FireFly Studios' Stronghold
Description official descriptions
FireFly Studios' Stronghold is a combination of a building simulation (like SimCity) and a real-time strategy game. The player can build and conquer castles, populate lands with his peasants and defend his estate from invaders.
Castle management involves food production, resource gathering, processing supplies and weapons production. Peasants must be satisfied and efficient, and these needs are done through food ration sizes, tax (or bribe) management, nice or cruel town elements (boost happiness and efficiency respectively), religion and popularity supervision. Should popularity rise above 50, more peasants will enter the castle until the capacity is filled, otherwise they will leave, and all production will eventually halt. Occasional disasters can occur, such as plague, fires, sudden apple tree rots and even attacks from wild animals and bandits. Many of these can be avoided (with apothecaries, wells, and proper defenses), while others cannot. These events can sometimes affect popularity as well.
Combat is based mostly on sieges, where one player is the attacker and the other is the defender (though there are exceptions to this in the military campaign). Armed units require weapons, gold and available peasants (who are replaced once a soldier moves to the barracks, as soldiers do not count as peasants), and are commanded in a typical RTS fashion. Ranged units like archers and crossbowmen can man towers and walls to gain the height advantage, while low-tier melee units like spearmen can repel ladder carriers (who enable invaders to climb enemy walls) when they are adjacent to a wall. Engineers can build various siege weapons (catapults, mangonels, rams, shields, siege towers etc.) or carry pots of boiling oil to spill on enemies below the walls they stand on. Pikemen, swordsmen and knights are more resilient, while macemen can deal a lot of damage very quickly.
The game has two principal modes, military and economic. The military campaign (of 21 missions) follows the story of a young lord in the land of an overthrown king, and must reclaim it from the band of four dukes responsible for the fall of the old kingdom: Duc de Puce (The Rat), Duc Beauregard (The Snake), Duc Truffe (The Pig) and Duc Volpe (The Wolf), all with different personalities, play styles and difficulties (The Rat is the least competent, and The Wolf is the most resilient). Endorsed by his commander, Sir Longarm, and eventually other local lords, the player takes back the land county by county, restoring what is lost and defeating his nemeses before saving the king and helping him regain leadership.
The military mode also features individual scenarios such as sieges and invasions, as well as a multiplayer mode. There is an economy-based short campaign (of 5 missions, without much of a storyline), individual missions and a free build mode. Finally, the game offers an in-built map editor for those who don't find all of the above to be enough.
The game is lost if the player's character, the caped Lord who mostly resides in his keep, is killed, or if another critical objective of the specific mission is not met.
- 要塞 - Simplified Chinese spelling
Credits (Windows version)
135 People (124 developers, 11 thanks) · View all
|Game Design (FireFly)||
|Additional Design (FireFly)|
|Art Director (FireFly)|
|Multiplayer Programming (FireFly)|
|Sound Design and Original Music composed by (FireFly)|
|Manual and Story Writer (FireFly)|
|Quality Assurance Manager (FireFly)|
|FireFly Testing (FireFly)|
|Voice Actors (FireFly)|
|Additional Vocals (FireFly)|
|Scenario Creators (FireFly)|
|Special Thanks To (FireFly)|
|Executive Producer (Rockstar Games)|
|Production Coordinator (Rockstar Games)|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 82% (based on 31 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 44 ratings with 2 reviews)
I can remember when I first played Castles. It was a dream come true, I had always wanted to play a game where you build massive beautiful castles and defend it from large armies. Castles had it's flaws, but it was a really cool game. Stronghold is very similar, only a thousand times better. Everything has been done to perfect detail, the castle you build is filled with people doing their work, and you can follow them in detail in everything they do. Graphically, this game simply rocks, it's one of the 2D games out and personally I think that's good in every way. This game in 3D just wouldn't be right, 2D still has that detail and charm 3D's yet to capture.
The game's mainly split in two, the economical side and warfare side. You begin a level with the former, building your castles, cutting down trees to build buildings, setting the taxes to gain money, giving the peasants more food so your castle'll be more popular and so on. And then there's the other side, when the enemy arrives. The warfare part, which is definately the most fun. Seeing the arrows rain down on the enemy is a lovely and unique sight to behold. And the pitch ditch... oooooh, I've never ever had a more satisfying weapon to use in a game. Hidden holes filled with pitch, and when you fire a flame arrow on it... wheeeeee... it's pretty normal to see fifty men die instantly because of it. There's also one thing I especially like about the combat, most RTS games have a pretty lousy AI and you have to give individual orders to every unit, which make you waste time on micromanagement instead of concentrating on the overall strategy. Stronghold is not like this, every unit can be set to three stances, Stand Ground, Defensive and Aggressive. So all you have to do is to select one stance, give a simple move order and from there it'll the smartest thing and you have no need to give it more orders. Although when the table has turned, you're the attacker and the enemy's the defender, there's a lot more orders to be given (although it's far from extreme). You can feel slightly "out of control" with all the chaos going on, but that's just part of the fun :-)
The game also features lot of game modes, in the game menu you have lots of choices. So either you want to have a quick siege fight, a big level where you contruct a castle and defend it, play the normal campaign, play some economical missions with no military element, or whatever, you have the choices here. It's a little disappointing to see that the level selection in some of the choices are a bit weak, but then again, there's a level editor in the game so that's no problem (and there's already a good deal of fanmade levels on the net).
The sounds and music is just wonderful. This seems to be one of those games where they actually used a lot time to make real sounds. Most games have few sounds, and those which is are taken from some cheesy sound cd. This is not the case here, it's lot of unique sounds in high quality. For instance, there's 36 sounds just the action where a soldier gets hurt. The music is simply gorgeous! It fantastically sets the atmosphere, and it's especially fitting in the battle area, I converted the music to Mp3 just so I could listen to it while doing other things. The speech is also very well made, some of the units just sounds insanely cool (swordsman for instance), although I have to say that some of the voices are a bit... weird (namely crossbowmen and female peasants), but it's nothing which gets annoying.
Well, I've already mentioned a few things. But there's some other things. There's no skirmish AI, when you think about it it's not at all strange since making an AI which designs and builds castles can't be easy, but since it's a standard in games I thought I'd just mention it. And there's not possible in anyway to have an AI player in multiplayer games, not even fake one as in C&C. Which is a letdown, since although there's no skirmish, one could at least try to fake on in the map editor.
I'd also like to have seen the economical part in the game a bit more complicated and challenging, being used to games like Settlers 2 I expected more in this area.
And there's some minor gripes, the multiplayer balance could be a bit tweaked, and there's some bugs here and there. And on the other hand, there's probably a good deal of patches to come which may fix all these fix, and even add new features.
The Bottom Line
I love this game. It's the best game I've played in years. Mediaeval warfare has never been so fun, and constructing castles is fun, fun and fun. It doesn't even have any high computer requirements (which is far too common these days). I'd recommend this game to anyone who's interested in strategy games in general, especially mediaeval ones. It may not be the game for those who like the simplicity of RTS games like Age of Empires and Starcraft, unlike those games Stronghold isn't just to make a big army and attack, in Stronghold you have to plan the attack in detail and execute it with perfection.
Now then, I want to end this review so I can get back to playing the game some more :-)
Windows · by Kate Jones (416) · 2001
Im not very into real-time strategical games, only warcraft series and some more but Stronghold really caught me with his really interesting gaming concept, lots of game modes and an amusing story. It has a real old medieval english feeling on it, which gives the game a special feel, the four enemies of the game were very well made, each one has a different kind of personality.
Sometimes the campaigns can become a bit monotone and slow, but hopefully there are a lot of alternative game modes if this happens.
The Bottom Line
If you were looking for a game with a great replayability Stronghold is the game!
Windows · by Depth Lord (934) · 2004
Christmas shopping reference
There is an interactive voice in the main menu that reminds the player of Christmas shopping 10 days before Christmas.
Variations on different markets
The German release has the campaign storyline set in Germany instead of England. Some versions of the game also have differences in the menu interface and the Pig's appearance (sometimes his head is covered).
Related Sites +
Building Castles with the Strength of Mac OS X
An Apple Games article about the Macintosh version of <em>Stronghold</em>, with commentary being provided by MacSoft Product Manager Al Schilling (May, 2002).
An extensive site containing game-related info, custom levels, history, and a very active forum. Part of the HeavenGames network.
Stronghold Official Website
The official Stronghold website.
- MobyGames ID: 5212
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Unicorn Lynx.
Macintosh added by Jeanne.
Game added October 23rd, 2001. Last modified June 9th, 2023.