previews\ May 21, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Celtic Kings Rage of War - PC - Preview

Celtic Kings blends strategy, role-playing and adventure elements into one incredible experience. Both RTS and role-playing gamers will enjoy the experience of becoming the young Warrior Larax, who after losing his beloved one, has given himself to the goddess of war, Kathubodua. There are two modes of gameplay within Celtic Kings: adventure and strategic mode.

In strategic mode, you play against computer opponents or other players on the Internet exercising your strategic and tactical skills to achieve objective victory. You train and command many units, hire and develop heroes, acquire powerful artifacts and conquer strongholds and villages. Launch large-scale military campaigns against your foes to bring them to their knees. The game-play in this mode is similar to the traditional RTS gameplay.

In adventure mode, you control a party of heroes and explore the world as the struggle between Caesar and the Gaul chieftain evolves. Which side will you support? Will you betray your allies of yesterday? Will you follow the mysterious druids as they request your assistance? Command strongholds and large armies; take risky missions behind the enemy lines. Find powerful artifacts to support you. Make friends and foes as you try to reveal who you are and who you want to be.


Some features include. A large world consisting of many maps, in which players can navigate at will through a combined RTS and RPG experience, Two sides to play with - Roman and Gaul LAN and Internet games with up to 8 players. Random map generation In-game scenario/adventure editor. Support for 5000 units on the map.   Support for 1024x768 or 1280x1024 with thousands of colors. Textured 3D terrain with lighting that allows landscape views of unique quality. Two zoom levels for better view and control. Three different seasons selectable for any map. Integration of character development and major battles is a nice feature that gives your armies the ability to learn or gain experience form the heroes that command them.  This gives them an edge when it comes to battle.  I also liked the ability to train your units to increase their levels.  For example it's much easier to win a battle if you have higher level of units then sending in a bunch of level one novices.  This feature along with attaching units to the heroes makes for some very interesting strategy building.


Now keep in mind that not all the features were available at time of preview, but this is an idea what I believe the developers are shooting for in the final release.  From what I can tell from the many hours of gameplay that I have experienced, they seem to be right on course.  The graphics were pretty decent and I enjoyed the music and sound. A manual did not come with the preview copy but after the in game tutorial, I was commanding my armies in no time.   I hope the Tutorial is as good if not better in the retail version. My biggest concern is the ability to have large-scale battles in this case, according to the web site of up to 5000 units.  Nice goal to shoot for but in any other multiplayer game that I have played, the hosting computer just can't ever seem to keep up.  The true test will be in the final release.


If the game delivers what it promises, this should be a hot summer release for fans of the genre!

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