|| Power Monger
"An original war game." (PC version reviewed)
Kids & Family
About seven years ago, I got a surprise from my parents; a Populous II/PowerMonger CD. I never liked PowerMonger back then, mainly because I could never play it since I lost the manual. But Pop2 was nice.
Fast forward to about two or three weeks ago. I found a bunch of old stuff in some boxes, including (for some odd reason) a box full of manuals. Inside was the PowerMonger manual I had lost so long ago. I pick it up, take it upstairs, and try to boot up the old game without the CD. It worked! I was pleased to find that Pop2 still worked as well, but this one gets more play time. Wonder why?
To sum up the manual, your old kingdom was destroyed by a geological upheaval (An apparent volcano, but it doesn't specify.) and you seek to claim a throne here. Naturally, two other kingdoms were destroyed in the same fashion, and crave the same crown. And the tribes don't like the idea of some castaway conquering their homeland. It actually like the plot to some novel, to be honest, and you're the writer.
While the people, the trees, the birds, and the sheep are all just plain 2D sprites, the ground is STUNNING. In the summer, you can see the lush green grass (although it more looks like green dirt), and watch as it slowly turns brown from the autumn weather. In winter, it looks like there's snow on the ground, and in spring, you can watch the snow melt. The towns are full of vivid detail, and when the rain or snow arrives, it will fill the entire screen, so you really don't have a clue what's going on. It's graphically sound. The only thing that keeps it from a 10 are the sprites, and there's really not much you can do about it anyway.
Sound is incredible, and important, which is a surprise. You can hear sheeps bleeting (constantly), telling you some food can be found nearby. Hammers and saws means that someone's building something; might want to put a stop to it. A hyperventilating captain means that he's doomed. The cheer of your men after a victory signals you that all is well, for the most part. The fluttering of wings means that you disturbed some birds. If that wasn't you, someone else did. All in all, there are MANY sound cues for you, so you can tell what is going on just by the sound.
First off, you need to get by the copyright protection. Have a manual handy. ^_^
Unique then, unique today, actually. I've yet to see an RTS have the same time lag in orders as your carrier pigeon flies to the army you just told to attack. I've also yet to see a game where everyone, not just the main characters, has their own personality.
Combat seems to be your standard random numbers, but it's also logical. You'd expect to see a hoard of guys with swords get mowed down from a distance by a bunch of guys with bows. You'd also expect for any survivors to slaughter any bowmen they could before a nearby archer finally kills him. You'd expect ten guys with nothing to overwhelm a single guy with a sword. You'd also expect to see armies act based on their leader's aggression level. Passive guys won't fight that often, and when they do they try to keep everyone alive. Meanwhile, an aggressive guy isn't going to give a hoot about anyone but #1. You'd also expect for your food stocks to slowly be depleted by your army, your excess items to slow you down, your men to desert when you run out of food. A LOT of logic is applied to this game.
Ah, items. You don't find them laying around; you have to build them. Or they have to be built first, then their carriers have to be slaughtered by your army. The variety is pretty neat, given that the last thing you think about in a war game is "Should I spend time to build a cannon, or should I go on ahead and attack to keep my food supply up?" Then again, what do I know?
Given that there's also 195 territories to conquer (I failed to mention that, didn't I? Sorry... V_V) you're going to play this for a LONG time. Also, since there's a random map generator that uses the copyright protection maps, it might be a while before you uninstall this one.
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10
An impressive game. Too bad Bullfrog never did make that perfect RTS game; it'd be a blast to play.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10, Originally Posted: 08/31/06