|The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004
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"For Death or Glory!"
Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Strategy Game
After watching fourteen centuries of war,
the grim reaper has had enough of the battles between the four races who
stand within the realm of the Nanonians. Together, the grim reaper and
the Nanonian King form a compromise that must be agreed by the four powers.
The terms: either choose to live peacefully
from this day forth, or battle each other to the death. Should war be the
path chosen, the last ruler standing will not only be the master of all
the Nanonian Isles, but shall be crowned as heir to the Nanonian throne.
You play the role of one of four great rulers... which path will you take?
use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
|Kingdoms is essentially
not a graphical game. The graphics were more of an afterthought, added
to give Piptol's text-based strategy game an extra dimension. Thankfully,
he's done it very well, and the graphics do indeed work in the way they're
supposed to. The characters are drawn particularly well. The buildings
look okay too.
If I had to criticize
something, it would be how the game looks. Fine, this view allows you to
see all your stats in one screen, and from that point of view is very useful
- but it would have been cool if he had done a more isometric view of the
buildings or something. I'm no graphic artist, so I can't say what would
have worked best, but at the minute, it does look a little plain. I'm not
criticizing the graphics for what Piptol has done, but rather what he hasn't.
No corners are cut, and the graphics look pretty good, but just because
the graphics are not the focus of the game, that's no reason to underachieve.
smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|Piptol doesn't credit
anybody in the game or help file for the music, but I recognized a few
of the sound samples from Civilization 2. Having ripped the sound effects,
it's probably safe to assume that he also ripped the music. Had Piptol
wrote this music himself and made the sound effects, he would have definitely
scored 5 out of 5.
As it turns out though,
whether it's ripped or not doesn't really make much of a difference. I've
never seen ripped music suit a game so well. There are only four pieces,
and they sound superb. Particularly nice is the song he used for the main
game screen - tranquil, thoughtful, and very likeable. The battle music
is another piece you'll get to love, and the title screen music is perfect.
The other piece, for when you die or win the game isn't bad either. The
best part is that the music in unintrusive, so it simply serves to create
atmosphere rather than become the focus of the action.
The sound effects
are even better than in Ghini Run, Piptol Production's flagship title.
The battle sounds are fantastic, with each race having their own death
sounds. Also cool is the atmospheric tweeting of the birds on the main
game screen. Best of all, however, is the very first sound effect when
you open the game - a booming voice (presumably death) saying "Welcome"...
precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
|The high point.
The best thing about this game is just how much fun it is to play. Although
a little simplistic, Kingdoms gives you a great amount of control over
your race, allowing you to do many of the standard strategy game moves
like recruiting soldiers, modifying taxes and spying on enemy races, as
well as more unusual features like gambling with a gold mine and borrowing
money from the other races.
Another cool feature
(which I've never seen in a strategy game of this type before) is npcs.
There are five, as far as I can establish, some help and some hinder. Four
of them come and ask to join your city to perform a function - for a price.
The other visits all the cities in turn, and is part of the alternate ending
in the game.
Kingdoms, in my opinion,
is the first quality QB strategy game. It's the first game that really
compels you to play. It may come across as a little primitive, but it's
creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
|Although the story
doesn't really break any original ground, it's very well told. The story
simply goes into the history of why these four kingdoms are battling it
out. The four races are perhaps a little over familiar, there is a unique
twist in here - the story is in fact narrated by Death.
Death becomes the
"dungeon master" in this game, in that he decides when to "claim the souls"
of opposing races (when they are hopelessly beaten). Because of this, the
story is told in a quite refreshing and exciting way, and alongside the
atmospheric music that really gives Kingdoms something that's lacking in
a lot of QB games of any genre.
|Replay Value (n.)
timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated
again and again
is one area that is lacking in Kingdoms. Although there are four difficulty
levels and two endings, the strategy is too basic to give the game any
long term appeal. Once you've worked out how to finish the game, its no
problem to do it again, even on a more difficult setting. It's essentially
the same balancing act of keeping your people happy, keeping a good supply
of money in case of emergency, and attacking before you're attacked the
whole way through.
strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and
|Related to the Replay
Value in this case, Kingdoms is just too easy, even on the Warlord setting.
What the game is lacking is some decent battle strategy - at the minute,
it's still just a text based numbers game. Perhaps in the much awaited
sequel, we will see some life pumped into the battles.
|Fun Factor (n.)
overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|Usually, when I
write a review, I always look for something to criticize as well as something
to praise. I think, what made this game harder for me to review than others
is that there actually is very little to criticize. The game reaches a
certain standard, and stays there. Other games I've played aim for a much
higher standard, and come crashing down to a lower grade when all the small
glitches and eye sores are taken into account. Kingdoms has no glitches.
No eye sores. Nothing in this game detracts in anyway from what it's meant
to be. The problem is that the game is just a mini-project, and isn't meant
to be the best QB strategy game ever. There's little else Piptol could
have added to change that. He aimed for a resultant, and hit it spot on.
I can't wait for
the sequel. If the end product of the sequel ends up looking half as professional
as this little game, we could be looking at the Command and Conquer of
by Terry Cavanagh
||To solve: 4-5 hours Final Rating:
download Kingdoms (1.17MB), click here.
you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
sure you run "SETUP.EXE" to set the game's operating system and sound settings.
changing the settings, to play Kingdoms, unzip the file and run "KINGDOMS.EXE".
Back to Strategy
out of 35 points
Highs: An atmospheric strategy game that
is debatably QB's best strategy game to date.
Lows: A lack of battle strategy is caused
by the game's auto-battle system.
V Planet! Archive
This is an archive of V Planet, circa November 2004, when the site was last active. This is read-only, and preserved here as part of the QB Zines Archive at Pete's QB Site.
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