. Supporting them is a paltry number of troops, from Archers to Cavalrymen, who can receive upgraded weaponry and armor throughout the game. Plus, each of your heroes receive ‘god’ points, which can be used for fanciful special abilities, like Perseus’s helm of invisibility, granted to him by Athena.
Beyond the addition of god points and... well, god points, Invictus plays like Age of Empires with more combat and less building. Well, actually, less of everything. The only attractive feature of this gameplay is that the units you control have a fair amount of upgradability, leading to having some interesting battles and a need for good strategy.
However, this can’t save the game from a frustrating interface, a non-zoomable overhead view, and NPCs who’d rather babble on about tra-la-la and la-dee-dee than actually give you useful information. Considering that most of the missions in the game aren’t connected in any way and that they require you to lose at least once, I was rather disappointed.
Invictus: In the Shadow of Olympus should have been designed by school children, because it seems like some of them understand anti-aliasing better than Quicksilver, the developers of Invictus. They have taken pains to make each unit detailed and unique, rather than a copy of one base model. However, each and every unit, building, and graphical detail has jagged, aliased edges which will sicken one’s eye.
Minimum: P266mhz, Win95/98, 64MB RAM, 300MB HD Space, 4x CD-ROM, DirectX Video and Sound.
Reviewed On: AMD K6/2 400mhz, Win98, 64MB RAM, 4GB HD, Diamond Viper V700U, Creative Labs Soundblaster AWE 64, and 24x CD-ROM.
Invictus is better used lining a garbage bin than your computer desk and certainly more attractive doing it. As a fan of mythology, I had hoped to see a fair amount of treatment of mythological heroes, delving into their deep, passionate, and often tempestuous pasts. Instead, I’ve been delivered a poorly designed, poorly programmed game that uses Greek heroes to provide a gimmick to an otherwise worthless game.