Software Review

Warrior Kings: Mirror of the Medieval World

Heroes, villains, battles and castles. Such are the things that come to mind when you hear the name of Feral Interactive’s new single- and multi-player real-time strategy game. Yet Warrior Kings involves so much more than combat. Complex economics, powerful magic, and an involved story line flesh out this game into a fun, challenging experience.

The main plot is about Young Artos, the son of a local baron, Amalric of Cravant, and his rebellion against the Empire of the One God, and its leader, the corrupt Patriarch, Icthius Granitas. Many plot points occur along the way, as Artos sees his father killed, flees to the Isle of Angland, returns with a new army, and finally discovers the Patriarch’s dark secret.

There are three paths that one can take. Each one leads to a different “Alignment.” The Imperial Alignment follows the same faith as the Empire of the One God, and allows such characters as the Bishops, Holy Warriors, Imperial Archers, and the powerful Sword of God. The Pagan Alignment follows the wilder route of nature worship, but has Spider Demons, High Priestesses, Warrioresses of the Dawn, and Death Wyrms in its arsenal. The final Alignment, Renaissance, is a technological path built around Dragoons, Gunners, and huge siege weapons. The multi-player game adds two additional paths: the Imperial-Renaissance (“Bishops with Gunpowder”) and Pagan-Renaissance (“Demons and War Machines.”)

Warrior Kings mirrors the Middle Ages, adding one factor: What would have happened if the powers people believed in really existed? Thus, Pagans can summon demons, Imperials can use Acts of god, and Renaissance... well... that alignment just uses big guns.

Even the terrain is like Europe, with Angland based on England, the City of the one God in Northern Italy, and Cravant somewhere in Northern France.

The game play is complex and challenging. You have to run around slaying enemies, fulfilling objectives, and protecting your Peasants, who are trying to get the harvest in. You can only have so many units in your population before you reach the limit, and you have to watch your Gold, Materials and Food meters. Gold hires mercenaries, materials build buildings, and food, of course, keeps everyone healthy. If you run out of one, you’re in trouble.

Every level of Warrior Kings is challenging. Sometimes it takes one ten tries to beat a particular level. Yet, the difficulty makes victory all the sweeter, and sharpens your skills for future tasks.

The game’s graphics are very realistic. You move through a three dimensional world that becomes more detailed as you get closer. The graphics and terrain affect game play. For example, archers shooting from a hill can decimate a far larger force below them, while trees can be harvested for their wood. You communicate with characters through text. Characters will sometimes reply audibly to your commands with complaints, comments and the occasional lusty war cry. The sound effects help flesh out the world, and also give you signals when there’s an important event. For example, you hear trumpet calls when enemies are entering your areas.

For a combat-based game, Warrior Kings is most wholesome. Arrows only appear as streaks of white (or orange, if they’re flaming arrows). No blood or gore is seen, and dead people just sink into the ground. Warrior Kings works well on Macs, especially in OS X. I strongly recommend this game to medieval fantasy and/or strategy gaming fans 11 years old and up.  

Enjoy playing Warrior Kings, and have the time of your life!
Feral Interactive $40

System Requirements:
Mac OS 9.1/OS 10.1.3 or higher, PowerPC processor running at 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM (with virtual memory set to at least 256 MB), 3D accelerated graphics card with at least 8 MB VRAM, 750 MB free hard disk space, keyboard and mouse.