Knights of the Cross is a strategic game based upon historic facts and most known Polish novel wrote by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Action of the game takes place in 15th century, the period before and after Grunwald battle in the year 1410, one of most important battles of the medieval Europe and most important for Polish and German history. Knights of the Cross is the name of the warriors of German Order invading Polish lands. The name of the warriors came from they look, white tunics and coats enriched with black crosses. Powerful army of Polish kingdom stands against Knights of the Cross invasion. You are one of the most valuable lords choosing your side. As a knight you have your own army, making use of it in many missions given you by your master - King of Poland or Grand Master of German Order. The war between German Order and Polish Kingdom is a great challenge for all strategists. Each side of the conflict has its own unique set of armament and units; knowledge of weaknesses and strong points is a decisive factor to win the battle. Choosing his favourite side and making use of his tactics and strategic skills, the player may change line of the history!
The game can be played in 2 ways upon start (besides a few other minor setup options), being "In Turns" and "Time Limit". Both game options do not differ all that much except in the fact that the "Time Limit" game has an added restriction of a certain amount of seconds in which you have to complete your moves. If you run out of time the game automatically ends your round and jumps over to your opponent. No idea wether the full game will have the same time limit ( or an amount that you can pre-define upon start ) but in this demo it was set to 30-60 seconds, which turned out being reasonable.
The demo only has 3 missions under the "Campaigns" which is kind of odd since the game jumps back to the main menu after completion of one of the 3 missions. One would figure that if they are seperate missions they would be under "Missions" since they are not following eachother, but that may very well just be a demo issue.
The full game will let you play either on the Polish or German side but in this demo you seem to be restricted to only the Polish team (unless i havent figured out how to change teams yet ;).
The game controls are quite simple. You either select a single unit and left click on the position you want it to move or you click and drag, selecting a group of units. When you click and drag you have to be aware you can command different "types" of troops (foot soldiers, archers, cavalry) that not all have the same raduis. This brings us down to the main aspect of the game. By clicking (and therefor selecting) a single unit you get to see that specific units action radious by way of a yellow field around it poiting out to you how far and where that unit can move to. If any enemy are within "striking" distance they become marked "red" letting you know u can attack/hit those enemy units. It is quite possible to move some of your troops, attack the enemy and then move out again. Cavalry has a different (larger) radios than foot soldiers and also different strenght and armour but seem more vulnarable to arrows and spear. Crossbowmen and archers can attack from a greater distance but they obviously inflict less damage that a close up combatant such as foot soldiers. A crossbow is yet again stronger than a bow but an archer has 2 shots against only 1 arrow from a crossbow. Any of these facts can be checked by right clicking any of your troops to view their specifications such as armour etc..
Besides regular troops of all kind you can also command bombards, catapults and other heavy equipement. All the units in Knight of the Cross have specific strengths and weaknesses so informing yourself which unit is best for what sort of attack/defense is of vital importance (for example a bombard will be very effective against other heavy equipment or for breaching walls, but will hardly inflict any damage on enemy soldiers).
The game has pretty rich and detailed graphics but the maps seems rather small in size but since the game seem to have a specific attack or defense strategy there is no need for "exploring" the map in every corner. Resolutions range from the low end 640*400 to the still smoothly runnning 1024*768 with either 16 or 32 bit colors. The in-game sounds add a nice little touch, especially the running water and flying birds are well done.
Overall the demo gives you a good feel of what the game will be about and midst a few tweaks and additions this could very well be one of the first games that will appeal to turn-based and real time strategy fans.
The game is near completion and is expected shortly (as soon as Cenega inks a distribution deal)
The official specifications provided by Cenega for the Knights Of The Cross are :
- Two independent campaigns, two sides of the conflict: Polish Kingdom and Knights of the Cross
- 49 Polish, 53 German battles played on beautifully rendered environment
- Minimum 50 hours of play and addicting fun
- Each campaign is ruled by a knight with his own army. After each battle he may buy new or improve old units. Choose a unit and buy a new sword, a new armour, a new bow or crossbow for it
- Direction of the wind and its power influence on aiming precision of your bowmen
- Detailed historic units and balanced powers of each side of the conflict
- 23 Polish and 23 German battle maps which can be played in the skirmish mode
- Incredible, amazing battlefields with lots of details such as flying birds and running water
- Changing weather conditions. Rain, snow, storms as well as beautiful sunny weather
- Original, very nice medieval music accompanied by realistic sounds
- Windows 95/98/ME
- Pentium II 233 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- CD-ROM x4
- 8 MB graphic card
- Sound card
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Parkan : Iron Strategy