Spellcross is basically an old fashioned fantasy turn-based
game brought to you by SCi, the same people that created the
fabulous Carmageddon. Knowing this, I was anxiously looking
forward to this game. As a fan of turn-based strategy games I
was even more excited.
The first thing to strike me was the fact the game runs in
DOS/4GW and not in a modern DirectX fashion. Today, a game
that is DOS native is just plain old-fashioned. That aside, the
gameplay is full of flaws. It starts out with the slow and
repetitive manner of play (point, move, shoot, kill, end turn)
and ends with the dull graphics and the annoying sound
effects. Nonetheless, it can be fun for the diehard TBS fan.
As I mentioned before, the graphics are best described as dull.
The units are not animated, and when they move, it looks as if
they are just copied from one place to another. There are 70
playable units, each with their own characteristics, but they
don't add anything special to the game. The terrain is actually
well painted and looks nice. It's a shame the units look as if
they were stapled to it.
The sound in the game is among the most annoying I have
ever heard. Unsurprisingly, the units respond with a short
phrase each time you move them or attack with them. The only
problem is that they only have 2 or 3 phrases. And when you
play a game such as this, when the gameplay consists of
moving the units and attacking ALL THE TIME, it becomes very
annoying very quickly. The midi sound is ok, although it's
nothing special. In short, the music is best described as
functional, no more.
If I had to describe Spellcross in one word, it would be "dull".
You see, the manner of play is very repetitive most of the time,
although at times it's quite fun.. Real TBS (Turn Based
Strategy) games fans would find this game pretty rewarding.
On the other hand, hard-core Starcraft (Real Time Based) fans
will find this game boring and very slow. The game consists of
two parts: the mission itself, which is called the tactical phase,
and the planning & management part, which is called the
strategic phase. In the strategic phase you choose which areas
your scientists will research, buy more units, control resources,
and basically control your army. The mission itself is a normal
turn based game, with action points and so called "strategic
planning". The missions are actually quite tough, and you often
find yourself loading games over and over again. The AI isn't
very good, and you sometimes feel as if the programmers just
put lots of enemies on the screen instead of putting less
enemies and coding a decent AI code for them.
At first, I thought this game deserved a low score, but after
playing it some more I actually started enjoying it. If you're one
of the last fans of the disappearing TBS genre, I suggest you
grab this one.
It's actually a half-decent game. It needs some more polishing
in the graphics department, and maybe in the gameplay
department, but it's still rewarding and quite fun.
There is no multiplayer support in this game, which is
surprising for a strategy game. It's almost common place now
to include multiplayer in these types of games.
If TBS games aren't your cup of tea, don't bother. Otherwise,
it's a half-decent game, but it won't resurrect the dying