Persian Wars (Windows)

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Written by  :  Ebonscarp (4)
Written on  :  Oct 07, 2007
Rating  :  1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars

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Lord of the Rings + Thousand-and-one Nights = shrieks of terror.

The Good

After some adding and subtracting, every basic review exists of a run-through of every positive and negative aspect in a game. In this case, there was little to be found on the pro side of the scale when playing this game, even in the standards of yours truly (a regular bargain bin-looter). Persian Wars starts off when Sinbad (the player) goes through a short tutorial/introduction in which he learns that the Ring of Salomon has fallen from the heavens, giving the bearer godly powers. Thus, it is your task to gain it for your own pleasure. As most storylines go, this one is quite tolerable, giving the creators enough breathing space to experiment to their heart's content (the realization, however, is a different part of the tale. But I'll get to that later). PW's engine is based on the one Black Moon Chronicles used, but has undergone a major clean-up phase that resulted in a generally appealing-looking world, with smooth character movements and a wide array of characters and creatures. Djinns, giants,... You will all encounter them - and often in large quantities.

The Bad

And this is where the actual problems begin. Aside from the first two missions (which are optional), the player realizes all too soon that he has arrived in a world where Sinbad receives little hospitality - and even less allies (read: cannon fodders). Ever so often, I wondered whether the creators intended this game to be 'highly challenging', or were just plain sadistical.

An example: the player arrives at an Amazon fortress, and he needs to cross the nearby river. He/she is then presented with an Hobson's choice: pay a ridiculously high amount of gold to rent some Amazon boats or take them by force. Since the game doesn't allow retreating, it is obvious that a major battle will ensue. Just replace 'major' with 'short' and you have an idea of the combat zones in PW. Not only are you equipped with few intelligent soldiers (most of them just walk around until they meet their rather untimely demise), but the choice of fresh troops altogether is rather restricted (once again: the severe lack of gold in the game even makes the undead hordes look rich). For the sake of those who still want to waste a few bucks in buying this game, I will not tell you what's on the other side of the river. Just feel lucky when not all your troops are decimated when you reach the boats - and even luckier if you manage to let poor Sinbad live for another day.

The story itself is quickly forgotten, after getting through yet another Pyrrhic victory/defeat versus the many horrors that the desert has to offer. After a while, all that remains is not a quest for power, but a struggle for survival - even for an experienced gamer.

The Bottom Line

Persian Wars is one of those games with great potential, but lacking all the elements that make gaming fun. Cryo Interactive made games that were generally considered to be mediocre, but not even Frodo would forgive them for making an abomination such as this one. Let us hope the sands of time will somehow reach the bargain bins and erase this mistake from our midst.