King's Bounty


Review by Joe Santulli

Electronic Arts


Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Have 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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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 03:27 PM