Product Type: Infogrames PC games
Newest Review: ... and use his wisdom in building up a truly manipulant army of the dead. Something that the necromancers (and the Queen) had not planned... more
#1 Game of all time.
Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)
Member Name: professorlamp
Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)
Advantages: Excellent multiplayer modes
Disadvantages: Long play times
As my favourite game, I hope you are prepared for a lengthy read.
Heroes of Might and Magic III (often abbreviated to HOMMIII or HOMM3) is a turn based strategy game developed by New World Computing. It was released in 1999 and has had numerous releases after but there has been a general consensus/agreement that this game will never be bettered. We're about to find out why...
Although largely a single player game. This game can easily be played multiplayer with people in the same room as you, or online on a game server such as gameranger. I rarerly play it single player anymore as the novelty really has worn off, but with multiplayer with my friends I could play infinitely.
There are many choices of multiplayer. You can play head-to-head or co-operatively against a computer or another human. My preference is co-operatively as there really is nothing better than co-ordinating your actions with your friends so you can truly perform your best in the game.
Being a turn based game aswell, the game allows unlimited time to think of your decisions. This allows all the time in the world to think of the best possible action in the game and assures you that most (not all) of the decisions you make, will be good ones.
This game is set in Enroth. Enroth is a large world that is present in most of the HOMM series as well as the MM (Might and Magic) series. As the game is set in this world, and this was one of the later releases, there has already been a large amount of history generated in the world from the 8 'Might and Magic' games that were released and the 2 previous 'HOMM' games. This lends itself to an extremely vast storyline which carries on to subsequent releases. Below, we will look at the story that is presented in HOMM3
"The King of Enroth has gone missing and thus has left Queen Catherine to rule the land. Whilst the Queen is busy ruling the realm, her father, King Gryponheart has been assassinated and without her father, the stability of the realm is at risk. Queen Catherine takes it upon herself to rally up a large army, and seek out revenge against the evil necromancers which plan to conspire against the rulers of Enroth.
During the rallying of the troops, the necromancers who had assassinatd King Gryphonheart are planning to revive the King as one of the undead. In doing so they hope to learn from him and use his wisdom in building up a truly manipulant army of the dead.
Something that the necromancers (and the Queen) had not planned for, was the true power of King Gryphonheart. During his resurrection, he proved too powerful even for the necromancers and so became a lone member of the undead.
As Queen Catherine finds out about this tragic news through word of mouth, she is forced to ally with the necromancers who performed this evil task and destroy her father before he gets too powerful for the rulers and the people of Enroth."
There are 7 different directions (campaigns) you can tackle this story and it is up to you to choose one. Each campaign tells the exact same story but from a different angle. This large amount of campaigns gives an extremely large replay value which I personally have yet to finish. Given the large amount of levels within the campaign I can recommend it to anyone who is looking to invest there time into an extremely detailed world that can be seen from all angles.
The game itself takes place on a large regional map. You the player take control of a 'Hero' whose duty is to gather an army, civilization and a large amount of resources to defeat the enemy. The armies you gain and civilizations you own are dependent on the type of hero you choose, of which there are several.
When you choose a hero, there are also other things to take into account. Each hero has a different beginning set of skills and attributes, there are four types of attribute in the game and these increase when you level up. These are:-
Attack - This is the physical power of all your creatures that you possess, the higher this number, the more damage they will deal to opponents.
Defence - This is the amount of damage they can take. Physical or magical damage is absorbed with defence, again, the higher the number the better.
Wisdom - This is the power of the spells you cast, more powerful spells not only cause more damage to enemies, but their effects also last longer.
Knowledge - Knowledge is the amount of Spell points you possess. Each spell costs a certain amount of spell points, the better the spell the more spell points it costs so it is important balance out a high wisdom with high knowledge.
When you have learnt the effects of these attributes it is useful to start looking at the sort of hero you would like to possess throughout the game;
Wizard: main focus is on magic and so their spells are usually the most powerful.
Knight: Knights are brave and noble heroes, whilst they can learn magic, they are most accustomed to battle and dedicate their time to martial knowledge
Druid: While druids pursue their magical knowledge, it is their connection with earth that lends them to well developed physical attributes and thus are very good well rounded heroes.
Necromancer: Necromancers are similar to wizards except that they are masters of the undead, the creatures and civilizations they control are extremely different.
Barbarian: Barbarians are interested in little apart from the physical act of brawling, they advanced most quickly with their physial attributes and have a strong attack and defence.
Warlock: Warlocks rely heavily on the pursuit of magical knowledge so again, they are similar to wizards and necromancers...
Witch: Witches have relied too heavily on the use of magic and thus the physical aspects of their army can at times, lack.
Heretic: Heretics are mostly focused on the physical side of warfare but have a tendency to study the art of magic and therefore are quite a well rounded choice.
Once you have chosen your hero, it is time to begin the game. The game as previously stated takes place on a large regional map. throughout the game you must acquire resources, with these resources you will expand and update your civilizations. When you expand your civilizations, you will find that more creatures become available to you. You can recruit these creatures for war. In order to recruit them, you will need gold.
The game's emphasis lies heavily on resource management and it is not merely a 'hack'n'slash type of game. A large amount of your time will be spent travelling the region looking for coal mines, old abandoned golden ore deposits and others with which you will spend on a better army which you will crush your opponent with.
When you expand your civilization, you do so by buying new buildings. All of the buildings you buy perform a function, I won't go through all of them as there are many, many, many buildings. However, here is a short list
Mages Guild - This building allows you to research magic and so you can begin to cast spells as soon as this is built
Statue - With this in your civilization it attracts more attention and earns you more gold per week.
Well - With a well in your possession you will find that you are able to recruit more creatures per week and gain an advantage over the opponent.
So as you can see, although the differences are large. None of the buildings aren't useful (double negative...Whoops!) so it pays to expand your buildings to as far they will go.
Thankfully, being a turn based game, all of the images are largely stationary. There isn't much fancy animation and the art really has a chance to shine because of this. I could not fault the look of a single structure/object in this game, they all look exactly how you'd imagine and even with the lack of animation, it is still impressive.
Due to the graphics and turn-based nature, you will find that this game will run on the majority of systems and all modern systems without pressuring the insides of your precious PC at all.
The music is highly regarded as some of the finest within the HOMM series. Paul Anthony Romero is the composer of the music and manages to capture the essence of each environment, hero and civilization perfectly. The sound effects were done by Rob King who was also the chief composer of the 'Might and Magic' series. Two highly regarded musicians working on one project? Oh yes...
Not only this, if you purchase the CD or download the game from GOG.com you will find that the soundtracks also come in separate file for your listening pleasure, I have listened to these many times outside of the game and even without any images to reference the music to, they are still a delight.
I believe because of the nature of the game, it may not appeal to younger audiences or older players with less patience. It really is a slow game, that is not because of the game mechanics but more because of the tactical choices you must make through the game. If you want instant gratification, look elsewhere. This game is a long-term commitment with many 'short' games lasting at least 4 hours.
Aside from length of play I do not possibly think I could fault this series, unfortunately later releases in the series were disappointing due to changing the product too much. This lost a large fan base and most fans regard this and the second game as the best in the series and also one of the best turn-based strategy gamesof all time.
Summary: The best game of all time.