Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars
Review by Al Giovetti
Price: $40 - $60
Genre: Strategy
Release: November 1996
Format: Mac and PC CD
Developer: New World Computing
Producer: Jon Van Caneghem
Programmer: Phil Steinmeyer
Designers: Jon Van Caneghem and Paul Rattner
Lead Artist: Julia Ulano
Publisher: New World Computing
Phone: 800-325-8898
Website: www.nwcomputing.com
Requirements: IBM 486/33 or greater and 100% compatibles (486/66 recommended), 8MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 40 MB hard drive space, DirectDraw compatible SVGA graphics card, Windows 95, (68030 or greater / Power Macintosh (Power Macintosh Native), 8MB RAM, 2X speed CD-ROM drive, 40 MB hard drive space, 13" or larger monitor (minimum 640x480x256) , System 7.x )

History: New World Computing, a division of The 3DO Company (NASDAQ: THDO), is a worldwide designer, developer and publisher of entertainment software. Founded in 1984, New World Computing is renowned for its technologically advanced products, offering the highest level of graphics and audio presentation to enhance the gaming experience. New World Computing has created many hit titles, such as the award winning Might and Magic series, which has sold over 2.5 million units worldwide.

Jon VonCaneghem started New World Computing with an innovative product called Might and Magic with his wife and one other employee. Jon answered support calls personally with his wife answering the telephone. In those days, you could still sell computer software door-to-door to the privately owned software store fronts throughout the country.

Heroes of Might and Magic™: A Strategic Quest swept awards for 1995, including Strategy Game of the Year from Computer Gaming World, Turn-Based Strategy Game of the Year from Strategy Plus, Editor's Choice from PC Gamer, and Golden Triad from Computer Game Review.

Company line: Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars combines elements of fantasy role playing and strategy war gaming in a medieval world filled with daunting enemies to overcome. Players enlist the aide of various "heroes," to lead armies of creatures into battle against opponents and to conquer new territories.

Players will find Heroes of Might and Magic II extremely challenging with many new features, including more game options and difficulty settings, new character classes, new terrain, and larger battlefields. Striking SVGA maps and graphics accompany the beautifully animated characters and cleverly crafted spells and artifacts, delivering superior gameplay. Heroes of Might and Magic II also offers a cunning computer artificial intelligence and customizable computer opponents.

Plot: In the last installment of Hero's, Lord Ironfist secured his kingdom of Enroth and settled in for 25 years of peace. The old lord is dead and his two sons, Archibald and Roland, vie for the throne in a regrettable civil war. Game players choose sides in either solo or up to 6 combatant mulitplayer battles.

One of the sons is evil and has seized the crown and discredited his good brother, Roland, with Archibald's own vicious deeds. Archibald then starts the game with his own heroes and armies based upon his crown. Roland needs to rally the populace by convincing them that he is innocent and his brother the villain in order to raise his own army and heroes.

Skills have been expanded to include espionage, snow, siege, observation, and others provide the game players with many more interesting choices. Each skill has three levels of proficiency. Two new characters also are added to the types of heroes, the necromancers and wizards, who should dice the mix nicely. New terrain types and interactive terrain further the plot. Buildings can be destroyed and battlefields that will scar the land have been added.

Scenarios and missions: The game has 40 campaign scenarios, 50 monster types, 60 spells, and 70 different artifacts. There are 38 new characters. Also new are the two new hero categories of wizards and necromancers. Heroes can now use more spells.

Artifacts: Like in the original game, the heroes can find artifacts scattered though the land which bestow special powers. There are 44 new artifacts for the heroes to find.

Interface: The interface has several special screens from a new castle and structure building screen that allows selection from eighteen structures. A screen for growing or training troops is also shown, similar to the group adventuring screen, where up to twelve groups may move together. Overhead three quarter perspective is used for exploration of the lands with fog of war revelation of terrain.

Combat is fought in a tactical view with the defenders on the right and the attackers on the left. The view is combined overhead and side view. The Combat is not quite wargame like in that it is a stylized representation of a battle in a very confined space. Only one army can occupy the space and a wall can divide the battlefied if you are invading a town. Spells, missile weapons, and melee weapons are used and there is a movement and combat phase based upon movement points.

Graphics: are not the strong point of any strategy game. Nevertheless, the graphics are attractive, highly detailed, and rendered in brilliant color. New World has done an excellent job.

Animation: Making the monsters more lifelike and believable are the new animation frames, up to 24 per monster. Also new for the sons is a fully developed plot with beautifully rendered cinematic cut sequences designed to draw players deeper into the conflict.

Music score: The music score is wonderfully composed.

Voice actors: Huh?

Sound effects: Excellent

Multiplayer will work over hot-seat, null- and phone modem, network and internet play. Game play promises to be faster since in muliplayer mode you need not take turns, which should be difficult to implement. Increased player capabilities allow up to six players to battle via modem, network, direct connect, and the Internet.

Future: 3DO's New World Computing division plans to ship a Heroes of Might and Magic II Expansion Pack in early 1997. And Might and Magic VI, which is scheduled to ship for the 1997 holiday selling season, is already highly anticipated by consumers, retailers, and press.

"Might and Magic is an important, high-quality product franchise that has met with incredible success since it was originally introduced," said Trip Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer, The 3DO Company. "We will continue to expand the franchise with new Might and Magic products over the coming years to enable consumers to build on the exceptional experiences they've already enjoyed from these superb titles."

Journalists: According to Johnny Wilson, Editor-in-Chief of Computer Gaming World, "Heroes of Might and Magic II is the Godfather 2 of computer games-a sequel that surpasses an original that was once thought unbeatable." PC Gamer magazine has already heralded this newest title in the Heroes line as " . . . one of the best strategy games of this year‹or any year, for that matter."

Preview references:
Steve Honeywell, Happy Puppy, ,
Next Generation, volume 2, number 18, June, 1996, pg. 96-97.
New World Page: http://www.nwcomputing.com/heroes2/heroes2.html
Scott Udell, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 54.
Marc Dultz, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 9, February, 1997, pg. 77, 90%.