Braveheart, the movie, was released in 1994. It was an epic story,
showing the heroics of a famous legend, William Wallace. Mel
Gibson played the roll of the warrior who returned to his homeland
after many years. The basis of the story is that the King of
Scotland has died without an heir, and the King of England (a
ruthless Pagan known as Edward the Longshank) seizes the
thrown. Wallace becomes the leader of a small army determined
to vanquish the greater English force. His passion and courage is
why they called William Wallace, ‘Braveheart”. The movie was a
smashing success, while the game itself that follows the same plot
line fails to be a hit.
The graphics in Braveheart were supposed to showcase some of
the most brilliant designs and craftmanship ever seen before. The
designers claimed to have 400,000 polygons just for the landscape
alone. As we have seen from such games as Kingpin, polygons do
not enhance the game as much as well thought out textures. The
textures used in Bravehart were so bland and ugly that the
graphics appeared to be on the same par as Might and Magic 7.
Now we move on to units. Instead of using sprites, Bravehart uses
polygonal units as well. Now imagine having 500 units. Now if we
do some math here, we will find that if there are highly detailed
units, then the game would halt to a crawl whenever there are too
many units on the screen. But since this game is about creating
larger armies and moving them in formations, the result is low
quality units. They are virtually walking sticks with ugly textures.
Now, there are even more serious problems to the graphics engine
in Bravehart. This comes with clipping while moving the cameras.
A nice option is to move the camera to the soldier’s view.
Unfortunately, the sides of the soldier often block the view of the
combat area. When moving around from the fly-by-cam, for some
strange reason, walls will disappear into the ground. Overall the
graphics were a disappointment. For a game of this calibre, it did
not capture my imagination nor did it set the environment needed
for a successful game.
If a game allows you to press a few buttons to get what you want
accomplished, you would agree with me when I say the game’s
interface is well designed and easy to use. In Bravehart there are
about 100 or more buttons to click, and often you don’t even get
close to what you orginally intended. For example, lets say you
wanted to send a caravan to a neighboring city. This seems
simple, but yet very complex in the game. First you must select the
trade, then you have to click which city, then you have to choose
the type of caravan, then you have to select how much protection
you want for the caravan, then you have to choose either to buy or
sell, then depending of if you buy or sell, you have to manually
click and drag coins over to the caravan cart, then you have to
right click and left click on more check boxes that I am no longer
going to explain. A simple task, but daunting to perform in the
game. Now the actual combat system is pretty basic, nothing
special here. You can create formations, then go and attack. If you
have a leader present, your army will perform better. Now I didn’t
feel that much of a difference between each clan. I wish I could
have, but I did not.
The gameplay in Bravehart is not for the impatient, nor is it for
anyone who does not like to handle a complex amount of buttons.
Bravehart is complex, but the complexity of this game is it’s own
downfall. The lack of rational organization of buttons and check
boxes makes this game incredibility hard to play.
An area where I was seriously laughing was the sound
department. The tutorial voice over was so horribly recorded.
There are cracks and pops in the background and the quality of
the voice is lower than if you had recorded it yourself with your
computer. I might be wrong, but do all the units sound the same in
the game? The only difference in clans at the beginning is the
description of each clan in a ubiquitous Scottish accent. The in
game sounds are typical grunts and ‘yes sir’ deals. The music
overture is typical, and it fits the game genre. The sound in this
game is about average with today’s games.
In multiplayer, you can either choose just a battle, or an actual
scenario. In battle mode, you get a set amount of points to
purchase units. Overall multiplayer was handled quite nicely.
However I felt there was lag most of the time, even when playing
across my own network.
To be honest, I love strategy games, especially historically based
ones. I was completely devastated by the lack of creativity and the
quality of this game. The game often crashes, issued commands
sometimes don’t behave the way you want them too, and the
game is too slow and tedious. Overall I have a hard time
recommending this game to anyone.
After what seems quite some time, Eidos has released Braveheart.
The game is based on the multi-award-winning motion picture of
the same name. The movie certainly had audiences’ hearts racing
during the barbaric and action packed battle scenes and heart
wrenching love scenes. I, on the other hand, felt that if a game
developer would produce a game based on the film with as much
action, blood, guts, and gore it would be a resounding success.
That’s exactly what Red Lemon and Eidos had planned to do.
The storyline to Braveheart has not been set exactly as the movie
told it. Instead, it has been slightly adjusted to allow more freedom
in terms of gameplay. For example, it gives the possibility of
winning or losing. The storyline is therefore this: It is the 13th
century and times in Scotland have just turned for the worse. The
king of Scotland has died without having a son to take the throne
from him, so the ruthless king of England, Longshanks, has taken
the throne for himself and plans on making Scotland bow to his
command. You, on the other hand, have a different plan. Your job,
as the leader of a clan of Scotland, is to trade, build weapons,
research, defy enemies and lead them to victory as Scotland’s
When I first entered the game, I was pleased to see a bright and
simple interface. This certainly motivated me to get stuck in the
game. The options menu was made very simple to easily configure
your pc’s capability. I eagerly clicked on Single Player and then
set the type of game I wanted to play with ease. It was not long
before I was in my first game of Braveheart. I felt my Celeron 450,
Voodoo2, 64megs RAM would be enough to handle the game and I
was right. I had no problems with lag throughout the game. The
graphics were very well done in all aspects of the game, which
nowadays, is vitally important to the success of a game. Although
there was room for improvement in the graphics of the battles,
towns, and people, I was not disappointed.
The game itself is a mix of all types of games from Civilization to
Myth to Heroes of Might and Magic. You're able to command your
troops to produce goods or send them on trade routes. You can
also send spies to other clans and train armies for battle. The
range of different things you can do is huge. In the beginning,
everything is very complicated with many little icons and
commands to get you in and around the game (I strongly
recommend taking the tutorial before you begin your first game).
While you are busy running your clan by building new weapons,
researching new things, foretelling the future and preparing
armies, you are confronted by situations that require you to zoom
in on a location and command your units. This brings you into the
“Myth” and “Might and Magic” genre of gameplay where you
control your units or armies to move, attack, defend, etc. This
certainly adds originality to the game. Overall I think the graphics
are well above average.
When taking a close inspection of the sound in Braveheart, I was
not disappointed in any way. The speech of Robert Bruce in the
tutorial was crisp and clean. All the other sounds like unit
acknowledgements, “clicking sounds” were all signs of much
attention paid by Red Lemon. The only thing I found that bugged
me was the lack of variety in the unit speech. There is also no
support for 3d sound engines or surround systems, which I guess
weren’t a huge necessity. Other than that, I had no big problems
with the sound. In fact, I relished the sound of a well-pronounced,
crisp voice of Robert Bruce. In most games the speech is too
The controls for Braveheart are simple yet extremely redundant.
The only important keys used in the game are your basic
directional keys. The mouse does the rest of the work. And what a
lot of work at that! You spend most of your time clicking madly
away at all the icons and dragging items across the screen. This is
justified by the fact that most of the game is spend outside of the
rendered world. Besides that, the controls of Braveheart are not
that intense. This game focuses mainly on using your brain to think
up strategic moves. All that the controls are there for, is to make
what you see in your mind, appear on the screen. That’s if your
mind has anything to show.
Braveheart supports all types of multiplayer options, Tcp/Ip, IPX,
Modem and Internet are the sum total which is exactly what I was
looking for. Eidos has definitely focused largely on the multiplayer
aspect of the game and I feel it has paid off. They give you the
chance to charge your fearsome armies at you best friend and
watch him fall to your might in a LAN game. If thrashing your local
friends isn’t enough, you can spread the chaos to the Internet.
Using M-Player’s online game services, you can be battling against
armies from all over the world without any trouble. The
multiplayer section is certainly a strong point in the game and I
think Eidos deserves the much credit for it.
It may have been a long wait for me, but Braveheart is finally
here. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to all I had hoped, but it is still
a very well done game. For those of you who enjoy Civilization
type games, then this is definitely the game for you. And for the
action lovers, there’s plenty of combat, although the battles aren’t
nearly as exciting as in the movie. Overall, I think Braveheart is an