Game Over Online ~ Warlords 3: Darklords Rising

GameOver Game Reviews - Warlords 3: Darklords Rising (c) Red Orb Entertainment, Reviewed by - Jove / Rebellion /

Game & Publisher Warlords 3: Darklords Rising (c) Red Orb Entertainment
System Requirements P133, 16MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Monday, August 3rd, 1998 at 10:53 AM

Divider Left By: Jove Divider Right

To first clear up an issue that most people are probably wondering about, this Warlords 3 is actually a sequel to the first Warlords 3 released a while back. The game includes enhanced graphics, gameplay details, more scenarios, more units, a campaign/scenario editor and a few other minor enhancements. Warlords 3: Darklords Rising resides in the same genre as games such as Heroes of Might and Magic 2 and Stronghold, as well as, of course, the three previous Warlords titles. However, Warlords 3: Darklords Rising is a little flat and lacks a certain flare evident in the other games.

Essentially this new version of Warlords a rehash of the original Warlords 3, which isn't a good thing. I found Warlords 3 to be inferior to Warlords 2 Deluxe due to lack of scenarios and variety of units (they were all fantasy in Warlords 3 but Warlords 2 had sci-fi, fantasy, modern and more). The game also plays exactly the same as the very ancient Warlords 1 with the enhancements not really doing what should be done according to the years of technological development that have taken place since the original Warlords. The graphics are slightly improved to the original Warlords 3, but those were not known for their detail or quality. The graphic quality reminds me of old 486 games like Conquered Kingdoms with a few more colours and higher resolution (1024x768 supported). This does not, however, even compare to the graphics of Heroes of Might and Magic 2, which essentially set the standard for detailed and colourful graphics in turn based strategy games. While they serve their purpose, the graphics of Warlords 3: Darklords Rising are far behind the times and will probably turn many gamers off of the game.

Sound in Warlords 3: Darklords Rising is pretty pathetic with sounds barely recognizable as some distinct item or function. There really is no point to keeping the sound on in the game as I feel it detracts from gameplay by creating an extra annoyance when trying to plot strategies. I noticed no music, and judging by the quality of the sound effects I'm glad that none was put in. Again one should turn to Heroes of Might and Magic 2 for superior sound and music quality with similar style (but far superior) gameplay.

Gameplay in Warlords 3: Darklords Rising is identical to the rest of the series: One must capture cities (both neutral and enemy occupied) by commanding armies of monsters and soldiers along with heroes to accompany the troops with their special abilities. Heroes can also gain experience, partake in quests, and search ruins which can allow for special items or advantages to be received thus making the hero more powerful. Other than the hero business the game is pretty much move your armies to attack cities and defend occupied ones with occasional decisions such as whether to raze, pillage or occupy and enemy city coming into play. Even combat is automated making often the most exciting part of many games, another doldrum. There isn't much more to be said except that Warlords 3: Darklords rising, even though it had many years, did not improve the gameplay of the original Conquered Kingdoms (the first game of its type) significantly and that Heroes of Might and Magic 1 or 2 is far superior in every aspect and if you have played those games you will probably only be able to bare this game for a few minutes.

Looking at what makes this game fun to play, I find myself left with no answer. I guess it's exciting to get a new type of monster, but even Warlords 2 deluxe is much, much better in this respect, and it's only $10 in the store and is in my opinion superior to this game, although far inferior to the Heroes of Might and Magic series. One last note is that multiplay is well, shit, as the game is turn based and boring to watch, unlike Heroes 2 hotseat. There isn't much more to say about this title, if you want a bit more details about the game then read our Warlords 3: Reign of Heroes review which is in our review archives in downloadable format, as Warlords 3: Darklords Rising is essentially the same game.


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Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

Warlords III: Reign of Heroes was a decent game with a large following. Darklords Rising picks up after the first and adds more scenarios, more campaigns, new units, and new heroes. RoH was touted as "Turn Based Game of the Year" from various magazines and Reb Orb has tried to incorporate users suggestions into a worthy sequel instead of an addon.

The object is pretty simple, be the last man standing. No new themes here, just a relatively simple turn based strategy game. You further yourself by capturing cities and building your army while maintaining some diplomacy with your friends, allies, and enemies. Your heroes are your key players. They get the items. They get the advancements. They get the nifty spells, attacks, etc. It's somewhat similar to the Heroes of Might and Magic series, but due to the fact that I haven't played HOMM I can't really make any comparisons.

Graphics 12/20

It's 2D just like Reign of Heroes. It looks pretty decent in 1024x768 and runs smoothly. It doesn't appear to have many differences in interface or graphics from the original, so don't expect anything new.

Sound 8/15

Sound is okay. It's pretty much generic sound effects, though each unit has different sounds and there's lots of units. It's adequate, but doesn't make any strides in adding to the gameplay.

Gameplay 19/30

It's pretty simple to play although there's lots of menus. If there's any little bitty thing that can have a menu, it's in here. It's pretty easy to get started in. You build your units, defend your cities, move out and take more cities. The tutorial mission was good for getting started but it left some of the aspects of the game sketchy since it didn't really instruct you on how some things worked and how they affected the game. I found the base for the game to be somewhat similar to Seven Kingdoms. It had a similar feel on how the game went along, but the two games aren't any closer than that. It's turn based, so it's not as quick paced as it could be, but it does move along pretty well. It doesn't seem to move along fast enough when there are a lot of computer opponents.

Fun Factor 12/20

If you liked Turn Based Strategy and you liked the first one, it's worth a look. I found mys interest level dropping as the game went along. It's not real easy to decide where you want to do and who you want to do it with. The campaigns are decent enough to hold your attention but they aren't enough to rivet you there.

Multiplayer 3/5

It supports up to 8 players and has all the standard forms of multiplayer. In addition it has the old fashioned "Email" gameplay that isn't seen too much anymore. It's a decent multiplayer turnbased strategy. I prefer some of the military tbs's better but it does benefit from the multiplayer to a degree.

Overall Impression 6/10

It's a rehash of Reign of the Heroes. The box says it includes the campaigns and scenarios from RotH, so that right there sounds like ADDON to me, not exactly worth a sequel. It does feature some decent improvements over RotH, so it might be worth it if you liked the original. Otherwise, I really can't say it's a bad tbs, just not anymore than decent. Just wait for HOMM3 if you're hungry for a Medieval style turn baser!


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