Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shadows Of The Forest

Shadows of the Forest marks the first appearance of Gelu, the mysterious half-elf captain of Erathia's Forest Guard, in Heroes III. You can't miss him. He looks like a pale Steven Tyler with red hair and zebra print pants.

Gelu's profile states that he is half human and half Vori elf. Of course, when I first played Armageddon's Blade, I had no idea what that meant. To be honest, I'm still not quite sure. It turns out Vori is the frozen island/continent that's north of Antagarich.

The game tells us that elves live in Vori. However, we never see any full-blooded Vori elves in the game. I have no idea if Vori elves appear in Might & Magic VII or VIII. Can someone shed some light on this?

I assume Vori elves have white skin and black eyes. Gelu certainly didn't inherit them from his human family.

But what about the storyline, you say? I'm just getting to that.

Since the nation of AvLee has decided to remain neutral in Queen Catherine's war against Lucifer Kreegan, Eeofol has been able to concentrate all of its forces at the Erathia-Eeofol border. Queen Catherine sends Gelu and the Forest Guard to the AvLee-Eeofol border to pester the Kreegan armies and stretch them thin. So yes, we have another border map.

The overworld design is pretty straightforward. The northern half is green and foresty. The southern half is dark and evil. Gee, I wonder which side belongs to Eeofol.

The scenario itself was very easy to complete. Since Gelu can upgrade any elves or archers he meets into sharpshooters, castle sieges were a cinch. I simply loaded every creature slot with sharpshooters and marched south. Before capturing the final inferno, I spent some time visiting stat modifiers to make Gelu stronger. I have a feeling he'll pop up in a later scenario.

The best thing about this map is actually the various story bits that pop up on the first day of the week.

A mysterious gypsy woman decides to read Gelu's fortune because she thinks he looks funny. I am not making this up. Gelu quickly agrees and learns that he has a dark future ahead of him. The Vori elf has obviously been swindled by the Antagarich-equivalent of Silvia Plath, but he gives her a pouch of gold anyway.

Now, if the fortune teller had been kind enough to inform Gelu that he would be responsible for blowing up something really big at the beginning of Heroes IV, she might have prevented the death of billions.

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