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Heroes of Might and Magic III: Complete

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: 3DO
Developer: New World Computing
Media: CD/3
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

As Heroes of Might and Magic III: Complete is simply a repackaging of Shadow of Death along with the Armageddonís Blade add-on, one would expect the graphics to be identical to the previous Heroes III offerings. And one would be correct. The same half-drawn, half-rendered style inundates the game, and the same 2D battles and maps are where everything occurs. Itís certainly not revolutionary, or even much changed since the first Heroes title back in the early 90s.

The same goes for the sound. The music is good, yes, and youíll be humming it more because youíll have heard it so much than because itís particularly good. The sound effects are nothing to write home about, with clangs and clinks and whooshes when you cast spells. The voice-acting during the cut-scenes is decent, if not spectacular, and thereís so little of it anyway that itís not a real factor in the game. The same can be said about the FMV itself -- intriguing, but in the end, nothing special.


Gameplay:

No, where the real joy of Heroes III: Complete lies is in the gameplay. And it has a ton of it. In fact, technically thereís a near-infinite amount of gameplay, as H3C comes with a random level generator.

But I get ahead of myself. When you start up Heroes III: Complete, youíre presented with a few different options. You can play a single mission, of which there are a ton (~150), or play a campaign. There are three campaigns that come with H3C -- Restoration of Erathia (the original title), Armageddonís Blade (the expansion pack), and The Shadow of Death, a campaign that was added to a re-release of the original. Each of these campaigns has groups of missions for another ton of levels.

And if you wear all -that- out, thereís a highly-configurable random map generator.

And if you wear all THAT out, you can use the included Level Editor and Campaign Editor to make your own scenarios and campaigns.

Yes, this is simply a repackaging of older goods. It doesnít matter, really. With this much gameplay in a box, itís worth it.

The gameplay itself, of course, is the same thing that all Heroes fans have come to know and love. The missions range from short to day-long (and thatís in our time, not game time), and from easy to hard. There are tons of different ďsidesĒ you can be on, and you can take over cities from the other sides to get those troop types. Itís all highly entertaining, and itís kept me amused since the original title.


Difficulty:

The difficulty of Complete greatly depends on both your familiarity with the title and the mission at hand. Some of the missions are stacked for you; others are stacked against you. In many cases (not the campaigns, usually), you can change the general difficulty of a level, but that doesnít necessarily address an imbalance in the map. And it takes many hours of play to understand all the dynamics of units, which are useful at certain times, which should be kept in the back, and so on. All of this comes with experience, however, and a good Heroes player will fit right in with this title.

Game Mechanics:

The game is easy enough to control once you know how, and the manuals for all three titles are installed on your machine in PDF format when you install the game. Unfortunately, there are no print versions of said manuals in the box. The menus are easy to understand, and the battles are simple to control. Remember to turn the hex grid on so you can see exactly where you can move, and itís often a timesaver to turn the fast-move option on in battles.

While Heroes of Might and Magic III: Complete wonít woo anyone who didnít like the series before. Itís pretty much a must-buy for those missing the complete set. If you already own Shadow of Death, however, it may be smarter just to pick up Armageddonís Blade. If all you have is the original HoMM3, this is a good purchase; and if you donít have Heroes III at all, whatís wrong with you? Turn-based fantasy strategy doesnít get any better than this!


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



Win95/98/NT4, P133, 32MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 320MB HD Space, 800x600x16bit Video, DX 7.0-compatible sound
 

Test System:



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

Windows I-War: Deluxe Windows Heroes of Might and Magic III: Shadow of Death

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated