reviews\ Oct 31, 1999 at 7:00 pm

Seven Kingdoms II: The Fryhtan Wars - PC - Review

In the world of Seven Kingdoms II, you are pitted against seven of the most vile breeds of monsters to ever roam the land. You start by selecting a human race in one of four categories: Eastern, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Northern European. Each of the four are further broken down into three sub-groups. Choosing a sub-group is pretty important as it determines what types of heroes, buildings, advantages, and disadvantages you will have to master through the course of the game.

Seven Kingdoms II is not just another game of conquest; okay, yes it is. But, you can conquer the world anyway you want, from brute force to espionage, almost anything is possible. One thing I found disappointing was that when you start out the game, you start a tutorial to learn how to use the Fryhtans -- only to discover that was the last I would use them upon starting a single player campaign.

Playing a campaign can quickly become very involved once you start developing your troops. Unlike Warcraft or Starcraft, your troops develop skills that they keep as long as you want or need them to. This tends to involve you a bit more into what your armies are doing and how they are progressing in the course of the game.

Graphically the game was okay. I understand that the graphics were updated from the original Seven Kingdoms; here are the changes as I see them:

Their buildings have been improved in quality and they offer you the ability to view them in two different sizes, which is handy if you have your resolution cranked way up.

The number of building types has improved greatly. There are probably close to 25-30 different types of buildings you can create through the course of the game.

The numbers of different troops you command has also increased, giving you control of possibly 36 unique units. I believe that is a record for games of this type.

The game is fairly easy to learn, but difficult -- frustrating even, to master. The first thing I did was run through the tutorial that runs after you start up the game for the first time. A tutorial that teaches you how to use the Fryhtans, so I stuck with the Fryhtan tutorials all the way to the end. By the end of all those tutorials, I was really looking forward to playing the bad guys. And then, I found out I couldn’t be the bad guys in a single-player campaign. So, back to basics with the Human tutorial, which, by the way, is a tutorial I strongly recommend, even if you have already played the original Seven Kingdoms.

Once you learn Seven Kingdoms II, it is time to start trying different strategies to find out what works best with your variety of humans. Will you assassinate, obliterate or subjugate your way to the top? I can’t begin to express what the AI of this game is capable of, I have been playing for almost a month now and keep discovering new strategies.

In all fairness when I first started this game, I really thought it was another terrible War/StarCraft knock-off. After I started to see all the options available, I knew that this game was a breakthrough in the way real-time strategy games would be played. If you would prefer to waste time playing the same old strategy game, then you can still do that with the Fryhtan Wars. You can create a random mission editor and go slug it out -- or one better, you can go head-to-head. The single-player customization options are very convenient to tailor a game to anyone’s taste.

You really can’t judge Seven Kingdoms II by its cover. At first glance, it looks like every other RTS out there. After delving deeper into the game, I found one of the most addicting Real-Time Strategy games out there today.

Installation 9 no problems with Win95, but lost a point for adding icons to the desktop

Game Play 9.5 started pretty easily, tutorials were helpful

Graphics 5 in this day of killer video cards, I would like to see more

Sound 9 some of the best game music I have heard (in the top 3)

Concept 10 with nearly limitless combinations and possibilites

Difficulty 10 a walk in the park or a blood bath - 100% customizable

Value 10 if you like strategy games, then this is worth your time and money

Overall 8.9


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