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Game Over Online ~ Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland

GameOver Game Reviews - Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland (c) 3DO, Reviewed by - Elliot Blitzer

Game & Publisher Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland (c) 3DO
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 58%
Date Published Wednesday, October 18th, 2000 at 08:25 PM

Divider Left By: Elliot Blitzer Divider Right

Warlords of the Wasteland is the first in a series of Heroes Chronicles games based on Heroes of Might and Magic III, the popular turn-based fantasy-themed strategy game from 3DO. There are a total of four Heroes Chronicles titles in the collection and although 3DO claims each game can be played on its own and in no particular order, Warlords of the Wasteland acts as the prequel of the bunch by introducing us to the star of the series, Tarnum, and providing a little background to the forthcoming plot that will unravel as you progress through each game. The first two titles in the series, Warlords of the Wasteland and Conquest of the Underworld, were released at the same time, but since Warlords of the Wasteland is supposed to lead off, we'll start with a review of it.

Heroes Chronicles tells the tale of a young barbarian, Tarnum. The opening cinematic reveals to us that upon becoming King, Tarnum is slain. However, the mighty barbarian is deemed unworthy to enter Paradise by the Ancestors and is reincarnated in order to redeem himself. Tarnum must earn a reprieve from the gods by completing a succession of quests, adventures that are recorded in the Heroes Chronicles. This brings us to the Warlords of the Wasteland, which tells the tale of Tarnum's return to his homeland, as he discovers the heritage behind his people and takes arm against the evil spellcasters who currently rule the land.

Warlords of the Wasteland, and each subsequent game in the series, features eight linked scenarios. Although the scenarios do an excellent job advancing the storyline, they offer no improvements over Heroes of Might and Magic III. Everything from sound effects to the game mechanics has been recycled, providing little more than an expansion pack feel to the game. Fans of Might and Magic III will immediately realize that Heroes Chronicles almost feels like a trimmed down version of Heroes of Might and Magic III, perhaps catering to beginners. In fact, there's a training scenario that guides gamers through the basics of building and exploration. The rest of the scenarios are nicely designed and include the usual resource management, town building and exploration. In order to help maintain a sense of plot, Tarnum, and any number of the remaining heroes from one scenario, will advance to the next scenario, minus their artifacts and units.

The first problem with Warlords of the Wasteland is the restrictions that are placed throughout the game. In order to stay consistent with the plot, a number of units and town types have been trimmed from the product. As Tarnum, you'll only have access to goblins, orcs, wolf-riders, Cyclopes and behemoths in your towns. Opposing units often consist of wizards' units including gremlins, golems and giants. While swamp and castle units do make an appearance or two during the game, the rest of the town types and units won't make their presence felt until future Heroes Chronicles. What this does is make the scenarios rather repetitive due to the lack of variety. The storyline is all that's left to keep you playing through each scenario and it just didn't seem worth it since much of the story is told using text boxes that pop up throughout each scenario. Cinematics would have helped in this respect tremendously.

The second problem with Warlords of the Wasteland is the lack of anything new to the world of Heroes of Might and Magic. There are no unique units, no improved visuals and all of the sound effects remain the same. Warlords of the Wasteland also lacks a map editor and multiplayer options. The replay value plummets for fans of Heroes of Might and Magic and even newcomers to the series. Once you completed the eight-pack of scenarios, there's absolutely no reason to load this title up again.

Warlords of the Wasteland comes with a budget price tag of $20. Of course, this is only the first in the series, so if you wish to partake in the rest of Tarnum's adventures, it'll cost you $80 in total. That's 32 scenarios in all, which doesn't quite add up in the end considering you could create this kind of package using the Heroes of Might and Magic scenario editor. Heroes Chronicles plays out like a series of short stories, but that doesn't mean you can't introduce new elements to the mix. It's because of this, that I can't recommend Heroes Chronicles to fans of Heroes of Might & Magic. Even if you're new to the series, you're better off picking up Heroes of Might and Magic III, or one of it's expansion packs, rather than this shady product.

[ 20/50 ] Gameplay
[ 07/10 ] Video
[ 06/10 ] Audio
[ 08/10 ] Controls
[ 07/10 ] Plotline
[ 10/10 ] Bugs


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