Published by: Interplay Productions
Developed by: Tachyon Studios Inc.
I first met Blood & Magic in 1996, as soon as it came out. At that time, the real-time strategy genre was very popular, the orc story X had just died down at number two, and then a box with the inscription Blood & Magic caught my eye. Perhaps I would have passed by, but then a tiny postscript at the bottom of the box caught my attention: “The latest strategy in the style of Warcraft2”
"Well, let's see," I said to myself then. Looked…
I want to say right away that I expected to see an ordinary Warcraft clone when I launched the game with a skeptical smile. But from the very first minutes of the game, skepticism was replaced by surprise, and then even bewilderment. I confess that I did not immediately understand the game - the language was English, and at that time I almost did not know it - I was still small, but when I figured it out ... Well, all right, first things first.
First, we, as usual, get into the main menu of the game. Everything is usual here - multiplayer, training, single player and so on. But there is no single player game on separate maps, only a campaign (more on that later). So, with a solid gaming hand, we choose a campaign. We are shown a small video (not animated - just gradually appearing pictures), which tells about the events taking place. By the way, such videos appear throughout the game.
Next, we are shown a map of the world where we will have to fight. It is divided into 5 areas, each of which has three missions waiting for you. At this point, the voice-over prompts you to select "your location". Feel free to click on any area, and .... Bummer, not pressed. Countries are required to pass in a certain order. The fact is that each area has its own level of difficulty - from beginner to master, and there is no way to jump over the step. Therefore, we select the only available area - and into battle.
Next, you will be prompted to choose a lord for whom you will play (in each area there are two opposing sides, usually separate commanders, only in a third country one of the sides is represented by the “Order (circle) of order”). Lords have their own colors - red or blue. What influences the choice of a lord? Firstly, this sets a different order of tasks (what is the first for some, then the last for others, the second card is the same for both), the goals themselves (most of them are just "banal destruction of the enemy") and the conditional "native" race. In fact, it’s difficult to call it races, but I will use this term for elementary convenience. Why conditional? I'll explain now. The fact is that in Blood & Magic there is no attachment of any race to the one you play for. In general, the process of creating units is quite curious. There is only one resource in the game - mana. The method of extracting mana is also somewhat unusual - no mines, mines, and so on. Initially, the player has a pair of golems, they are the holy of holies of the game. In active (during movement, combat) mode, golems resemble people and can fight (not very successfully), but for combat they should be used only as a last resort - this is not their purpose. In passive mode, golems resemble pyramids, referred to here as obelisks, and are capable of generating mana. When they stand, they have a special bar that displays the amount of accumulated mana. If you click there, the mana will be transferred to you. They can accumulate a maximum of 10 units of mana at a time, and if you don’t take it from them, they themselves will give it to you after a while (here are the smart ones). In addition, mana flows slowly on its own.
What is mana for? First, for the production of golems. Golems for 40 mana can be made in your source of power (a square of your color). This source cannot be destroyed, and enemies that step on it lose health. Secondly, mana is needed to produce soldiers. And the soldiers… again, hatch from golems. It's just that golems still have such an ability as transformation. They can transform into walls, soldiers, and buildings that give access to soldiers. The building can be created on a special site of 4 golems. In total, there are five types of buildings that provide access to their creatures (there are repetitions). You, whoever you play as, can always build any of them. So:
- Crypt. Here, golems can transform into the following creatures: zombie, gargoyle, ghoul, and ghost.
- Barracks. Warrior, ranger and paladin.
- Temple. Healer, Fury and Paladin.
- Runestone. Mage, dwarf, stone golem and fire-breathing serpent.
- Local branch of Greenpeace. Druid, ranger, griffin and nymph.
Some creatures have special abilities, almost all - some features. So, for example, a ghost is invulnerable to conventional weapons - this is a feature, but the fact that it can scare away all enemies for a certain amount of mana is an ability. Also, some creatures fight better in swamps, some in the fields (yes, the landscape matters - it either reduces the speed of movement, then adds protection, or does damage at all). However, there is a detailed guide to the features of the landscape, creatures (by the way, there are also neutral ones, plus in the last country you can create goblins, spellcasters and harpies), artifacts. Yes, the latter are also available here and can be picked up by your creatures. They are very different: they increase attack / defense, and endow with abilities, finally, just healers, pieces of mana (most often they remain after monuments and buildings destroyed by the hands of your fighters) ...
And there is such a thing as experience. Here the problem is that at the beginning of the game no one will let you make some kind of paladin right off the bat. At the beginning, you only have basic warriors, and in order to build more advanced creatures, you will have to spend n experience. Experience is awarded for almost everything: creating warriors, buildings, destroying buildings, killing opponents, and even for using abilities and artifacts.
Now briefly about the pros and cons of the game.
Let's start with the "nasty". Not too beautiful graphics, even for those times. But, in principle, you stop paying attention to this, since the game is interesting and addictive.
But this problem is worse. Control. To say that it is very uncomfortable ... no, I will not say. The troops stand out quite normally and even run on the right mouse click ... But here's HOW they do it ... Sometimes you want to hang yourself, honestly. Terribly slow down, stop halfway ...
An interesting idea, it is quite pleasant and interesting to play.
Soft unobtrusive music, not a masterpiece, of course, but at least it does not interfere.
Still, there is "its own game." Then, after you have mastered all the campaigns, you will kindly be given such an opportunity.
Intelligence. Not to say, of course, that the game is too difficult, but not easy. To be honest, the first time I managed to complete only a couple of missions.
Well, in conclusion, I’ll say that the game is worthy of attention - if you don’t pass, then every “strategist” should figure it out and watch a couple of missions. It would be interesting to see a modern remake, I would not miss it.