Warlords 3: Reign of Heroes
Argh! You Know How it is when you become hopelessly addicted to a new game - the dirty washing begins to pile up, you surround yourself with smeg-encrusted dinner plates (not to mention the house collection of coffee mugs), the bills go unpaid and your wife and children leave because you've stopped talking to them. Okay then, maybe not the last one (not in my case, anyway), but the rest are definitely applicable to the time I spent reviewing Warlords III - a game that could easily be dismissed (pre-judged even) as another one of those bleedin' 'no frills' hex-based fighting fantasy strategy games with titchy graphics and a high degree of unoriginality. However, those who've taken the time to explore further into the highly organised workings of the game itself, will know that this definitely isn't the case.
Don't turn the page
Top-down, turn-based, wizards, goblins, elves... most people would have turned the page by now, but after seeing the 90 per cent score, you no doubt want to know what the hell this is all about.
Well the aim of Warlords III is simple: build up an army of thugs, mercenaries, mutants and rednecks, destroy the opposition and assimilate their resources as your own. Easy. This game is stat-heavy to say the least, with lots of combat, spellcasting, dabbling with magical items, and looking up maiden's gowns. (Ooh cr - Ed)
The beauty of Warlords III is that it's such an easy game to get into. Absolutely everything, right from the brilliantly structured Report Menu (which details every single detail of the current state of play), to the hyper-fast load/save facility has been created with the gamer firmly in mind.
The interface is a breeze to get used to (holding down the right mouse button on any object reveals more), there's an excellent tutorial, and in no time at all you've got thousands of armies yomping about a D&D-style landscape hacking each other to bits with magical swords. Up to eight players can participate in any of the 12 one-off scenarios, or in one of the infinite number of randomly generated maps, using Directlnput to support TCP/IP Internet play through Broderbund's Red Orb Zone, plus of course all the inevitable network/modem/two-players-at-one-machine malarkey. Thanks to a user-friendly pre-game set-up screen, this is an absolute doddle to get up and running - which is good because Warlords III was just made to be played multi-player.
If you don't have the right set-up to play Warlords III over the wire, then DO NOT WORRY because the singleplayer game is a 'stunna' in its own right too - thanks in the main to the inclusion of the scenarios and an excellent multi-part campaign mode. It's a pity Red Orb didn't include a comprehensive map editor with the package, but there is some compensation in the form of a random map generator and some tremendous computer-controlled Al.
Red letter from the LEB
Warlords III has pretty much everything you could want from a game of this type. It isn't without its faults (castles are hard to select when full of troops, and waiting for enemies hidden behind the optional 'fog of war' is tedious to say the least), but they're easily dismissed in light of the sheer addictive qualities of the gameplay. I'm completely hooked - and I think you will be too.
The compulsion arises from wanting to see what happens next Once your armies have been placed out, you want to find out if your strategies have worked out as planned - so you click 'end turn', check around, end up moving your armies around again, and... well, never get to bed. Or get the washing done. Or the bills paid.
Download Warlords 3: Reign of Heroes
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP