previews\ May 9, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Legion - PC - Preview

Forget cries of ‘Hail Caesar’ ­ there’s a new emperor in town! Or, at the very least, a pretender who seeks to capture and bask in the ancient glory that was Rome.

Legion is a turn-based strategy game from Slitherine Software and Strategy First. The game purports to transport players back to the time before the rise of the Roman Empire. The goal is to take control of a tribe, city-state or league in Italy in the days prior to Rome’s domination of the known world. Through manipulation of resources, a bit of diplomacy and superior war skills, you can traverse history, from the Gaul campaign to the shores of England and Scotland.

(For an interview about the game, please see

This game incorporates some of the best elements of civ games and strategy games. Some of the features include:

· Huge game areas with accurately mapped real world locations. All maps are based on real atlases of the ancient world.
· Battles based on historical data with hundreds of men are displayed in epic battles.
· Each game can have up to 20 AI opponents, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, based on the nations of the time period.
· Three-dimensional battlefields with terrain elements that can affect the outcome of battles.
· A detailed economy.
· Great replayability.

Of course, the real test of what this game can or cannot do comes in the form of playing the game.

The preview was of a beta of the game, meaning that not everything is in place as of yet. That is understandable, but when all elements are ready, this could prove to be a solid outing for fans of the genre, especially those who have not had the chance to play this type of game before.

In many regards, this game does fall into line with other programs that have civilization elements. There are four resources that need to be collected ­ iron, wood, cloth and food. You will have to make technological advancements in order to create new units for combat.

And because there are a number of nations thrown into the mix, you will have to develop your diplomatic skills. Concession will have to be made, or you had best have an army ready for the battle.

The player interface is designed in such a manner as to make this game accessible to most players with a minimum of tutorial time. If you have ever played this type of game before, you will be able to jump right in.

Graphically this program does not approach the fluid three-dimensional look of a title like Shogun: Total War. The terrain elements are well done, but the people look a little flat. The game tries to emulate a three-dimensional feel through the use of shadows.

Terrain elements are important to use during combat, which is a nice feature.

Sound was lacking during this build.

Legion definitely has the shaping of a solid turn-based strategy game. It may not have the top-drawer graphical elements, but it does have an incredible arena of historically based scenarios in the offing. It will be interesting to see what this game can do once everything is in place. In the meantime, though, enough is there to speak of a promising game experience.  

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