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Battle For Troy

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Strategy


PC Review - 'Battle for Troy'

by Justin on May 20, 2004 @ 1:17 a.m. PDT

Genre : RTS
Developer : Zono
Publisher : ValuSoft
Release Date : May 3, 2004

Real-time-strategy games have the potential to be great. With relatively simple controls, developers can focus on unique features, complexity in units and structures, a good storyline, detailed graphics, an involving soundtrack, and a polished, easy to use interface. Warcraft, Command & Conquer and Starcraft were a few (and hardly the only) noteworthy 2D RTS games; although they borrowed many elements from each other, they managed to seem like entirely different games due to the atmosphere and universe revolving around each particular game. Arguably, Warcraft 3 is perhaps the reigning champ of 3D RTS games currently, and that makes it open to direct theft from developers hoping to slap together a quick game that’ll be published as a budget title.

The problems arise when the game doesn’t innovate at all, and are amplified when the parts of the game that are ripped off aren’t even all that great.

Battle for Troy could have been a very good RTS; perhaps no one would expect it to steal the hearts of PC gamers, but it could have been a great way for the RTS-starved to fork over twenty bucks. The game revolves around either the Greeks or Trojans; you may pick either side and follow their campaign to your heart’s content. Admittedly, the Trojan War is a mostly untouched subject as far as RTS games – or even games in general – go, so a solid game might have actually been pretty interesting.

In Battle for Troy, you’ll find that the developers didn’t try to stray too far from “safe” real-time-strategy territory. You can construct buildings, pump out units, slay your enemies in battle, and collect gold to fuel the whole cycle. Both the Trojans and the Greeks play similarly, with your typical soldier, archer, and healer-type units, to name a few. There are a couple of “hero” units that end up being a smidgen tougher than any regular old troop, but their abilities and slightly better strength and defense only make them marginally important.

The biggest problem, though, is the sheer stupidity of your units. Tell them to move to a certain spot – they’ll not only go there, they’ll move twenty feet beyond your mark, and then proceed to spread out over a radius of another thirty feet, probably starting up a few fights before they’re settled and manage to have a third of your army murdered by a typical group of enemies.

They’re no better in battle as they are in following orders. You can have ten units surrounding two, but you’d be lucky to only lose a few guys. Your men will run in mindlessly and attack, then stand still (entirely vulnerable to attack, not to mention blocking other units that are ready to attack) until he’s ready to swing his sword again. Did I mention there’s apparently no room for troop formations? Ha! Who needs those, right?!

In a slightly more interesting move, you won’t be doing much harvesting of resources, as compared to other RTS games. Instead, you’ll be taking over small villages, which in turn provide you with a steady amount of income as long as they’re still in your grasp. Of course, problems arise when your villages get attacked and your already half-dead army must be used to defend the place, or else the cash flow comes to an abrupt stop. It’s rather annoying, and although any surviving units do move on from mission to mission, it barely makes a difference since you often lose so many in the process.

The mission objectives are pretty bland and uninspired. Collect this, collect that; kill this, kill that; protect this or that at all costs. Due to the (ahem) ravishing nature of your troops and the plain missions, the only real strategy here is the traditional “Build up your units until you can’t anymore, and then let ‘em loose.” As you might expect, this gets tiring very quickly, making one ask himself the question of whether or not this is really worth his time. It’s also worth noting that it’s impossible to save during a mission. This is ridiculous and unacceptable in today’s strategy games, but you are expected to play through entire missions in one sitting.

The graphics in the game are not stunning, but they are more than adequate. Everything looks good and moves smoothly from a distance – unit animation is solid, models are fairly detailed, textures are crisp, and little touches like patches of 3D grass help to bring you into the experience to some degree. You may actually zoom in to a surprisingly close view using your mouse’s scroll wheel, and although this view is unpractical and just about impossible to use, I was a little impressed in the level of detail in all the graphics. Sure, I wasn’t expecting (nor did I get) anything near the level of Far Cry or Half-Life 2 character models, but each unit is indeed fully rendered pretty well along with his surroundings. The levels don’t look too bad either. You’ll traverse rocky areas, grassy fields, sandy spots, and broken ancient ruins. The game looks good, overall, and you don’t need an amazing graphics card to run it well.

The sound isn’t that bad. The background music is more than bearable, and while it’s rarely truly amazing or even catchy, it gets the job done. There are also, naturally, voice-overs that come into play when units are selected, go into battle, claim victory, and so forth. They’re corny, but not unsurprising, considering they seem to be a sort of cliché in the genre. Sound effects are fine and manage to portray the action as best as possible without being too intrusive. While not spectacular, you shouldn’t need to worry about plugging your ears for Battle for Troy’s sound.

Overall, Battle for Troy is about as average as a strategy game can get. It’s certainly not terrible, and there’s a lot of missions spread across two campaigns to enjoy – if you enjoy it, that is. The graphics and sound are fine, but the gameplay is far from perfect, and doesn’t try to push the boundaries of ingenuity. If you’re looking for a decent strategy game to quench your thirst, it’ll only run you twenty bones, but might be better off picking up something else instead.

Score : 5.0/10

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