Thursday, July 21, 2011

Return Of The King

No, Return of the King doesn't refer to the ascension of Aragorn to the throne of Gondor. Ha ha.

This is the scenario that finally gives you control of King Roland of Enroth. You may recall that Roland was the good brother in Heroes II. After he won the throne of Enroth, he married Catherine Gryphonheart of Erathia and was kidnapped by the Kreegans.

Roland was ultimately freed from captivity by a group of heroes in Might & Magic VII. Joining with Gen. Kendal, Roland must capture the inferno cities across the lake and push the Kreegan armies into Gelu and Catherine's line.

The scenario starts with a pleasant surprise. Roland's voice! It seems New World Computing kept the same voice actor from Heroes II.

The map is extremely angsty. For starters, Roland is haunted throughout the story by the torture he suffered at the hands of the Kreegans. Basically, they whipped him to a bloody pulp and then used spells to heal him. Ouch. Still, Roland ends up fairly balanced for a man who nearly lost his mind.

He mentions seeing Archibald's face in his dreams and remembering how alone he felt when the throne of Enroth was usurped. It's an interesting bit of continuity. However, it also makes me wonder how different the game would have been if NWC had kept the original storyline involving the Heavenly Forge, Kastore, and Archibald. At least, the conflict would have been even more personal.

This map also gives you control of the infamous Gen. Kendal. He's actually not too terrible in battle (although he starts with no spell book). How do you survive so long without magic, general?

Leave it to the game to insult him one final time. If you look at Gen. Kendal's profile, it mentions that he was the only regent to ever let the gates of Steadwick fall. Other than that, the game doesn't give Gen. Kendal any further character development.

The actual battle is fairly straightforward. The inferno heroes will utilize a warp gate and take over your towns. However, the map designer was pleasant enough to make this a two-way monolith. This means you can use the same gate to attack the inferno cities.

Once all of the inferno cities on the other side of the lake have been captured, make your way for the island in the center of the lake. The last city is strong, but you should have plenty of conflux troops at your disposal.

I'm a little annoyed that the conflux heroes are all faceless entities with no interesting personalities. They just exist. During the Xeron scenarios, the conflux heroes serve as antagonists. However, you never interact with them face to face. Similarly, when you play as the heroes of Erathia, the conflux heroes just blindly serve you.

Who are they and where did they come from? Why are they helping Roland and Catherine? It just further highlights how terrible it was for NWC to scrap the Forge and shoehorn the conflux town into the Armageddon's Blade storyline.

No comments:

Post a Comment