Myth III: The Wolf Age (Windows)

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Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5472)
Written on  :  May 11, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars

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Innovative yet uninspired

The Good

Myth III is the latest and probably last game in the Myth series. Like its predecessors, it is a real time strategy game without resource harvesting. The game features fantasy warfare, often at the epic level, as you command a limited number of warlocks, archers, dwarves and more against the forces of evil. Missions include attacking enemy encampments and defending fortresses against enemy attacks. The terrain varies each mission and includes icy tundra, dark forests, vile swamps, and ancient crypts.If any aspect of Myth III:The Wolf Age shines through the overwhelming dross, it is the graphics. Myth III is the first of the Myth titles to feature 3D characters instead of sprites. The scenery is fully realized, complete with swaying grass and lifelike water. There is even an option to enable the flow of blood downhill. I marveled at the realistic shadows and superb lighting. Character animations in battle are top notch and when the characters are at rest, they stretch or meditate.

The story and plotting is similar to the other games to which Myth III acts as a prequel. Each mission is introduced by a narrative detailing the events surrounding the battle and a detailed map shows your location. Voice acting is subpar compared to the original games, but is not egregious. The game itself is highly customizable when it comes to graphics, less so when it comes to difficulty settings.

The Bad

"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good." Samuel Johnson (1707-1784).

While Myth III is highly innovative, many aspects of the game feel like a step back from the original series. The Myth games have always had a steep learning curve, often brutalizing the poor tactician, yet the first two featured five difficulty settings. This game has only three. Sadly, if you find the default (Medium) setting too difficult, you will find the easy setting too simple.

Myth III makes no modification of the troublesome camera control and even goes so far to recommend a remap of keys away from the default. The logic is infuriating, why not make the recommended keysetting the default? The unit formations also remain unchanged although it is trickier to have the units facing the correct way. I believe Myth II utilized the right mouse button to change the direction, Myth III requires a minute flick of the wrist and click of the left button. The manual mentions that it is very easy for the computer to misinterpret this command. The manual, by the way, is really good. It just looks like it was photocopied at 50% on the darkest setting.

Of course I needed a patch and the most recent drivers.

The AI seemed pretty substandard, relying on scripted events rather than strategy. Would one ghol really run headlong into a mass of troops?

Myth III does away with animated cutscenes and replaces them with low quality Quicktime movies. One particularly poor one had me laughing aloud. It played like Quicktime presents: Hand Puppet Theater! Characters interacted with each other without moving their mouths and they used jerky, exaggerated motions- like a mime doing a Shatner impression. Sound is pretty bad too. Combat is mostly quiet, with the occasional clanging of weapons and the music is terrible. The main score sounds like a bagpipe rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

One final quibble I have is with the speed of the game. Units move at a decent rate, but combat seems a little slow. Arrows, for example, take too long to get to their target. Eh.

The Bottom Line

Here's the typical problem with Myth III: One mission introduction states that a small group of soldiers were walking through the forest and they suddenly noticed that the birds stopped singing. The mission then is to get them to safety while fighting off monsters. Of course the ambient noise for the level is birds singing. This game has great graphics, but pays little attention to detail. Poor design and a buggy, rushed product resulted in a lack of support from the fan community. This bargain bin game killed a great franchise.