Written by  :  Gordon Menck (3)
Written on  :  Oct 25, 2001
Platform  :  DOS

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful

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I haven't found its equal in the 9 years since I started playing it.

The Good

It was soooo fantastically imersive. I created these characters, I designed them & specialised them. And after playing the game, I regenerated my party, creating a group of ULTIMATE warriors! I called them by name & armed them with a vast array of high quality weapons, armour, alchemical potions & heavenly saints.

The real-time strategy thing was just starting at that stage & Darklands clearly lead the pack. In many games since then, I've wished for a darklands style combat interface. The ability to freeze the action & issue new orders is awesome. Newer RTS's can be soo frustrating where combat happens sooo fast that it's all over before you can issue intelligent orders. Are there any other RTS's where you can arm units with ranged weapons as well as melee weapons? Darklands again lead the pack with its realism - how many archers would realistically have gone into battle armed only with their bow & quiver? Surely they would have carried a sword of sorts. Darklands reflects this sentiment, allowing units(characters) to carry several types of weapons at once, changing weapons when melee combat was joined.

The Bad

The limits of the Darklands world. Oh how I dreamt of crossing the Alps into Italy, traveling west into France, and across the Channel to England. And travelling East to Russia, and south-east to the Holy Land. The world was my oyster. The hints of expansion packs... Of gaining world wide fame... Oh well.

As others have already mentioned, the repetitiveness of skirmishes was another feature I occasionally tired of. Every thief & thug is identical... Every dwarf, every bear, every wolf, every... always the same image. Ten years ago it didn't make much difference - gameplay (incredible gameplay!) distracted from any disappointments with the graphics. These days, it's almost expected that games use different sprites or bitmaps to provide a mediocum of variety to normally mundane interactions.

Since Warcraft2, AOE & Starcraft (to name a few) have been around, fights with less than 10 units have become mere skirmishes. In a way, I wish that Darklands would have allowed you to control vast numbers of units, or at least become involved in major battles - (possibly allied with a Lord or King?)

The Bottom Line

Overall, I spent the 2 most important years of my educational life wasting(!?) my time playing this awesome simulation. In a way Darklands not only lead the way for real-time-strategy games, but it also paved the way for the currently new-generation of Role-playing Strategy games. Just check out World of warcraft, Warcraft 3 or Planetside. Every one of these has great similarities to Microprose's greatest title of all time. DARKLANDS.