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Crusaders of Might and Magic

Score: 50%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: 3DO
Developer: 3DO
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

The only thing that Crusaders of Might and Magic has going for it is its relatively smooth graphics engine. It supports real-time lighting, and the shadows that fall from your character are pretty neat. However, there are some serious issues with said shadows -- like them “floating” above textures if you look close enough. Eh? The various character models in Crusaders are actually quite good, but I’ve clipped inside almost all of them while I was looking around with the camera. This is a pretty big problem. Despite this, they move very smoothly, which is a big plus. It’s rather cool to see some undead twits shambling across the screen towards you. Some of the lighting and levels look like they were engineered to cause epilepsy and it hurts just to play them.

The voice acting, however, is almost uniformly terrible, and really gets on your nerves after, oh, the fifth person you talk to. Fortunately, the main character, Drake, has a very Bruce Campbell-esque voice and attitude, and it makes the game marginally more enjoyable. The sound effects are similarly marginal, and I suggest you turn them real low so as not to drive you mad.

And I do mean marginally.


This game is a poor man’s fantasy Tomb Raider. You are Drake, you start out in a dungeon as a captive, and you must save the world. This is pretty typical fantasy fare, and the game can’t be slighted for that. If only the gameplay made up for the plot points, it’d be great, right?

Well, in short, it doesn’t. The combat system is tedious and silly (click, attack, run away, click, attack), with the occasional spell to mix it up. The A.I. ranges from brainless to cliff-jumping. The so-called RPG elements add practically nothing to the game whatsoever. And there are almost humorous flubs caused by “level loads” that aren’t quite separate levels. Even at the beginning of the game, you can go back and kill the same monster twice and get another Healing Potion to aid you in your cause. Continuity? Bah. Saving the world from the undead hordes has never been so fraught with linearity and, well, boring plot points and action.

You’re herded through the entire game on a path that you can’t veer from, and because of this, the whole experience point system becomes moot. There are N creatures to kill, and you get experience after you kill M number of enemies, so the designers simply put enough to get you to the level THEY want you to be at. One of the joys of a true RPG is the fact that you can go wander off into the middle of nowhere, slaughter enemies for a while, and come back and totally kick everything’s ass because you’re more powerful than the game expects. Not so here -- well, you can still kick everything’s ass if you know how to click correctly, but it has nothing to do with your level.

I don’t know what happened here, really. The Might and Magic line has always been quite strong in the hardcore RPG crowd, but it transitioned very poorly into the action genre.

But that’s not all. Besides the glaring continuity errors, Crusaders suffers from multiple hall-of-mirror effects, most of them in plain view during the game. And if that wasn’t enough, the doors tend to not work correctly, picking up items with the Action key sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, and in one house, two people proclaimed to me that they were the same person. Perhaps it’s one of those kinds of families. Haystacks make metallic clinking sounds when you hit them with your sword as well. Perhaps Rumplestiltskin had his way with the grain around this world.

The worst part of the game, however, and the part that drives my score down so much, is the pointless wastes of space. You’ll run for a minute and a half through slightly-hilly terrain/dungeon/whatever your current location is to get to the next place. What do you see while you’re walking there? Two, maybe three textures (ground and wall), the occasional shadow, and maybe a coin or two in a dark corner. That’s it. Now, prepare to do this a whole lot. Sound fun?

Didn’t think so.


Once you figure out the timing of the weapon you’re currently using, there is no difficulty. Jump, jump, slay. Dodge, slay. No, really.

Game Mechanics:

The controls for the game are a mix of keyboard and mouse, which actually works pretty well -- until you want to move just a little in a direction you’re not currently facing. Your character does this silly little spin-about thing that drives me mad. After a bit, though, you get the hang of the controls, and they really aren’t that bad. The engine of the game is actually quite good, but the game itself isn’t.

Pass on Crusaders of Might and Magic, and hope that 3DO utilizes this engine for something a bit more, well... fun.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

System: Win95/98, P166 MMX, 32MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 290MB HD space, DirectSound sound card, DirectDraw video card

Test System:

Windows 98 running on a K6-III 450 w/256 MB RAM, 6x24 DVD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster Live!, Creative Labs Riva TNT2 Ultra w/32 MB RAM

Windows Cutthroats Windows American McGee’s Alice

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated