Written by  :  Joakim Kihlman (275)
Written on  :  May 17, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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One of the most sadly forgotten games ever.

The Good

First of all, this game is very involving. There's a very distinct atmosphere I really like and the sounds, the quite crappy graphics, it all blends together into a very unique experience. This is a management strategy game with a very personal touch. You govern a little village with a few people in it, and you decide what houses to build and how many farmers there should be and so on. It's not complicated to learn, but quite difficult to master, just as it should be. The main goal is to find seven crystals that are scattered throughout the lands, or to simply slay all opponents, but the best part of the game, which often makes you forget the main goal, is to govern your villagers and tend to them as they get sick, fall in love, move in with each other and get give birth to kids. The poor villagers lead hard lives and die quite young (they usually die before 50) so I always feel involved in making their lives as good as possible and I avoid going to war unless the enemy is expanding too much and becomes a threat. This is a good sign for a game, when the player becomes emotionally involved and acts as the game was actually something "real" and not only a lot of ones and zeros in a big, advanced calculator. Furthermore, the game supports hotseat, which is great fun in this game. Only a few strategy-games are smart enough to offer hotseat, settlers is another good example of this, and it really makes the gaming experience so much more rewarding to be able to play with a friend, without the trouble of having to connect to computers.

The Bad

The graphics are a bit "pixely" and the actual little window where you view the world is very small, much like in populous. The main story and goal about the seven crystals aren't very interesting to say the least, a more inspiring background story would have been good. The game does become a bit repetitive after a while as you get more and more settled but but not more than in other great strategy games, including Civilization and Settlers. If you want to get it running on a modern computer you will have a hard time, if it's even possible. It was no walk in the park getting it to run even on the intended computers as it requires a lot of EMS (the most annoying system requirement ever, F**K EMS!!!). I just play it on my old 486 33mhz computer and it works like a charm after a bit of fiddling with a boot disc.

The Bottom Line

A very good, involving mix between Civilization, Populous and Settlers. If you can get it to work on a newer computer or if you have an old one lying around you really should try this one out.