Warlords III: Darklords Rising
Warlords III: Darklords Rising is the fourth installment in the classic Warlords series that has captivated gamers for many years. In this latest offering, Red Orb Entertainment has expanded on the success of Warlords III: Reign of Heroes by adding new heroes, new units, new maps, a new AI, and, most significantly, a game and scenario editor that allows you to build scenarios and link them together to create campaigns. Despite the title, Warlords III, this truly is a stand-alone game that almost deserves to be Warlords IV.
In the Darklords Rising campaign, you are given the option of playing either the forces of good, or the forces of evil and your ultimate goal is to defeat the opposing forces. As the campaign progresses your heroes will follow you from scenario to scenario, keeping experience and items they gained in all previous scenarios. The enemies also become stronger from scenario to scenario and you will find some of the same enemy heroes coming back at you, only stronger.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The game begins with you, the commander, controlling a single city, a single hero, and several units. The basic premise of the game is that you use your hero and armies to capture new cities. The cities are used to build new units and provide you a steady income. When you acquire enough gold, more heroes will flock to your banner, bringing with them new allies.
At some point you will need to confront the enemy that has also been building up. Combat in Warlords is extremely simple. Units are placed in stacks, so that multiple units can move together and fight together. A stack can attack an enemy stack or city by moving to the enemy. The game then switches to a combat screen and the combat occurs. Combat in Warlords is based on equations that include the unit’s strength, location, and a number of other variables. During combat, the game takes the first two units in the stack and determines a winner, there is no need for the user to intervene although some options, such as surrender, are available during combat.
Warlords III: Darklords Rising uses the same interface as the previous Warlords releases. It is a simple point and click interface that is extremely easy to learn and use. Most actions that an army or hero needs to perform are accomplished simply by moving the cursor over the appropriate location and clicking. The game determines what needs to be done and handles the rest. There are also a small number of icons on the screen that provide easy access to all commands available to you. All the Warlords games are turn based strategy, so there isn’t the pressure to handle all commands quickly, making it possible to sit back an consider each action carefully.
The feature I found most impressive about this newest release was the improved AI. In all previous Warlords titles I have found the AI to be slightly lacking. Some of the same tactics that worked in the initial Warlords were also very successful in Warlords III: Reign of Heroes. That was not the case in Darlords Rising. I found the AI to be incredibly challenging, it is perhaps the best AI I have found in a simulation game.
For anyone that has seen Warlords III: Reign of Heroes, the graphics in this new offering are almost identical. For those of you that are new to Warlords, that translates to good, but not groundbreaking. All games in the series provide a single overhead view of the world you are attempting to conquer. The images are clear and easily distinguishable, but they are simple 2D sprites with limited animation
The sound effects in most games of this type become annoying background noise fairly quickly and this one is no exception. For real-time simulation game, the sound effects are often the only way you can tell something important is happening, in a turn-based strategy this is not the case. There is no need for the sounds and not enough variety to keep them interesting. After only a few minutes I found myself turning off the sounds and turning up the radio.
Red Orb has done an excellent job of keeping the system requirements targeted at the lower end machines. All that is required is a Pentium 75 with 16 MB of RAM. The game takes a minimum of 80MB hard disk space and a 4X CDROM drive.
This game is a worthy successor in the Warlords series. The updated AI and the addition of a scenario and campaign editor also make it a reasonable upgrade from Warlords III: Reign of Heroes. I recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed any of the previous Warlords titles. For those new to the Warlords series, the turn-based play could be a problem, especially for those who really enjoy the real time simulations like Total Annihilation or Age of Empires.
Download Warlords III: Darklords Rising
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP