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Elves, Aliens and Strategy
Product: Akella Games
Company: Akella
Date: 07/18/2007
Avaliable On:

Though it isnít as big as it was in the late 90ís, the strategy genre has enjoyed a healthy existence and seen entries in just about every setting. Of these settings, fantasy and sci-fi have proven to be the most popular. Whether your tastes lie with elves or aliens, Akella is offering strategy fans games that should appeal to both.

For fantasy fans, thereís Disciples III, the third game in the turn-based strategy series. Disciples III features 150 units to place in your party, including monsters, dragons and heroes. As with other games in the series, your main characterís leadership ability will determine how big your party can get. The combat map has been retooled into a grid-based map. Units will vary in size, with some Ė like dragons Ė taking up large portions of the map.

The sequel will include a number of factions, though only three will be available when the game ships: humans, elves and the demonic legion. Further expansions will add new races.

One of the major changes to the game is that it makes the jump to full 3D. The new models look great and really capture the style featured in the production artwork. The overworld map is now rendered in 3D and contains various monster spawns and towns that your party can visit. You can also seek out structures that your party can conquer. Your party will also have a stronghold that serves as their home base. Here youíll be able to upgrade structures, unlocking new unit types and abilities.

If fantasy armies arenít your thing, Akella is also offering up a strategy game for sci-fi fans.

In Heavy Duty, you are in control of a colony on a distant planet that has attracted the attention of a group of aliens. They arenít too keen on your little operation, so they set out to destroy it and run you off the planet.

Heavy Duty is an action strategy game on a global scale. You begin with a map that shows a global view of the entire planet. From here, you can pull the camera in for a tactical view of a specific area. In other words, the strategic map and the map where you play are the same thing. At various points in the game, youíll have to quickly switch between these two map views. For instance, enemies may begin their attack by flying drop ships and fighters on the global, strategic map, requiring that you send up fighters to engage. If ships are able to get through that defense, youíll quickly have to switch to the tactical map and quickly scramble your defenses.

While in your base, you can recruit new troops or research upgrades. One of Heavy Duty's new twists to the old formula is the inclusion of political structures, which let you communicate with the colonyís leadership. This is important for increasing your funding as well as building up citizen morale, leading to increased recruitment.

Strategy fans looking for something different should keep an eye on Disciples III and Heavy Duty as both look to offer unique experiences.

Starscream aka Ricky Tucker

GameVortex PSIllustrated