Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
Bullfrog's Dungeon Keeper 2 set a new standard in strategy gaming. Although it offered excellent graphics and gameplay, the greatest satisfaction came from the manipulation element. It was the knowing, or rather hoping, that would-be heroes in your dungeon would react to the obstacles you had deliberately set up for them that provided the sort of fun Cyberlore Studios is hoping to recreate with Majesty.
Cyberlore has a good pedigree, having coded expansion packs for Warcraft 2: Beyond the Dark Portal and Heroes of M&M, and they're hoping for another smash with a game that promises to give you a similar sense of control to the fabulous DKII.
Proclaiming itself as a 'fantasy kingdom sim', the game instates you as monarch of a small society, in which the decisions you make affect your subjects and realm. It's up to you to build the sort of city that will entice the greatest heroes of the land, who each possess individual character traits. There will be 18 different hero classes, including Warriors, Rangers and Wizards, and all of these will be able to gain experience from relevant acts. Once they've arrived, it's up to you to provide the resources and the entertainment to keep them there. Guilds, shops, libraries, taverns and markets will have to be put in place, to stop the visitors from getting disillusioned and wandering off to ply their trade in another town.
Resource management will also play a major role in the game. Town building isn't cheap and must be funded through a taxation system. And, when your domain starts to expand beyond the boundaries of your kingdom, you'll have to go looking for other places in which to build. This is the reason why your town needs to be so welcoming to heroes - without plenty of these you're not going to have much joy expanding.
Although Majesty doesn't allow direct control of NPCs, you can use other methods to get your own way. If new regions are needed in order to expand your city, but happen to be infested by evil creatures, rewards can be offered to any adventurer(s) brave enough to attempt purging the land of their presence. Likewise, this can be done to eliminate any enemies you may have made along the way, or have just taken a general disliking to.
In all, Majesty will feature 32 different nasties, ranging from the meek to the type which stimulates loss of bladder control. Because you can't fight these directly, you have to make sure your town is strong enough to withstand any onslaught. Build barricades and any passing heroes will man them and repel the evil forces. Alternatively, you can cast magic - the only way you directly influence proceedings - and save your skin the beardy-weirdy way.
The game features three modes of play: freestyle, Epic Quests and head-to-head multiplayer. The first allows customisation of game parameters, such as enemy strength and terrain type, with play continuing until the given quest is completed. Epic Quests will feature a succession of 29 challenges, where completion of one will lead onto the next. Multiplayer mode will provide the option of head-to-head or alliance play between two or more players. Majesty has the potential to appeal to lovers of Dungeon Keeper and no doubt to Civilization fans as well.
The broad scope allowed by both the real-time strategy and role-playing elements will give it a large potential audience. If it succeeds in melding the two genres successfully, it could be in for a long and happy reign.
Download Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP