aka: Metal Knights
MSX Specs [ all ]


The first, obscure instalment in the Herzog series is also one of the early precursors of the modern-day RTS (real-time strategy game) genre that was popularised by Dune 2. Unlike the common RTS game, the playfield is a long vertical stretch instead of the well-known map stretching in both X and Y axes.

Another now unique trait is that there is little emphasis on building up a base to produce units which are then directly commanded into action. Instead, a base is already located at each end of the path, and the player is given control over a hovering battlemech. New units are bought using funds accumulated during play. These units, ranging from single foot soldiers to tanks and AA batteries, advance from the home base towards the enemy base. The player may pick up a single unit (or five soldiers) and move them closer to the enemy base in order to speed up the attack. A radar on the top of the screen gives an overlook of the battlefield.

The opposing faction has got the same resources, and the enemy battlemech will make raids towards your base, forcing you into mech-on-mech battle. This element turns Herzog into a rather unique blend of strategy and shoot'em up.

The game takes place in a balkanised region, where the last war has given birth to a new state, called Ruth. A military coup d'état in the now-independent state leads to a new war, which the peace-loving Mercies must win.

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Credits (MSX version)

12 People



Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 6 ratings with 1 reviews)

Nether Earth to Dune: a missing step only known in Japan

The Good
More interaction between the controlled unit and the game, compared to Nether Earth (where it was an invincible brick).

The Bad
Slow, dull gameplay, only minorly improved by the increased interactivity of the controlled unit. Removal of customization of units. Need to airlift units off the base (build at ground level in NE).

The Bottom Line
Take Nether Earth. Change the view from isometric to straight (northeastern corner, not northern corner of a tile), make the control unit able to carry other units and transform into a battle unit. Add friendly fire - and here it is, one of the first missing steps from early RTS to modern RTS. There are other missing steps to uncover, but this game introduces gradual transition from NE to Herzog Zwei (considered the first RTS by many). In fact, NE was the first RTS.

PC-88 · by George Constantinoff (25) · 2012



The designer of Herzog didn't like the name that the marketing department decided for his game. He thought it sounded like "Hell-zog".

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Игги Друге.

PC-98, Sharp X1 added by Infernos. PC-88 added by j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】.

Additional contributors: Patrick Bregger.

Game added April 26th, 2006. Last modified October 1st, 2023.