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Disciples II: Dark Prophecy

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Infogrames
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Disciples II: Dark Prophecy has wonderfully detailed graphics. The main interface screens are all beautiful hand drawn bitmaps, with clearly labeled buttons and lists. All portraits in the game are of suitably colorful characters, with brave looking heroes and menacing villains. It is easy to see that the game world was crafted with loving care, as it really shows in the graphics department.

Animation in the game is restrained yet expertly done. All movement on the map, as well as all combat, is displayed as short, vivid and detailed animations. Although the main map can become so busy that you can't even find your heroes, you can toggle flags that identify them on or off with a convenient setting.

Sound effects and music are appropriate for the fantasy style game play, and provide the right amount of tension or relief based on what is occurring on screen. When you select a hero in the main screen, they acknowledge you with a short greeting, and as armies clash on the battlefield, sound effects correctly sync with the displayed animations.


Similar to other fantasy turn-based strategy games, namely Heroes of Might and Magic I-III, Disciples II: Dark Prophecy includes three main game play elements: city management, resource management, and combat. Unlike those games, it rarely gets bogged down in the details, and also adds a fourth element, diplomacy.

Since one aspect of city management, building structures, is a fairly small part of the game, once they have all been completed, it is necessary to create a suitable army to defend each city. From then on, cities are mostly used to either create new heroes, recruit new troops, heal and resurrect troops and heroes, or research and cast spells. In addition, cities can transform surrounding land, which makes it easier to acquire resources.

Resources generate cash or mana. Cash is used to hire troops and build structures, and mana is used to research and cast spells. In order to acquire resources, the land surrounding the resource must be of the same type as the people who wish to take ownership of them. This can be accomplished either by possessing cities near the resources, or by planting rods near them. A special type of hero can plant or remove rods, which means it is possible for one side to plant a rod, and for the other to remove it.

But even resources do not make up a large part of the game. What does is combat, and Disciples II: Dark Prophecy offers rewarding turn-based combat. When enemy armies, which are each made of a hero and up to five units, come in contact, they clash. The view changes to a close up, and each side takes a turn based on initiative. It is simply a matter of clicking on an enemy hero or unit to attack it, and after doing so, combat is resolved through an animated sequence. If a hero is equipped with a spell, they can cast it during their turn.

As heroes and units win skirmishes, they gain experience points (XP), and they occasionally level. If required structures exist in your cities, units can progress in rank when they gain enough XP. When heroes level, they can increase their statistics, as well as gain special abilities.

Diplomacy seems to be a small part of the game, and doesn't come into play in all of the sagas (which are campaigns made up of multiple quests) or quests that come with the game. The interface for diplomacy, though allows you to sell items and forge alliances.


Disciples II: Dark Prophecy offers a number of difficulty levels, and these seem to greatly affect how easy the game is. As quests can take a long time to finish, none of them seem particularly easy. The lowest difficulty level should allow most users to successfully complete quests as long as they put sufficient energy into the task.

The game manual is probably the one negative point of this game, and if it wasn't for the fact that all of the spells, structures, and units are well documented inside the game itself (just right-click on them to get all the necessary information), this reviewer would give the game a lower score. As it stands, the manual provides quite a bit of information, including tables with statistics, and all of the upgrades available to heroes. In addition, it covers all of the features of the game, but not in quite enough detail. And this makes Disciples II: Dark Prophecy harder than it should be, which means the learning curve can be quite steep.

Game Mechanics:

Cities offer screens to manage armies, research spells and build structures. The main map allows access to diplomacy, casting spells, cycling through heroes, as well as saving and loading games. The hero screens, which are accessible from within cities or while adventuring, allow you to manage your armies. These screens can be daunting at first, but are easily mastered for the commonly used functions. Tool tips remind you of particular icons uses, which eases the burden somewhat.

The game is easy to install and run. It ran on this reviewer's system with sufficient speed, and did not crash or otherwise behave badly. Disciples II: Dark Prophecy comes with a complete saga, a large assortment of individual quests, it offers both single and multi player modes, as well as a powerful scenario editor. In other words, this is a game you will be playing for a long time!

The reason you will want to play Disciples II: Dark Prophecy at all is because the game play is addictive, and the graphics and sound are of exceptionally high quality. Since game play is streamlined, and it does not get in your way like it can in similar games, you will be less inclined to become bored with the game. And since it offers the tools to create your own quests and sagas, even after you've completed those provided, you will be able to download new ones from the Internet, or create your own.

-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 95/98/2000/XP, Pentium II 233MHz, 32MB RAM, 200MB HD, 16-bit Sound, 4X CD-ROM, 8MB Video

Test System:

Windows 98SE, 400MHz Celeron, 256MB RAM, GeForce with 32MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live! Value, 32x CD-ROM.

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