Author: Rocco Bowling
Mike: This month, we deviate from our standard diet of action, arcade, card, and puzzle games to try a real time war simulation, Thrones. The strategy game has a lot of polish and is nicely put together, but when it’s all said and done, it’s not as much fun as some similar games out there.
Adam: I agree, Mike. Some shareware games are good enough that they could be sold as commercial. Unfortunately, Thrones is not one of them. However, you may feel differently, so we’ll take you through the game and let you decide. Mike, the story behind the game, if you would?
Mike: Well, Earth has fallen under the power of Hades, keeper of the Underworld. You are the king of one of the last human settlements on medieval Earth, and you must direct your armies to victory over the armies of the undead.
Adam: Thrones has a very easy learning curve, and thanks to the superb manual, I was up and fighting in no time. Thrones also includes several excellent scenarios that you can beat, and you can even create your own scenarios with the battle and army editors.
Mike: You have a great point, Adam. The HTML-based manual is very thorough, and the tutorial scenario is also well done. Between the included levels and the editor, you can be certain you’ll have hours of playing time, too. The website for Thrones even has a “Scenario of the Week” section and other scenarios for download that users have created themselves.
Adam: However, the burning question really is, how entertaining will the playing time be?
Mike: Unfortunately, the answer is “good, but not that great.” The excellent QuickTime-based graphics and sounds allow you to enjoy the game’s setting, but the game play itself is only mediocre.
Adam: For example, when you go to attack an enemy, even putting the game on the rabbit setting will leave you as slouched as a snail. Once the enemies engage in battle, it’s time to plan your battle strategy. But, again, that’s boring, also. The interface is horrible and once the battle begins, you’re left to watch the humans and skeletons fight to the death. When I was watching, though, all I wanted to happen was for the battle to get over with.
Mike: Yes. Planning your strategy is easy enough to do (Option-clicking on your armies brings up a pop-up menu of choices), but you are limited in what you can do. The ugly battle-planning screen is also a far cry from the rest of the game’s superb graphics.
Thrones requires a PowerPC-based Macintosh with 7 megabytes of hard drive space, 13 megabytes of RAM, System 7 or higher, and QuickTime 2.1 or later. The game costs $10 to register, and some parts of the game are crippled until it is paid for. Thrones can be downloaded from http://www.download.com or from the Thrones home page, at http://mgr.simplenet.com/cafe/atropos/thrones.
Mike: Everything about Thrones adds up to a game that, as the clichÃ© goes, “is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
Adam: Well put, Mike. Thrones has well done graphics, and the price is right. Overall, it’s an excellent idea, but it needs a little cleaning up. Add some entertaining music, spice up a few parts of the game, and it’d be a winner. However, as Thrones stands now, The Game Guys cannot recommend it.