III: Reign of Chaos
by Jim Bray
It has been nearly fifteen years since the war between the
orcs and humans ended. An uneasy peace settled over the land while, for
years, the drums of war were silent. Yet the kingdoms of men grew complacent
in their victory - and slowly, the defeated orcish clans regrouped under
the banner of a new visionary leader.
Now a darker shadow has fallen over the world, threatening to extinguish
all life - all hope. The drums of war play upon the winds once again -
rising urgently towards the inevitable hour when the skies will rain fire
- and the world will tremble before the coming of the Burning Legion.
The Day of Judgment has come
- Introduction to WarCraft III, as per Blizzard Softwares
Fans of real time strategy games have a terrific new title
for their collection in Blizzards long-awaited update of their WarCraft
WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos continues giving gamers an
excellent and addictive adventure, while updating the technology and adding
a few new wrinkles just to keep things interesting.
From the elaborate, beautifully animated cutscenes to the
new graphics and changeable overhead view of the field of battle, this
new version is well worth playing. I dont think I enjoyed it quite
as much as the Orcs Vs. Humans action of WarCraft II or the humans Vs.
aliens of StarCraft, but that's more a personal preference - and, when
all is said and done, its a welcome addition to Blizzards
line, and to the real time strategy game universe.
you first load it, WarCraft III begins with a great cutscene that depicts
Humans and Orcs at each others throats, hard at battle. All of a
sudden, the characters are slaughtered as meteors containing evil thingys
fall from the sky; the Prophet appears to Thrall, an Orc warchief, ordering
him to take his people to Kalimdor. Thus begins your adventure.
One of the things I love about real time strategy games
is the way you have to establish your base and your supply lines, building
your forces as your resources allow. And theres plenty of that in
WarCraft III as well, though there are also some missions in which rather
than operating from a base youre sent on a quest - and you dont
have an increasing supply of your own minions on which to fall back. This
is similar to some levels in StarCraft and, though they werent my
favorites, theres nothing wrong with them.
Fortunately, most levels require resource management whereby
you build and upgrade your facilities, gather resources and research new
technologies that you can use to elevate your combat levels. Warcraft
IIIs resource system consists of two major elements: gold and lumber.
Your missions are laid out almost like chapters of a book,
and most consist of a main quest along with some optional sidetracks
you can pursue as well. The animation of the characters is up to date,
and the backgrounds are gloriously detailed.
And theres a new view control whereby you can swing
down from your on high view to approach ground level. Its
kind of neat, though I wished you could also zoom out higher to see more
of the playing field at one time (and thereby more easily grab onto your
forces in one swell foop). These are very minor criticisms, though.
The vocals are well done, too, though too often the action
stops (or the mission is delayed) while the characters act out a setup
to the scenario - or set up the next scenario. These are fun to watch
for the first few times, but after a while I found myself hitting escape
and getting directly to the game (you can find out what your quest is
supposed to be from the menus, at any time).
The animation during these setups is pretty good, but nowhere
nearly as spectacular as during the cutscenes.
Warcraft III is really two games for the price of one:
theres a Single player Campaign mode and a separate Multi-player
Single player mode gives you some 36 levels whose quests
generally consist of finding a particular prize, saving a particular character,
surviving attack for a specific time period, etc. Its fairly easy
to play, especially if you grab the cheat codes from Blizzards
The Multi-player mode reminds me of WarCraft II, where
you begin with a few peons and mine natural resources, build a camp, a
army and then fight, fight fight! If youve played any of WarCrafts
earlier versions, you should have no trouble getting a handle on this
one - and thats the way it should be!
WarCraft III also includes upgradeable Heros, which gain
experience points as the game progresses. Heroes can also be upgraded
with new abilities, including magic strength and/or evil spells.
As one would expect from a new WarCraft, Blizzard piles
on many new characters and buildings. Each of the four main races (Human,
Orc, Night Elf and Undead), has its own unique technology tree and building
design. Human and Orc development is similar to the last version of the
game, though you now get new units including Sorceress and flying Gryphons.
The game runs very well, with resolutions up to 1280x1024,
and with rich colors and sounds. The graphics are clean, and kind of cartoony,
which is fine with me.
My only real complaints about the game are the abovementioned
lack of a zoom feature for the view. Also, changing the game resolution
doesnt seem to change the size of the viewable area, which would
seem to be the whole point behind a higher res (that, and better detail,
The bottom line? If you liked WarCrafts I or II, or StarCraft,
or any of the other real time strategy games on the market,
youll undoubtedly while away many a happy hour on this new version.
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.
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