REVIEW # 00000000 00101001
Only a few games have the power to completely catalyze your attention and suck you in their whirlpool until you cannot realize anymore if you’re playing since 10 minutes or 10 hours and which is day of the week. One of these games is Heroes of Might and Magic III (that from now on I will only call HOMM3, sometimes shorter is better).
With this it was love at first sight, from the very first moment I found it in a game compilation and I installed on my PC. I was completely enraptured and I think the first time I played it I spent a whole afternoon until dinner (please notice that italians like me usually in summer tend to dine late in the afternoon, let’s say during the evening, so it was a lot of time!) because I immediately understood the gameplay, the controls, and a draft of strategy.
You cannot be a strategy gamer if you’ve never played HOMM3.
My heart says…
My heart would kill me if I only tried to give HOMM3 less than 10/10. Really it’s so vast, well-made, so excellent that every single number below 10 woul be a blame.
We can divide the graphic department in two areas: the game graphics, we can define as isometric, even if everything is seen from the top, while the real isometric style can be seen while the camera is not on top but in a diagonal position (as in SimCity 2000, for example) and the battle mode graphics in which we have important differences.
The game can be resumed like that: you choose one of the scenariosa or a campaign, then you choose (if you want) the town to rule among the 6 available, the starting hero (if you want) and then you play. The goal is usually to defeat all enemies or acquire a particular artifact. Obviously you have to fight against all the opponents and defeat them in order to beat the scenario.
But from these words you can understand only 1% of the game: behind it there’s strategy, there are tactics, there are monsters to defeat, artifacts to collect, resources to find and be wise enough to balance them all. You cannot focus only on the resources or you’ll lose precious time you could have spent on enlarging your town or upgrading your units. If you put all your efforts powering up your hero without wandering on the map you’ll end up with a great hero, but an alone one that can be easily beaten from 3-4 weaker but coalized opponents.
Here are the basical things you have to master to enjoy at 100% HOMM3:
- Resources: the resources are the key to power up towns and troops. The most important is gold but you have to collect also wood, stones, mercury, gems and crystal. All of them can be found spare on the map or in the “mines”. When you capture a mine you can choose to leave a small garrison (even if I never did it since it’s a waste of units) or leave it free with thew possibility to have it captured from an enemy. Be careful to chech sometimes the nu8mber of mines you own since without any notice you can findyourself out of resources exactly when you need them the most!
- Hero: althought as default the AI chooses your hero random, you can actual pick your favourite: everyone have a particular ability and has a “favourite” unit than will be more powerful unders his lead. It’s obvoious (but not alway 100% true) that it’s better to choose an hero who’s specialized in one of the units you can train in your town
- Abilities: There are a lot of ability a hero can learn and as you can imagine there are some better than the other, some indispensables and some useless. The hero can learn at maximum 8 different abilities, so you have to bge careful to select them carefully. In my point of view you should NEVER have an hero without the ability Wisdom since it’s the key to win the battles using the spells. And since the game is Heroes of Might and MAGIC you can undertand that casting a good spell it’s fundamental. Other abilities are useful only in certain context: Navigation for example it’s a great ability if the map is filled with islands and you have to go up and down your boat frequently.
- Artifacts: having a good set of artifacts it’s a good way to reach the final victory. They can be dividen in proper artifact and relics (more precious and rare). Some of them are very common and have limited effects on the hero: I’m sure in almost every map one of the first you coul find will be the speculum or the spyglass that helps you seeing a bit further on the map. Than there are the useful artifact the hero can wear on his body, like hats, gloves, necklaces, bracelets and boots, something to offend (swords or clubs) and something to defend (shileds). Most of them will modify the heroes parameters (Offense, Defense, Power and Knowlodge)
- Troops: what is a hereo without his troops? Building a great army is one of the keys of the game. Every town has its own set of units (7 in total, each one can be upgraded once) and among them you can find archers-like, warriors, mages and so on. Do not think that it will be enough to build an army only with the most powerful units of your town! They’re expensive and the number is limited; moreover most of the times you’ll win the battles with the “weak” units, not with the strong ones.
- Monsters: you can find spare groups of monsters on the map, and every week their population will increase. Defeating them somethimes is one of the goals of the scenario, sometimes iy’s a good way to gain experieng and raise your hero level and sometines it’s a way to get free troops: if you have the right abilities and a good army a lot of monsters, recognizing your power, will join your cause. Especially when you play for a long time you can find huge groups of powerful monsters (even dragon sometimes) that wants to join you. And this is manna!
I don’t want to tell you more than this because since my love for every aspect of this game cannot be contained in this single post, I think in the future I will bother you with some detailed articles. 😉
I said sound but I have to talk mainly about the effects. Every units have their set of effects when it’s attacking, defending, when is hit or is dying. Even the spells have their own effect, even if the best thing related to the spells is the wonderful graphic effect that goes with it.
The game has been released in 1999 and since then is installed on my PC. I’m writing this post during a pause from the game. Is this enough? Ok, I’m an old games lover but a thing is toi love game, another is to play them after more than 15 years as it was the first time. Really an hyper-excellent game!
Final score 92/100
Developer: New World Computing (Windows), Loki Software (Linux)
Publisher: The 3DO Company (Windows), Loki Software (Linux)
Genre: Strategy, Turn-Based Strategy
Game Mode: Single Player, Multiplayer
Original Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
From same developers:
- Empire Deluxe (New World Computing, 1993)
- Rune (Loki Software, 2000)
From same publishers:
- Family Game Pack (2000)
- Might and Magic (1986)
If you liked it you can also try:
Other chapters of the saga:
- Heroes of Might and Magic I
- Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars
- Heroes of Might and Magic IV
- Heroes of Might and Magic V
- Heroes of Might and Magic VI