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Game Over Online ~ Medieval

GameOver Game Reviews - Medieval (c) Incredible Simulations, Reviewed by - Jove

Game & Publisher Medieval (c) Incredible Simulations
System Requirements P133, 16MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 82%
Date Published Tuesday, August 18th, 1998 at 11:48 AM

Divider Left By: Jove Divider Right

Medieval is a game that will probably be overlooked by most gamers, due to its non-existent publicity and lack of marketing. However, the reason for this is not due to a poorly created game, but that the game is essentially created by one person with not enough money to advertise. Being a war simulation, the graphics are not spectacular and again most people won't give this game a chance because of this. The game itself however covers an area of historical warfare that has a special type of charm and has rarely been addressed before: medieval England, specifically the Scottish rebellion. The keystone of the game is its historical accuracy, which is an oft poorly designed aspect of many war games. While not the best game designed, Medieval deserves some recognition: maybe one day this developer will get an artist, a production budget and begin turning out some amazing games.

The graphics allow you to distinguish between different types of troops, leaders and heroes as well as different terrain types (which does matter). However, they are certainly not the core of the game. The game also allows for three zoom levels and an overlay of hexes to be placed on the combat map. The completely 2D sprites, which are placed on a flat map similar to old school war games, surprisingly did not get boring to look at while I played the game, and, while they could have been much better, were an excellent job by a one man team.

The sound quality of Medieval is basic, but effective in creating the atmosphere of medieval battle. All sound in the game is handled by wav files and range from medieval battle march music, to battle sounds of clashing swords and dying men. There is no music, most likely due to the lack of a production team and the sound effects perform no useful function, eventually becoming boring. Essentially the effects are non-obtrusive and non-spectacular creating a noticeable void in the game.

The gameplay of Medieval is it's primary asset and is what kept me playing as long as I did. The historical accuracy is unparalleled in this time period by another war game which should attract history enthusiasts, and is what pulled me into the game. Each unit has ratings on defense, attack and moral with each section being split into subsections such as, defense against cavalry. The subsections can also be combined, as in this example: defense against cavalry on high terrain. Other than these three major statistics, Medieval includes ratings for Weight, Formation, Class (militia, veteran, etc.), and fatigue. The basic military units are also affected by their leaders, which include such figures as William Wallace and Prince Dracula. Leaders can rally troops and give a moral and movement bonus to troops in their sphere of influence. Each "race" or civilization has different types of troops which have strengths and weaknesses against other specific types of troops. One example is at the Battle of Sterling Bridge, where the English attempted to put down the Scottish rebels lead by William Wallace and de Moray. Wallace employed pikemen who decimated the English cavalry and won the battle. In a later battle (called Falkirk), when King Edward I himself intervened the Scots were destroyed by the English Long Bowmen. This variety and accuracy is simulated by Medieval very effectively and I found it exciting to change the outcome of historical battles, especially when they were not in my favour. Additional to the historical battles, Medieval also includes fantasy scenarios such as the Robin Hood rebellion. Before beginning a game, Medieval allows you to change the moral of the opposing sides, the AI style (aggressive, cautious, etc.), fog of war, visibility and weather. While in battle, additional "standing orders" can be issued such as charge evasion tactics and close combat counter attack tactics. Additionally, many elements are kept track of during the battle, and are accessible via battle and turn reports. The more major statistics kept track of include men active, men killed, men surrendered, men deserted, fire power, combat strength, army moral, surrender points and victory points. While this game is statistics heavy, the enjoyment of playing it is still high, and I believe that if you are at all interested in military history you will enjoy this game.

One of the best implemented parts of Medieval is its battle and unit editor which allows you to create your own battles and units very simply and quickly. So if you have a longing to sack Hungarian cities with your Mongol hordes, the editor will allow you to do it. I spent quite a bit of time fiddling around with the editor and theoretically it could create almost any battle in any time period and doesn't have to be limited to land. I have begun designing the battle between Sir Frances Drake and the Spanish Armada and so far I have encountered no problems. While it is time consuming to create large and complex battles, this editor will allow you to do it with the most ease possible.

The Multiplayer aspect of this game is essentially hotseat, which can be fun at times, but at others be extremely boring. I've always found war games to have problems with multiplay and Medieval is no exception.

Medieval is not a game that will be enjoyed by everyone, however any war game fanatic will find Medieval to be extremely satisfying and will probably spend a lot of time with it. I didn't expect it to be very captivating, but when I got into the battles I just couldn't leave until every single one of King Edward's men was massacred. The replay value is high due to the amazingly simple editor included in the game and the historical accuracy should satisfy most historians. If you aren't afraid of basic graphics and sound, give Medieval a try: you may be pleasantly surprised.

Note: Incredible Simulations has placed some NEW scenarios for Medieval on their web page. You can pick up these scenarios at the following address:


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