by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
In the Spring of 2005, Firefly sprang Stronghold 2 - their first ever 3D game - onto the market. Their previous titles had been very successful and the expectations were very high. Having specialised in medieval castle simulators, Firefly had become something of an authority in the genre. While Dangling the 3D carrot in front of their substantial and loyal fanbase, Firefly promised gamers the ability to do their sieging in full 3D. I must admit, the idea of trashing castles has always appealed to me, and classics like Castles II are on my list of all-time favourites. Unfortunately Stronghold 2 did not completely live up to its expectations. It wasn't a bad game, but clipping errors, the total lack of unit-formations and a disappointing AI kept the game from becoming the classic it could have been.
So, what do you do if you have a game engine that has potential - but you have already rushed the first game based on it out the door? Exactly, you build another game - copy/paste so to speak. Firefly is currently working on Stronghold Legends, a castle builder with a fantasy twist. Whether it will suffer from the same problems as its older sibling remains to be seen but having had a year and a half of tinker time, we're willing to give Firefly the benefit of the doubt. So today we take a closer look at what Strongholds Legends has in store for us.
As the name suggests, Stronghold Legends will be all about legends. The game will consist of three campaigns and each campaign centers around a famous figure of the past. The first and most familiar campaign will center around King Arthur. In this campaign, the game will take you through some of the legends 'within' the legend like Castle Camelot, Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Merlin the Magician and Lancelot.
The second campaign evolves around the Rhine legends of Siegfried. The lush, green English setting of the King Arthur legend, will be replaced with snow covered plains, icy mountain passess and frozen lakes. It also brings a host of new units to life such as Giants and Ice Queens. In the last campaign, you will don the cape of Count Dracula as you play out 'his' legend. Expect all sorts of creepy creatures to join your army here.
In their previous offerings, Firefly has always tried to stay as close to reality as the 'fun factor' would allow them to. This time around, there is no such thing as realism, it's high fantasy in every way. Of course this opens up a large number of new unit possibilities and with them, whole new strategies will need to be thought out. Castles are still an important concept within the game and a significant part of your defense, but where your units were defending against ground based assaults in Stronghold 2, they'll have to fend off air and magical attacks now too.