Review by Joe Santulli
you been looking for a strategy game with adventure / RPG themes?
How about a quest game with increasing challenges?
Maybe just something different for the Genesis?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may
want to check out King's Bounty
by Electronic Arts. In this
exceptional cart, you must find the Scepter of Order, hidden somewhere
within a giant world consisting of four continents, dozens of towns and
castles, and a horde of nasty monsters.
The principal of King's Bounty is that you must travel around the four continents,
seeking out seventeen criminals each holding a piece of the map showing
the location of the hidden Scepter. Each
time you capture a criminal, another piece of the map is given to you,
uncovering the hidden location. Capturing
a criminal requires that you A) know the whereabouts of the criminal's
castle, B) have siege weapons to breach the castle walls, C) have a
contract on the criminal, and D) defeat his/her/its army once found.
Getting the contract and siege weapons are simple tasks - you can
get either in any town. Finding
the villain is slightly more difficult, requiring some detective work
(gathering information from various towns or visiting the scattered
castles) or magic.
In order to defeat a villain's army (or any of the wandering ones
you'll encounter along the way), you'll have to command an army of your
own. Your army can consist of
five different races, from the weak peasants to mighty knights to tough(!)
dragons. In all, there are 25
different races you could enlist. With
the right amount of money and battle-savvy, you should be winning battles
and conquering castles in no time. The
difficulty increases with every criminal you defeat, with the final
villain, Arech Dragonbreath, nearly impossible to beat.
Luckily, along the way you will find chests that can increase your gold
or leadership ability, grant you spells or spell power, or show you a map
to the whole continent. With the help of these chests, and the King's salary, you
have a sporting chance. Later
in the game, you will also incorporate 14 magic spells to aid you in
battle (and traveling as well).
King's Bounty is a game with
a lot of depth. The
non-linear quest literally allows you to roam around the world before ever
fighting your first battle! There
is strategy galore: for example, you could try to find the Scepter with
only some of the map pieces, and hope you see enough to search in the
right area. The battlefield
holds limitless combinations for your strategy skills, since some races
can use magic, some can fly, others are affected by certain spells, etc.
There's a lot to keep you busy in this game!
A few minor complaints: the most significant was the terrible music
that plays over and over. Fortunately,
that can be shut off. I found
that King's Bounty was best played with the TV turned down and the stereo
turned up. The graphics won't
blow you away either, but overall, they work well with the theme.
Also be aware that this is a "password save" game, and
the password is 56 characters long. Unless
you plan to play in long sessions, this becomes quite a nuisance.
Overall, though, this is a complex (but not complicated) adventure
that will keep you thinking for a long, long time.
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