The Shadow of Death is the second expansion pack released for
3DO's highly acclaimed strategy title Heroes of Might & Magic III.
The Shadow of Death is unique in that it also includes the original
Heroes of Might & Magic III as well as the first add-on,
Armageddon's Blade. If you haven't purchased Heroes of Might &
Magic III as of yet, this makes The Shadow of Death package a
must have. If, however, you do already own a copy of the original
game, The Shadow of Death becomes simply an expensive
add-on. In itself, at such a hefty price, is it worth the extra gaming
dollar? Let's find out.
So what does The Shadow of Death offer? It features extensive
gameplay via 86 stand-alone missions and 14 campaigns,
including the original Restoration of Erathia maps, 38 brand new
single scenario maps and 7 Shadow of Death campaigns. If you've
played Heroes of Might & Magic III but haven't tried the
Armageddon's Blade expansion pack, you'll be treated to a
number of new creatures. If you have played Armageddon's Blade,
you'll be familiar with all combat units as well as the usual 16 hero
classes and hundreds of structures. Unique to Shadow of Death are
8 special terrains, each with it's set of unique tactics. There are
also 12 new combination artifacts to go with the 138 magical
artifacts already available. Last but not least, the map and
campaign editor have been upgraded with new features. So,
pending your previous experience with the Heroes of Might &
Magic III game, there's quite the number of features in The
Shadow of Death.
The Shadow of Death storyline revolves around an evil wizard,
Sandro the Necromancer, who has garnered the help of four
unwitting heroes to assemble two artifacts of tremendous power.
You guessed it, world domination is within Sandro's grasp as he
stands at the brink of invading Erathia and AvLee. It's up to you to
find the one and only artifact with enough strength to defeat
Sandro the Necromancer.
Gameplay elements in The Shadow of Death are no different from
the original game. Purchasing structures for your towns, hiring
new heroes for battle, building up massive armies and adventuring
around the land is the order of the day. The only two additions that
make a difference within the add-on are the special terrain types
and the new artifacts. New terrain types include Clover Fields, Evil
Fog and Holy Ground with each providing their own effects upon
the armies doing battle. For example, the Holy Ground adds to the
morale of good aligned troops and reduces the morale for evil
troops. The opposite is true for the Evil Fog terrain. It allows for
new tactics within each battle.
New artifacts include such items as the Cloak of the Undead King,
a garment that improves the hero's Necromancy skill via
resurrection of deceased troops. Also available are items like the
Angelic Alliance, Armor of the Damned and the Statue of Legion, a
precious item that increases creature growth within all your towns.
Visual, audio and multiplayer elements remain exactly the same
as Heroes of Might & Magic III, and the only other feature that has
been improved is the map editor.
Heroes of Might & Magic III: The Shadow of Death is the ultimate
package if you've yet to purchase the original game and its first
expansion pack, Armageddon's Blade. If you own both of those
products, the Shadow of Death is basically a mission pack that
adds some new campaigns and 40 new single scenarios. It comes
at a hefty price if you fall into the second category, but 3DO does
offer a rebate to those individuals who bought Heroes of Might &
Magic III. It's a $10 rebate and the details are available at their
website. In terms of add-ons, Armageddon's Blade was much more
valuable, but The Shadow of Death still offers enough for fans
of the series.
[ 17/25 ] Volume of Enhancements
[ 20/25 ] Quality of Enhancements
[ 07/10 ] Worthiness
[ 16/20 ] Increased Fun Factor
[ 04/10 ] Improved Multiplayer
[ 07/10 ] Overall Impression