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Dragon Throne: Battle of Red Cliffs

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Object Software
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

When compared to more recent RTS's, Dragon Throne is not very impressive. Regardless, the artwork is very good and does an excellent job of conveying the period and general style the game is trying to present. Units and buildings are very well animated and richly detailed. I especially liked how buildings were scaled rather accurately in relation to unit size, something that has bothered me about past games.

The sound is simply incredible. I loved the classic Chinese music and found it refreshing that it was able to sound authentic, without becoming too stereotypical and well...cheesy. During times of peace, a very slow, peaceful melody plays while an upbeat tune kicks in when war breaks out. This is a welcome effect, and one that I wish would be used in more games. For added effect, all the spoken dialog is in Chinese (with English sub-titles).


Dragon Throne takes place in a period in China that should be very familiar to gamers. Taking place in AD 208, Dragon Throne uses characters and events from the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Players will take the role of either the Lui Bei, Sun Quan, or Cao Cao kingdoms, and fight to unite them under your banner.

At its core, Dragon Throne is your typical Age of Empires style RTS. You collect resources, construct towns, and build units in order to raise an army and crush your opponent. However, it does offer a little more in terms of depth, and while it does not breathe new life into the genre, it is certainly welcome.

One of the more interesting elements is the ability to send your field workers to the barracks to train as soldiers. Not only does this allow them to fight in battles, but also when you retire them from service to the kingdom, they are better able to protect their farms. During military conquests, you can also award your soldiers with honorary titles in order to give them experience, and keep them loyal. By researching new technologies, you can increase your soldiers, and peasants' effectiveness.

Diplomacy and city-management also play a big part of the game. This was one of the aspects I enjoyed the most. Fighting wars is fun, but how can you compare that to being able to tax the hell out of the people when you need money, or negotiate with another Warlord, only to stab him in the back later in the game?

Dragon Throne also offers a multiplayer mode, however I was not able to spend much time with it, so I really cannot comment much on it.


Considering my dad is an avid war gamer, I practically grew up around strategy games. However, I found Dragon Throne to be quite a challenge. Thankfully, it was never so difficult that I quit the game or screamed bloody murder over cheapness. I did find it difficult to get used to the dual-map system. One map is used to control you cities, while another is used to move troops and battle. While this is not a new concept, I was not used to it so it took some time to get used to.

Game Mechanics:

I found troop and town management to be very easy and user friendly. Since control is mostly mouse based, there is not a whole lot to comment on. It is responsive and I never had much of a problem. Like difficulty, this is all up to the player. It would have been helpful to have a quick reference card for hotkeys.

Overall, Dragon Throne is a very enjoyable game and something fans of Age of Empires type games may enjoy. It does not do much to push the genre into a new direction, but the style and presentation is enough to push it over the top.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 9X/2000/Me/XP, PII 266Mhz/AMD K6, 64Mb RAM, 16 bit SVGA 4Mb, 450 Mb free Hard Drive, 4x Cd-Rom

Test System:

Windows Me, PIII 350MHz, 196Mb RAM, 3Dfx VooDoo3, 10 Gig HD, 4X DVD drive, Creative Audio PCI

Sony PSOne Dexter's Laboratory: Mandark's Lab? Nintendo GameBoy Advance Army Men: Advance

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated