reviews\ Dec 2, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Hegemonia: The Legions of Iron - PC - Review

Mankind’s departure from Earth to colonize other worlds was once thought of as a major step for the species. But what was once a blessing can quickly denigrate into something akin to a nightmare.

Just as the early colonists to new worlds in Earth’s past sought to severe ties to the homeland and become independent, so too did those colonists. The humans back on the homeworld were unwilling to allow that, and war became inevitable.

There was one last chance at peace and a conference was set for Earth’s moon, but on the way to the conference, the ship of a key ambassador was attacked and destroyed, plunging the inhabitants of Mars and Earth into a fratricidal war. And wouldn’t you know it, lurking on the edge of the solar system, waiting for both sides of the conflict to be at their weakest is an alien race with thoughts of conquering the system.

Hegemonia Legions of Iron, a PC release from Digital Reality, wanadoo and Dreamcatcher, is an real-time strategy game that is visually stunning. But more than that, this is game that will challenge cerebrally in a way few RTS games have in the past.

This is about one side versus another versus another. As such resource management is key. You must colonize other worlds, research technology and balance diplomacy with strategic combat.

The single-player campaign can be played from one of two viewpoints ­ Earth or Mars. Once you have chosen a side, you take on the role of a hero (there are eight male and female heroes available for the missions) and have to accomplish a task. You will be issued orders and must follow them almost to the letter. Well, maybe not, maybe there is a little room for freelancing, but each mission has definite goals, which must be realized in order to move through the game.

You will have to colonize planets to improve population base while developing technologies, and building and organizing a fleet. Heroes can improve with each successive mission and actually enhance chances of success by improving their stations. Crews can also gain experience and become better as the game progresses.

This is a game that has a smattering of many different ideas. The role-playing element raises its head in the hero format, while the RTS elements are well represented with terraforming planets to suit your race (in the single player campaign you can play as either Earth or Mars, but you can play as one of the two alien races in the multiplayer game). You do need to have certain technologies in place to colonize planets or satellites, depending on their surface type.

You can spy on the enemy, lay siege to a planet or try the diplomatic approach. The latter is rather limited in the single-player missions, but does come more into play in multiplayer games.

The biggest initial obstacle to overcome in Hegemonia is the control system. While the game tutorial makes light of these elements, nothing could be further from the truth. This is a game that will take time to learn. Whether working from the strategic two-dimensional map, or winging it in the full-3D environment, this game is complex.

Hegemonia is a game of great depth. Yes, you do have to accomplish several things in order to complete a mission, but how you get from the start of the mission to its completion is up to you. However, time is of the essence. While you are busy, so is the enemy. The game’s AI is very smart and seems to evolve as your abilities within the game increase.

This game is certainly a challenge, but even more so, it is stunning visually. Hegemonia: Legions of Iron has a solid options package, great gameplay and great replayability. While borrowing some of the story elements from previous games, Digital Reality still manages to blend it all into a seamless universe full of wonder, hard work and entertainment.

This game is rated Teen for Violence.


Gameplay: 8.9
While the mapboards may not be as vast as space itself, they are a good size. The cutscenes are very well designed and set up the game nicely. Load times are average for the genre. Though this game takes place within a familiar universe, game players are not plagued with years of space travel to get from point A to point B.

Graphics: 9.4
This game looks amazing. The three-dimensional solar system, while not  entirely built to actual physical reference and with a few embellishments, is stunning to look at. The ship animation is solid.

Sound: 8.8
The vocal characterizations can be a touch off in places, and while there is no real sound in space (it is a vacuum), the game does a good job with special effects sounds.

Difficulty: Hard
Even the tutorial was a bit confusing and required having the manual nearby to work through the fundamentals of the program. Figure on at least a 45-minute learning curve to get comfortable with this game. That may seem like a lot, but you will be rewarded for your efforts with confident game play.

Concept: 8
The conflict idea has been explored before and because of the RTS nature of the game, you will have to take care of resource management.

Multiplayer: 8.2
The multiplayer scenarios can be played through a LAN, the Internet or over the GameSpy network. The game does feature a cooperative campaign, as well as the king-of-the-universe mode of play.

Overall: 8.9
You will have to put in time to learn the nuances of the game but once you get past that phase, you will find this to be a solid RTS game with a few RPG elements. The game is stunning graphically. While this is mission-based, it has depth of play. Like a host of RTS games, this is a program with solid replayability features. It may not have the most original storyline, but it is an excellent game nonetheless.


About The Author
In This Article
From Around The Web
blog comments powered by Disqus