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Verily, Sir Knight, ‘tis on the Eve of Lammastide that thou wilst ride out in search of derring-do and a half-way decent strategy game.

I Castles 2 f you think the current bicker over European union is bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. At least nobody has invaded anybody else in the name of a united Europe, and nobody has applied to the pope to become king (or queen) of all he (or she) surveys. I could be wrong, but I do not think that there has been much in the way of castle-building on since the signing of the Maastricht treaty.
All of this, and more, could be yours with Castles II – Siege and Conquest. The time is the 14th century and you play one of five rivals for the throne of France from the territories of Albion, Burgundy, Anjou, Aragorn or Valois. Becoming king (or queen) is simple in theory; all you need to do is overrun sufficient territory and gain enough points to convince the Pope that you are the right man (or woman) for the job.

However, the practicalities of this are a little different. With four rivals hell-bent on achieving the same thing, life can get complicated. As soon as one starts to get big and powerful enough to claim the throne, the other four gang up and overthrow him. And so on...

The other four players are controlled by the computer, and you all start off with only one territory and limited resources. Fortunately, you are surrounded by several neutral territories just begging to be invaded and their various resources piled into your quest for glory. However, make sure that you check their status first, since the pope is not likely to look kindly on your claim to the throne if you invade territory that you think is neutral, but actually turns out to be his. So, the first thing to do is start recruiting an army and send spies out to check the neighbouring states.

You control your actions by assigning points to tasks in three categories: administrative, military and political. To begin withyou only have a few points, but as you conquer other territories, your points in these categories increase. Unfortunately, you are limited to a maximum of two tasks in each category, which rather slows down the pace of the game. So you can be attacking up to two territories, mining or collecting two commodoties and scouting two territories.

Get a move on
Once you have built up a few points in each of the three categories, you can speed up any particular task by assigning more points to it, but you are still limited to two tasks per category and all too often you are left waiting for a task to be completed, even after you have assigned plenty of points to it.

Given the general slow pace of the game, this really does not help. Once you have built up a bit of an empire things do get faster, but it is still a very slow game.

Graphically, the game betrays its PC origins, with both AGA and ECS versions contained on its nine disks. There is an intro sequence which gives you the background on why you are aiming to be king (the old king has popped his clogs without naming an heir, so it is down to the pope to decide who is more worthy). The AGA version is, as you would expect, much nicer in the graphics department, with 256-colour screens ported straight from the PC version.
There are also several digitised animated sequences in the game which play back when various events such as battles, successful spies or whatever happen, but these do not add much, since they are only 16 colour blck and white. Frankly, after you have seen them once, you skip past them quickly.

The in-game music is more irritating than atmospheric, but it works well during the intro sequence, which informs you as to how you got into this situation in the first place.

There is a good game in there somewhere, but it is rather lost under a badly designed control system which slows the game down. It will appeal to hardened strategy freaks, since there is plenty of potential for wheeling and dealing, buying and selling and annoying the pope. However, problems with controlling the game make it difficult, and the pace of a game is extremely slow.
Richard Baguley

Amiga Format, Issue 51, October 1993, p.p.66-67

Almathera Systems
Interplay 0865 390029
End August ‘93

Castles 2 is hard disk installable    Castles 2 needs 1 Meg to run

07 out of 10
it all looks rather PCesque.

06 out of 10
Tunes get irritating quickly.

07 out of 10
Plenty of scope for conquest.

06 out of 10
Let down by bad design.

"A really rather good strategy and war game tht is let down by several design flaws, especially slow and awkward control."

Castles 2 CD32 logo  CD32

Interplay * £29.99 * Out now
 Castles 2 CD32 Do you sometimes wish you had been an administrator, politician and great leader 700 years ago? If the anwer is yes then Castles 2 should be right up your street.

You choose to take on the role of one of five feuding families with the ultimate aim being to convince the Pope that you are the right candidate to be crowned King. In the meantime, to gain this bellsing, you must overrun as much territory as possible in time honoured feudal fashion. Unfortunately, the four rivals are equally keen to get the nod from the religious bloke and do their best to prevent you completing your task.

So, recruit yourself an army and off you jolly well go. Beware who you choose to invade though, because if you are on the Pope’s patch he will be on the phone to his amtes before you can say "woman priests". Castles 2 is not the quickest of role playing games due to the fact that you are lmited in the amount of tasks that you can do at one time and this can become a wee bit frustrating. Another thing that I found annoying is that the control system is somewhat fiddly. Despite these gripes Castles 2 is a decent strategy game, particularly for the more experienced RPGér. And cheers to Interplay for knocking a fiver off the floppy version.
Stephen Bradley


Amiga Format, Issue 56, February 1994, p.67

Castles 2 CD32 logo  CD32

Was lange währt, wird deswegen nicht unbedingt gut – leider gilt diese traurige Weisheit aus der Konvertierungsbranche in begrenztem Umfang auch fur Interplay’s Zweitschloß auf dem CD32!

 Castles 2 CD32 Die Burgherren vom PC wissen schon seit einem Jahr, daß dieses Game mit seinem Vorgänger nicht mehr so wahnsinnig viel gemein hat. Beherrschte damals noch der leicht an "Sim City" angelehnte Schloßbau das Geschehen, so geht es hier in erster Linie um den strategischen Aufbau eines der fünf miteinander konkurrierenden Fürstenhäuser aus dem 14. Jahrhundert.

Dazu dürfen auf wirtschaftlicher, diplomatischer und militärischer Ebene Aktionen der unterschiedlichsten Art getätigt werden, während im Hintergrund leise, aber unerbittlich die Uhr tickt. Am Anfang wird man erst mal in der Landwirtschaft aktive, schürft nach Erzen und schachert mit Rohstoffen, um die Voraussetzungen zur Errichtung eines standesgemäßen Gemäuers zu schaffen. Für dieses entwirft man dann den Grundriß auf einem Extrascreen, die anschließende Bauphase übernimmt der Rechner in eigener Verantwortung. Als nächsten Schritt auf der feudalen Karriereleiter sollte man die Verstärkung der Armee durch frisch angeworbene Rekruten einplanen, denn der eigene Besitz will verteidigt werden, und man könnte ja auch selbst zum einen oder anderen Eroberungsfeldzug schreiten.

Die Schlachten spielen sich dann auf einer isometrischen 3D-Karte ab; dabei kann der Wohnzimmergeneral das Gemetzel entweder komplett der Maschine überlassen oder die einzelnen Truppenteile (Infanterie, Bogenschützen, etc.) per Menü jeweils separat befehligen. Je mächtiger das eigene Reich wird, um so wichtiger wird auf die Diplomatie: Verdirbt man es sich z.B. mit dem päpstlichen Legaten, droht gar die Exkommunizierung mit allen jenseitigen Konsequenzen. Ansonsten kann man nach Herzenslust spionieren und intrigieren – zumindest solange man genügend geschürftes Gold auf der hohen Kante hat, um das Volk im allgemeinen und die Armee im besonderen bei Laune zu halten.

War die Präsentation auf dem PC noch durchaus akzeptabel, so muß man diesbezüglich am CD32 schon sämtliche Hühneraugen zudrücken: Die Grafik sieht jetzt etwas krümeliger aus, die Sprites zuckeln mit dem Cursor um die Wette, und die gelegentlich eingestreuten SW-Digifilmchen werden in der Praxis zur reinen Diashow, weil das Spieltempo irgendwo zwischen Vollbremsung und Rückwärtsgang angesiedelt ist. Aber gottlob ist Castles II ja kein Actionspiel, und gottlob kann man es auch mit der Maus steuern, denn unser Kommentar zur Joypad-Steuerung würde garantiert nicht jugendfrei ausfallen. An der Soundbegleitung gibt es indessen rein gar nichts zu mäkeln. Man hätte bei der Endnote für diese nicht gerade liebevoll gemachte CD-Konvertierung also auch strenger sein können, doch ist das Spielprinzip trotz aller technischen Widrigkeiten immer noch sehr reizvoll und zudem am CD32 nicht gerade alltäglich – geduldige Adelsherren mögen mit diesem Strategical also dennoch glücklich werden. (mic)

Amiga Joker, February 1994, p.80

Amiga Joker

Castles 2 CD32 logo  CD32

Interplay £29.99

A value for money improvement here, as Interplay’s 14th Century strategy game gets stuck straight onto CD with (as far as I can tell) no changes whatsoever, but at £5 less than the floppy version.

Unfortunately, this was a game that really did need a bit of tarting up, because as it stands it is just way too dull to shine against the dozens of reasonably lively strategy games that the Amiga is already blessed with. Not a great way to show off your new machine.

Amiga Power, Issue 34, February 1994, p.80

CD32 Was not much fun before, and sadly is not much fun now. Sorry.

Castles 2 CD32 logo  CD32

 Castles 2 CD32 T his game is set in the fourteenth century, and you are a local lord who's out to become king of Bretagne. Several other lords also have their eye on the throne, and now the Church has intervened so you have to start crawling to the Pope if you want to get that kingship.

The route to the top involves grabbing as much land as possible, fighting the occasionally battle and keeping in with the church. The manual goes to great lengths to explain the politics between the various factions, but it doesn't really make any difference to the game.

The land is divided up into over a dozen territories, each of which has one of four natural resources, wood, gold, iron and food. You need all four of these to construct a castle and raise an army, so if you're missing any, you have to trade with your enemies or go without. Once you've got a few territories you can start buttering up the Pope by giving him any spare money or land you have.

Once you've consolidated your land and are sharing a border with your enemies, the game starts to slow down. Invading another territory is tricky because, even if you win a battle, your army is depleted leaving you open to invasion from other powers. The game has a few sub-plots but this doesn't alter the fact that nothing much happens and you don't need to do much to complete it. Just keep buttering up the Church who will eventually allow you to apply for the job as king, at which point all the other powers will attack you, to no avail, as you've spent the last half-hour building up you army. When it does come to a battle you can either let the computer sort out your tactics, which saves a lot of time and hassle, or coordinate the mayhem yourself, which invariably results in defeat. Castles 2 is a disappointment when compared to its playable predecessor.


CU Amiga, February 1994, p.51