Myth: The Fallen Lords review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
Support The Computer Show and get paid to surf the web. Click on this Big Bang ad!
Myth: The Fallen Lords
Bungie software has made its reputation in the Macintosh arena with games like Marathon, Marathon Infinity, and Marathon II Durandal. Most of these games when compared with current PC games held thier own, but did not hold your attention. Bungie survived mostly by being one of the only companies writing games that when compared to other Macintosh games were clearly outstantding. Bungie was a company in search of the holy grail of computer games
Myth captured the imagination of the gaming public and the game reviewers. This tremendous response was not due to the marketing genous of Doug Zartman, the Bungie "Director of Publicity Engineering." Or was it?
Doug simply and quietly got the word out that his product was going to have permanent effects on the playing field. Characters hacked to ribbons would remain in pieces where they fell along with the volumes of blood that would stain the grass and rivers red in the wars that his characters would play in. Other unique features of the game sought to further its love affair with media and fans. So few were surprised when gore and innovation won many of the coveted Strategy Game of the Year awards.
We mentioned the genre of this game is real-time strategy. Myth is not another Command and Conquer or WarCraft knock off. Myth is a game with its own flare and game play.
The game play reminds me a lot of
The cast of light characters include grenade weilding dwarves who a poor melee fighters, archers who throw arrows and die quickly in melee, and warriors who excell only when face to face with an opponent. The dark caracters include Forest Giants and thrall, a low level evil fighter.
Terrain effects fighting giving those on the high ground the advantage in greater missile range and better defense. Certain terrain slows down advance, while trees obscure the line of sight of missile troops.
Myth has its problems. The control of troops is hampered by the cinematic 30 degree camera angle, awkward troop selection and positioning controls. Archers and dwarves, both which have ranged weapons of arrows and bombs, can loose their missiles on your own troops when left to their own devices or are positioned incorrectly. The single player game has no option to play as the bad guys, no adjustment of enemy artificial intelligence making the game unduly difficult for the new player or neophyte game player. Some have named the game the most difficult strategy game of 1997.
There are two sides, the evil dark side lead by Balor and the good light side lead by you in the single player game and by two opposing humans in the multiplayer game. The narrator peals back the veneer exposing the rotten core composed of a litany of misdeeds in a seven year war between light and darkness. Each mission comes with its own briefing of the goals and conditions facing the combattants.
The maximum pixel resolution is 640x480 with 16-bit color. If you kill someone and hack them to bits, blood spurts, heads and limbs become detached and fall on the ground. The blood stains the grass and the heads and limbs fly off and remain on the ground. The stains of blood and piles of remains are permanent additions to the battlefield.
AnimationThe animation can support free form movement over a three dimensional landscape that incorporates hills and valleys. The physics model makes things like grisly decapitated heads roll down hill along with grenades. So you had better be careful throwing grenades up hill. Another advantage is the tactical advantage of the high ground for defense and the offensive volleys of archers.
The animations of 6 frames per spite make the animation somewhat less than fluid, which you achieve at about 15 to 24 frames per second. Movies are 24 frames per second and television is 30 frames per second.
Voice ActorsA narrator with a gravely voice who sets the scene is one of the few scripted voice talents. Other voices heard are more in the avenue of sound effects.
Sound EffectsThe normal blood curdling screams and shrieks, pounding explosions, the twang of bow strings, thunks of arrows striking flesh, and steel on steel.
UtilitiesMyth supports Windows 95 native, Windows NT, 3Dfx Glide/Voodoo, DirectDraw, DirectSound, and DirectInput. A rendition patch is available on the web site.
Multi-player FeaturesPlay multiplayeer over a LAN, modem, direct serial modem, or TCP/IP. IPX game play would have been a good addition to the platform. Up to sixteen human players can compete in all out death matches, king of the hill, steal the flag, or team competition. There are six online rooms at www.bungie.net, where you can find hundreds of players from all over the world hanging out waiting to play a game together at any time of the day or night.
Like the trades in major sports, you can trade troops prior to the game to alter the troop composition of your armies and make every encounter just a bit different from the previous ones. There is a time limit with varying victory conditions and statistics, including number of kills vs deaths, number of kills, time occupying the hill or possessing the flag or baton. Everyone can compete for positions on the leaderboard. The top eight on the leaderboard are published on the site's front page.
The squeemish need not apply for the online game, since the banner reads: "Kill your enemies. Kill your friends' enemies. Kill your friends." It is certainly not the kind of thing many fundamentalist preachers will recommend for children, but then its "only a game."
Cheats, Hints, WalkthroughGreg Fortune, Computer Gaming World, issue number 164, March, 1998, pages 248 - 253.
ReferencesRob "Berserker" Smith, PC Games, volume 5, number 2, February, 1998, page 70, A- (92%). Dan Simpson, Boot, volume 3, number 2, February, 1998, page 84, 8/10 (80%). Editors, Computer Gaming World, issue number 164, March, 1998, page 84, Strategy Game of the Year Award
Please send us your comments and suggestions.