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Powermonger (Classic Game)

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      18.08.2009 15:36
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      An interesting and entertaining early real time strategy game

      Released in 1990, Power Monger uses a variant on the engine used by God-Sim game Populous, with a central gaming landscape surrounded by a minimap and numerous command buttons, as before. This time around however you play as a medieval military commander rather than a deity, and must capture enemy towns, raise armies, produce food and develop and manufacture military and farming technologies including bows, pikes, cannons, ploughs, and fishing boats. The terrain can now be rotated around in 90 degree angles a well as zoomed in and out of, though trees, structures and people are still 2d sprites, and the game also creates the impression of being a living, breathing world, with individual people going about their business with their own homes, occupations, allegiances, ages and so-on. The game also includes weather conditions as well as wild game which can be hunted for food, with food being a necessity if you are to avoid allowing your armies and townsfolk to starve to death. Food can be gathered by farming, fishing, hunting or raiding enemy settlements, whilst tools and weapons are produced at blacksmiths and workshops after and by chopping down trees and mining.

      Power Monger mixes micromanagement with real-time strategy, as you must send out your armies to crush opposing armies and capture towns with an aim to increasing your manpower, resources and equipment, being careful not to overextend your supply lines as you go. You can control up to four armies at once, each led by separate war captains, but should a war captain be killed your army will disband, your recruits returning to their hometowns. It's a fun and engaging game, but it can be difficult to keep track of all your forces as your number of armies multiplies, and controlling your various squads can feel clunky and frustrating at times. That said the game remains innovative and entertaining, with appealing micromanagement, a (for the time) hugely realistic gaming environment and enjoyable battles, with little angels winding their way up to the heavens from the corpses of fallen soldiers amidst the carnage. The sound effects and music are rather basic and the graphics are obviously dated looking now, but Power Monger remains and inventive and endearing game and is one that would go on to have considerable influence on both future real time strategy games and creator Peter Molyneux's subsequent Black and White series.

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