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User Reviews

The sad end of the AOW saga. Technocrat (201) 2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars
Some changes and additions, good and bad. Still flawed but enjoyable, and may still stand out. Cavalary (11173) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
Best fantasy TBS there is Grov (667) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
AI The quality of the game's intelligence, usually for the behavior of opponents. 3.3
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work and the game plays. 4.2
Graphics The visual quality of the game 3.8
Personal Slant A personal rating of the game, regardless of other attributes 4.2
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 3.7
Story / Presentation The main creative ideas in the game and how well they are executed. This rating is used for every game except compilations and special editions which don't have unique game content not available in a standalone game or DLC. 3.7
Overall User Score (23 votes) 3.8

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
Shadow Magic is the best version of Age of Wonders so far and I would say it's the benchmark title in the fantasy strategy genre. The additions and refinements that have been made since AoW2 make this well worth the asking price. The game can even be played over a LAN or the Internet and the Gamespy online gaming system is fully supported. It's a highly polished title that will appeal to newcomers and series veterans alike.
Game Chronicles (Aug 28, 2003)
I have never been a fan of the Age of Wonders series. Every time that I’ve played an installment of the series, it has looked like a game I would enjoy, controlled like a game I would enjoy, and even the gameplay sounded like it was custom-made for me. Nevertheless, I would tire of it within a few days and quickly move onto something else. This has all changed now that I’ve spent the past few weeks with Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.
There is, arguably, one area needing improvement. Even at 200 pages (including the sections available only on the CD), the manual is still the game’s weak spot. There is too much detail to fit into any printed manual, but there are some frustrating omissions in the existing text. The description of spell effects remains strangely vague in many cases, and some key tables of statistics are simply missing. This complaint is a minor one, though, and really the only blemish on an otherwise fantastic title that will satisfy AOW veterans and newcomers alike.
Just RPG (2003)
Triumph Studios has succeeded in providing many needed improvements, new additions and features requested by the fans. With the extreme dedication given to Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic it is easy to recommend this game as one of the best turn-based strategy RPG games currently released!
With more races to play, a better random map generator, and the same intricate story line as the previous titles, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is yet another wonder to play. Not only does this title continue the epic saga of the previous ones, but it is also the best place for newcomers to start. Fans of both real-time and turn-based strategy games should definitely get a hold of this game, not to mention die-hards of the previous titles.
Pelit (Oct, 2003)
Toki Shadow Magic on kiistatta sarjan paras peli, mutta Wizard's Thronen omistajien kannattaa miettiä kolmesti, onko uusi, kohtuullisen vaatimaton sisältö täyden hinnan arvoista. Muille fantasiastrategian ystäville peliä voi suositella melko varauksetta, vaikka Master of Magicin kippurakärkisiin kenkiin jääkin vielä kasvuvaraa Age of Wonders kolmosta varten.
1UP (May 09, 2004)
Fans of Master of Magic have been waiting for the Age of Wonders series to pull all the aspects of a great turn-based strategy game together, and Shadow Magic does it. With the inclusion of a highly customizable random-map generator, three new playable races, and small but significant gameplay additions, developer Triumph Studios has addressed just about every player request and criticism. The latest Age of Wonders game is a huge amount of fun and a great choice for any turn-based strategy fanatic.
ActionTrip (Jul 28, 2003)
In a nutshell, the game is considerably lengthy, it has a decent replay value, and, on an overall note, all gamers should find enough content to justify the $39.99 price tag. Aside from a few, practically insignificant, bugs we feel this is a product turn-based strategy players should definitely get their mitts on.
GamerDad (Apr 19, 2005)
Merlin is exiled in the land of Shadow and it's up to you to rescue him in this expansion pack/sequel/stand-alone product version of Age of Wonders 2. Age of Wonders 2 was a revelation for strategy games when it was released last year. It combined turn-based strategy and resource management with real depth and personality. I was thrilled with it for the better part of the year. Shadow Magic now comes along and offers the perfect jump-on point for newbies and offers more than enough new stuff for old school fans (like me). That's quite a balancing act there, isn't it?
Gameplanet (Sep 10, 2003)
A TRULY GOOD STRATEGY game is one where, through lack of food or the call of nature, you reluctantly peel yourself away from the PC only to discover that it's 4 am in the morning. Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is one such game. If you are new to the genre the premise of these games is that you build an empire by taking over towns, upgrading them to produce more and better troops, collect resources and stomp on your enemies. It is played across a map that abounds with treasure, heroes and monsters.
Worth Playing (Aug 15, 2003)
All in all, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic kicks major ass. I would call it the first true challenge to Rise of Nations for the strategy game of the year award, but I can’t really do that because Shadow Magic is, after all, the third game in a series, with readily established gameplay. But the game is certainly no less fun. It is a joy to play, and it does what all great games do, which is to literally accelerate time. Games like Shadow Magic are what gaming is all about. Fun. Obsessive, get no work done, fun. Go out and grab a copy of this game. It’s one of the best out there.
Gaming Nexus (Aug 25, 2003)
Overall, Age of Wonders Shadow Magic is a great addition to the turn-based strategy world. There are enough new goodies for veterans of the series to justify grabbing this title, while newcomers to the series will also be able to jump right in and have quite an enjoyable time. Well-balanced races, gorgeous graphics and music, intuitive interface and addictive game play make this a title all fans of turn-based strategy should pick up.
Gameplay (Benelux) (Aug 30, 2003)
Met Shadow Magic bewijst Triumph Studios opnieuw zijn absolute wereldklasse. We kijken al uit naar hun volgende titel.
GameSpot (Aug 12, 2003)
The turn-based strategy genre is rooted in classics like Warlords, Master of Magic, and King's Bounty, and it remains alive today thanks to the efforts of developers like Triumph Studios. The company's previous game, Age of Wonders II, featured a huge amount of new content and improved graphics when compared with its predecessor, as well as a sizable single-player campaign and loads of single scenario maps. However, rank beginners found the game to be too difficult in parts, while veterans complained about the game's lack of a random mission generator. Triumph Studios has attempted to address both of these concerns with Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic. Though this stand-alone game reuses graphics and sound from Age of Wonders II, it has a far better tutorial, a random map generator, and plenty of other great additions to keep turn-based strategy fans playing till the break of dawn.
GameSpy (Aug 19, 2003)
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is the ideal "quick follow-up" title. Falling somewhere between a new game and an expansion pack, Shadow Magic jams so much new stuff into the design that it gives veterans of the series a reason to plop down another $30. It's also an ideal way to introduce new players to this high fantasy world of turn-based strategy. Unlike the recent Disciples 2 add-ons, Shadow Magic provides a lot of bang for your buck; it's loaded with additional features, tweaks, and is simply a more balanced game from top to bottom.
Age of Wonders - Shadow Magic, das klingt sehr nach Add-On für das im vergangenen Jahr erschienene Age of Wonders 2. Im Prinzip ist es dies auch, doch erfreulicherweise lässt sich das Game auch eigenständig spielen. Wer den Vorgänger noch nicht kennt, sollte sich zunächst mit diesem vertraut machen, der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist nicht von Pappe und könnte so manchen unerfahrenen Recken zur Verzweiflung bringen. Kenner werden viel Spass an Shadow Magic haben und einige Stunden in Evermore und der Welt der Schatten verbringen.
PC Action (Germany) (Sep 22, 2003)
Nicht alles, was aus den Niederlanden anrollt, muss so nervig sein wie die Campingmobile, die regelmäßig unsere Autobahnen verstopfen. Nein, auch Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic kommt aus den Niederlanden. Bei diesem rundenbasierten Strategiespiel erleben Sie als Zauberer ein episches Abenteuer. Okay, die Story der Kampagne ist Fantasy-Standard und ähnlich seicht wie der Plattensee. Aber juckt das jemanden? Kurz gesagt geht's um einen Bösewicht namens Phobius, der den Bewohnern der Welt Everon auf den Sack beziehungsweise Eierstock geht. Außerdem hängen in manchen Gegenden fiese Dämonen ab. Der Job des Spielers ist es, die Nervensägen abzusägen.
IGN (Jul 30, 2003)
The stand-alone expansions seem to be making a bit of a push towards becoming more of a mainstay in a PC market usually dominated by expansion packs that require the original game to play. Unfortunately, some of these stand-alone "expansions" have worked more like patches and mission packs. Such was the case with the recently released Disciples II stand-alones, which both frustrated me with their lack of any real additions. Thankfully, the guys at Triumph Studio didn't follow that money humping ploy when they put together Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic, the stand-alone expansion and almost sequel to last year's Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne. I say "almost" sequel because it's not truly a sequel, uses the same engine and nearly everything from Age of Wonders II, but it can be played on it's own without having to have that first game and adds plenty of goodies, including new races, tons of new units, and a great new tutorial to keep old fans interested.
Armchair Empire, The (Aug 23, 2003)
Age of Wonders is one of the more revered PC turn-based strategy game series among strategy game purists, and the newest addition to its line, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic (AoWSM), does nothing but reinforce that deserving reverence. Although it uses essentially the same 2D/pseudo-3D game-engine and graphics as last year's Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne, AoWSM isn't an expansion pack for that game.
84 (Sep 30, 2003)
Mit dem stimmungsvollen Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic beweisen die Triumph Studios eindrücklich, dass rundenbasiert und 2D keinesfalls von gestern sein müssen. Es kommt halt auf die Umsetzung an und die ist mit viel Liebe zum Detail erfolgt. Spielerisch bietet das gegenüber dem Grundspiel ausgeglichenere Standalone-Add-On zwar kaum Neues, was dem Spielspaß insgesamt aber keinen Abbruch tut. Gerade für Fantasy-Strategen, die von Heroes 4 vielleicht etwas enttäuscht waren, bietet Shadow Magic genau das Richtige - einen funktionierenden Multiplayer inklusive. Die Mischung aus ausgeklügelter Strategie, die entfernt an Civilization erinnert, Erforschung und einfachem Rollenspiel verlockt außerdem zum Weiterspielen. Aber auch für Einsteiger ist die Erweiterung mit Einschränkungen empfehlenswert, da es ein ausführliches Tutorial gibt. Alle Fans der Serie können ohnehin bedenkenlos zugreifen, denn Merlin erwartet Euch schon als seine Zauberlehrlinge!
GameZone (Aug 01, 2003)
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is a great title for anyone looking for a great strategy game. This is also a great title for anyone looking a game that offers a little bit more. The game might not be the flashiest game out on the market now, but with the excellent tutorial and excellent concept, everyone should find something to enjoy with this game. However, the instruction manual is lacking and the controls can be a little confusing. But with all of the different gameplay elements, Age of Wonders is an excellent addition to anyone’s library.
83 (Sep 22, 2003)
Some Age of Wonders-fans frowned their eyebrows when they heard that Triumph Studios would release some sort of stand-alone expansion. Not that the fans won't like an expansion but the fact that we would have to pay the price of a full game for it is something that's not so well appreciated. Does Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic really offer worthwile new things so the price is justified? I took my wizard's staff and left on a journey to withstand a new threat in the world of Age of Wonders...
Game Captain (Sep 12, 2003)
Das Spiel an sich ist ohne den Vorgänger zu spielen also kein richtiges Addon. Aber auch kein richtiger Nachfolger. Denn Grafik, Sound und Gameplay wurden 1zu1 übernommen. Natürlich wurden neue Landschaften, drei neue Völker, einige Einheiten und Gebäude hinzugefügt aber da hätte es ein Addon auch getan. Erfreulich ist der geringe Preis der nur mit der Hälfte von so manch anderen Titeln zu Buche schlägt. Besonders Anfängerfreundlich: Im Handbuch und in drei Tutorials wird alles haarklein erklärt. Neben den Kampagnen gibt es noch 19 Einzelszenarien, ausserdem gehört ein Editor zum Lieferumfang mit dem man sich mit etwas Übung und Geduld eigene Szenarien erstellen oder vorhandene editieren kann. Fans von Teil 2 werden etwas enttäuscht sein. Denn die 16 Missionen der neuen Kampagnen dürften schnell gespielt sein und die wenigen Neuerungen hat man schnell gesehen. Alles in allem aber ein solider Nachfolger der vor allem für Neueinsteiger interessant ist.
De ontwerpers van Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic hebben een geweldige klus gedaan bij deze redesign. Het complexe van het spel lijkt overkomelijk door de goede tutorials - en de diepgang van het spel zal vele strategie-fans lange tijd aan hun pc gekluisterd houden.
PC Games (Germany) (Sep 23, 2003)
Trotz des schwerfälligen Spielablaufs sind die Missionen von Shadow Magic reine Herzschrittmacher! Das liegt in erster Linie an der aggressiven KI: Nie verläuft eine Partie im Nichts, ständig geschieht etwas, dauernd muss man auf der Hut sein. So stelle ich mir spannende Runden-Strategie vor. Etwas enttäuscht bin ich darüber, dass die Entwickler zwar fleißig neuen Inhalt nachgeliefert, nicht aber bestehende Probleme ausgebessert haben: Warum darf ich noch immer nicht die Karte auskundschaften, ohne dass der Computer-Gegner sofort zur Höchstform aufläuft und mit sämtlichen Einheiten angreift? Wie in Age of Wonders 2 führt ausschließlich behutsames Vorgehen ans Ziel. Trotz dieser Fesseln und trotz des Fehlens richtiger Innovation ist Shadow Magic absolut empfehlenswert.
On ne change pas une recette qui gagne ! Les nouveautés sont peu nombreuses, mais satisferont quand même les fans. Un vrai régal pour les autres.
PC Zone Benelux (Aug, 2003)
De vele nieuwe rasvaardigheden, toverspreuken, magische voorwerpen en helden, het gebruik van domeinen en het bezoeken van de schaduwwereld, blijken toch niet genoeg om het teleurstellende gevoel van teveel herkenning te verdrijven dat dit vervolg op Age of Wonders kenmerkt. Op alle punten weet Triumph Studios een spelervaring te bieden die ver boven het gemiddelde uitstijgt. Wanneer deze titel je eerste, voorzichtige stapjes binnen het genre uitlokt, zul je zonder meer waar voor je geld krijgen. de kwalitatief hoogwaardige gameplay kan echter de fans van het genre, die wachten op grote vernieuwingen, niet verrassen.
Joystick (French) (Sep, 2003)
Techniquement sans grave défaut, mignon et fonctionnel, Age of Wonders : Shadow Magic devient tout simplement la nouvelle référence du genre.
80 (Aug 28, 2003)
Que du bon donc pour ce stand alone qui apporte un vent de fraîcheur sur Age Of Wonders. L'intérêt est réellement au rendez-vous au regard des nouvelles possibilités de gameplay du titre tant en solo qu'en multijoueur. Il y a bien des choses qui auraient mérité elles aussi de petites corrections mais on va dire que ce sera pour le véritable troisième volet. Les fans peuvent foncer.
Gamesdog (Dec 15, 2003)
If you're new to the series you can start right here, if you're a fan you've already got it but if you bought AoW II, then you're in the FIFA position- do you bother with this year's new refinement? For some the random mission generator makes it all worthwhile for accessing a constant stream of new content. Otherwise you can wait for the street price to drop or scour the net for the best price.
This quasi-expansion pack/sequel doesn’t really light any fires, but it does play well. Unfortunately, it lacks that compelling reason to continue playing. Also, the limited exploration in the beginning doesn’t do much to get you started. This is a must buy only for those who love the series, and something of a serious consideration for turn-based fans. Anyone else should think first.
GameStar (Germany) (Oct, 2003)
Puh, die Szenarien von Shadow Magic dauern noch länger als die in Age of Wonders 2, sind aber dank einer guten Hintergrundgeschichte ungleich spannender. Außerdem hat mir die zeitsparende Kapitulations-Möglichkeit (für beide Seiten) gut gefallen. KI-Schwächen (etwa bei der Verteidigung von Festungen) sind aber geblieben. Fazit: Kenner des Vorgängers werden Shadow Magic lieben. Alle anderen sollten zuerst zum Üben das Hauptprogramm lösen.
Game Revolution (Aug 01, 2003)
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is like an unexpectedly good BLT. It's based a little too heavily on Heroes of Might and Magic, making you long for the days of the Armageddon Blade, but with some nice crisp bacon and cool fresh lettuce, it still makes for a satisfying sandwich. Even though Shadow Magic is a sequel, it's the better starting point for the AoW beginner, although current AoW addicts should rightfully feel a little cheated by the full game price.
Game Watcher (Sep 17, 2003)
In summary, this is a fast paced game that is fun to play. The tutorial, interface, and general flow of the game, both on the strategic and tactical level, are excellent. Information is readily found, and resource management is straightforward. Spell and ability research is interesting; the battles are simple yet very entertaining. The sound is sub-standard and annoying, but if you are male you can learn to use selective listening early on and filter it out, just like in a relationship! (hehe, sorry ladies) To quote an often-used saying: time flies when you are having fun. Much time will fly when you play AOWSM and you will have to remind yourself that it is time to go and eat…but only after ONE more turn…or the next turn…or…just one more after that!
Game Over Online (Sep 15, 2003)
Since Shadow Magic came out over a month ago, I took a peek to see what other reviewers have thought of it. And wouldn’t you know, the lowest score it’s gotten is 80%. Ugh. To me, the Age of Wonders games aren’t nearly as entertaining as the Heroes of Might and Magic games, and yet they get universally praised. I don’t understand it, but if you’ve enjoyed Age of Wonders or Age of Wonders II, then you’ll probably like Shadow Magic as well.
Although I didn’t have much fun with Age of Wonders, it appears to have a good following behind it. I could find myself having fun if I were a fan of the series and/or have previous knowledge on how it works. I couldn’t help but prefer the C&C style of RTS games over the turn-based AoW, though. It seems to be a good game but not for everyone. From what I hear of the past titles in the series, this one sure as hell follows up nicely and is a great addition to the franchise, so all fans of the franchise are surely to pick this one up and have an enjoyable time.
CD-Action (Jan, 2004)
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic nie wnosi wiele nowego do serii i pozostawia po sobie mieszane uczucia. Sądzę, że osoby grające w części poprzednie i ogrywające komputer na najwyższym stopniu trudności mogą czuć lekki niedosyt. Jednak jeżeli nigdy nie grałeś w nic, co miało Age of Wonders w tytule, a lubisz strategie turowe, dziejące się w świecie fantasy, tytuł ten możesz śmiało zakupić - zapewniam, że nie będą to pieniądze wyrzucone w błoto..