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Vikings - Fields of Conquest logo

Big blond blokes singing about Spam? Well not really. It's actually a historical strategy game.

Vikings - Fields of Conquest Fur coats, horned helmets, longships with shields down the side - that's what the word 'vikings' conjures up for most of us. But in this pseudo-historical strategy game you're on the side of the goodies. It's the baddies who have all the fun.

This American-produced game evades a few historical realities to place you as the leader of a warlike community in England around the 11th century. Up to six players can take part, which gives a choice of two scenarios. When playing against humans, each one of you is leader of a different kingdom. Each one must build his realm into a workable society; building castles and managing resources plus invading neighboring lands to slaughter the population and plunder the wealth.

Thordar Skullsplitter
Vikings - Fields of Conquest On your own, however, you can face up to five computer-controlled viking chiefs. These guys play differently though. Which means you have to be more constructive and less violent if you are to outwit them.

After a pretty HAM loading screen you set the type of game and number of players, then choose where your home castle is to be placed. Among the many options, all the regions of the country can be occupied or switched off and there are five difficulty levels which range from easy to very tough. Most important, perhaps, you can set the target for the number of territories you have to occupy before you win.

The game display, in a full 64 colours, is just a map with icons on it and a few other bits on the left-hand side. It benefits from nicely drawn sprites and terrain, but don't hold your breath for the sound effects.

Nigel Bonecracker
The game is played in turns, and the first job is to make sure your people are fed. A scroll appears at the bottom of the screen with Food and Harvest written on it. You can then move the pointer around the map and over your territories to see how much food your country needs (or has if it has produced a surplus).

Next step is to look to your armies. You can create and add them by buying more soldiers and equipment, then allocate them to individual task forces to go about the business of beating up your peace-loving neighbours.

Battle is a simple affair. The manual says you should have twice as many people as your opponents, so bully-boy tactics win the day. As battle wears on, you are updated on how many men each side are losing, so if your guys are being whipped, you can always pull out.

Once your invasion attempts has succeeded or failed, it's on to the king's turn to try to take over some land. As the game progresses, other factors come into play: you may need to create a port with a small convoy of ships to take your armies abroad, for example, and you'll need to look for and mine ore to keep your weapon supply.

Roger Todgerthumper
Different types of troops and technologies are important. To storm castles you need catapults to weaken the walls, but the defending castle can shoot at the catapults with their archers.

You will also need to build castles to defend your land, but you first have to clear the land, then build a tower, followed by a keep, then a small castle and finally a large castle. Each piece of land can only produce so many soldiers – only large castles and the home castle can produce armies.

Castles also influence your troop's performance when fighting and their presence in a territory increases the taxes coming from that area. And, of course, as well as money from the taxes, all of these things need raw materials, so someone has to go and look for them.

There is hardly any way of getting raw materials except for going into a territory with mountains, trees or other things. To get money you have to get miners to look for gold, silver and iron mines and this costs money as well.

Vikings is a reasonably intelligent strategy game, but a few more active additions, like the ability to control the action in battles and new weapons every few years, would improve its accessibility. There's simply not enough variation in the pattern of events and in the factors that govern success or failure. You can't help feel it would have benefited from a more detailed, historical feel or from a more fun, arcadey, Defender of the Crown-like approach. As it is, it's mediocre.
Yan Holland

Amiga Format, Issue 38, September 1992, p.p.78-79

Vikings
Krisalis * £25.99
  • Attractive 64-colour graphics but no in-game sound effects.
  • Will get very tedious after you have played all the levels.
  • There are plenty of options, but no new features as time progresses.
  • Save and load option, plus up to six players can play at a time.
verdict: 82%


Vikings - Fields of Conquest logo

Der wenig bekannte Vorgänger „Kingdoms of England“ wurde von vielen voreilig als simpler Klon des Cinemaware-Oldies „Defender of the Crown“ abgetan – bis sie ihn wirklich gespielt hatten! Dem Nachfolger droht nun ein ähnliches Schicksal...

Vikings - Fields of Conquest Denn auch er hält mehr, als er verspricht! Zugegeben, grafisch macht Vikings wirklich nicht viel her – wenn man immer nur Landkarten und Tabellen zu sehen bekommt, hilft auch der Extrahalfbrite-Modus mit 64 Farben nicht viel. Dasselbe gilt für den Sound, der nach dem Verklingen der mittelalterlichen Weise zu Spielbeginn praktisch nicht mehr vorhanden ist. Die Steuerung wurde dagegen genial gelöst: Eine kleine Anzeige am Mauszeiger informiert den Spieler über so bedeutsame Dinge wie die Steuerquote, den Ernteertrag oder die Bodenschätze der einzelnen Territorien. Aber was für ein Game verbirgt sich nun eigentlich hinter der bescheidenen Oberfläche?

Ein Spiel für ein bis sechs Adlige, die wahlweise menschlichen oder digitalen Kommandos gehorchen und es unbedingt zum König von England bringen wollen. Und weil England halt nur einen König braucht, sind Konflikte natürlich vorprogrammiert. Gelöst werden sie wie üblich mit Waffengewalt, wobei man in die Kämpfe selbst nicht direkt eingreifen kann; die Schlachten lassen sich nur anhand einer eingeblendeten Auflistung der beteiligten Truppen verfolgen, während der Rechner im Hintergrund das Ergebnis ausknobelt. Umsomehr ist dafür im strategischen Vorfeld zu tun: Für die Eroberung der (insgesamt 199) Territorien müssen Armeen aufgestellt, trainiert und auf den Weg geschickt werden: Häfen, Festungen und Burgen sollte man errichten. Nahrungsmittel müssen angebaut, ge- oder verkauft, Bodenschätze gesucht und gefördert werden – und auch die Besteuerung seiner Leute darf man nicht vergessen, weil nix im Leben umsonst ist.

Das alles ist freilich nur ein grober Überblick der vielfältigen Betätigungsmöglichkeiten, hinzu kommen noch allerlei wohlüberlegte Details. Beispielsweise benötigen einige Aktionen eine bestimmte Zeit, so daß sehr genau überlegt sein will, was man in jeder Spielrunde macht. Dann gibt’s tausenderlei technische Kleinprobleme wie die Reparatur beschädigter Befestigungsanlagen, der ewige Rohstoff- und/oder Geldmangel beim Anschaffen bzw. Bauen neuer Waffen, Burgen etc, etc. Schließlich kann auch das Schicksal ganz unerwartet in Gestalt des Wikingerkönigs Eric zuschlagen und alle fein ausgetüftelten Pläne plötzlich wider zunichte machen...

Wie bereits erwähnt, klappt die Handhabung tadellos, so wird etwa die allesentscheidende Karte einfach mit der rechten Maustaste gescrollt, auch die vielen Menüs und Statistiken sind sehr durchdacht aufgebaut. Kurzum, Vikings ist ein nicht unbedingt originelles, aber spielerisch ausgefeiltes und dabei einfach zu bedienendes Strategie-Game. Schade daß es rein äußerlich halt arg wenig hermacht. (mm)

Amiga Joker, July 1992, p.?

Der Amiga Joker meint:
"Vikings ist ein heißer Geheimtip für die Fans komplexer Strategicals!"

amiga joker
Vikings
Grafik: 44%
Sound: 28%
Handhabung: 78%
Spielidee: 62%
Dauerspass: 74%
Preis/Leistung: 58%

Red. Urteil:
Variabel
71%
Preis: ca 109,- dm
Hersteller: Realism
Genre: Strategie

Spezialität: 1 MB erforderlich. HD-Installation möglich, läuft auf 500 Plus, Codeabfrage aus der (englischen) Anleitung.



Vikings - Fields of Conquest logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

Eat, drink, and pillage in Krisalis's medieval strategy game. James Marlow gets down to some serious slaughter as he explores Digitek's world...

Vikings - Fields of Conquest THE GOOD OL' DAYS
After a hard day at the office, there's nothing better than to come home, hang up the brolly and bowler, and settle down for a couple of hours of unbridalled slaughter and subjugation. And now, Digitek's strategic romp puts you in charge of your very own unruly mob of Barbarians, ready to take the Vikings on at their own rough 'n' ready game.

Up to six human or computer-controlled players can take part in what is best described as a medieval Supremacy. Each player assumes the role of a Lord in control of a small kingdom with up to twenty armies under their control. The overall aim is to become the king of medieval England, Scotland, Ireland and, curiously, a bit of Greenland

The game is mouse-controlled and orders can be given with a couple of clicks of the button. The intuitive control system is so straightforward that you can get stuck in almost straight away, so there's no need to consult the manual.

HELP!
The game offers several different scenarios depending on the number of players taking part. If you're playing against another human opponent it's a race against time to build up a wealthy and expanding kingdom with which to fund a bigger and better army than the opposition. All things being equal, it's merely a question of strategically out-guessing the other players while keeping an eye out for the main chance.

A head-to-head against a computer opponent is a completely different affair. These are Viking invaders and they don't play by the same rules. Their aim is to gain wealth by conquest with no thought for the indigenous population. They act as barbarians, but it is up to you to outwit the computer player whilst abiding by the rules of fair play. You old softy!

The game begins slowly as you have to build up your embryonic empire from scratch. Driving your people too hard at this stage, however, will cause resentment and you'll find a revolt on your hands in no time at all. As a result, it's sometimes a tedious task to build up the infrastructure of your society before getting stuck into some serious bone crushing – but the later stages are sufficiently rewarding to make it worthwhile. Thankfully for a game as large as this, there's also a save option.

ADVANCE
The game has a massive selection of options to choose from. For example, you may decide to search for ores in the mountain so that you can build castles, weapons and boats.
Alternatively, you may think it prudent to save the money and deploy what few troops you already have. If bloodlust doesn't course through your veins, however, there's even the chance to slowly build up your kingdom and make the world a better place to live in (ahhhh!).

From the main screen, a flag-pole icon is used to give command to your troops, a question mark to find out information about any particular area, and a mine icon to search for precious ore reserves. Below the three icons and four bars which represent how much food, wood, stone and iron you already have.

Remember, without resources you cannot build anything! To the right of the bank of icons is the main map area. This shows the whereabouts of your opponent as well as detailing how much land has fallen under his control. Another map system is used for a close-up of the immediate playing area and its possible to rapidly scroll to other areas by forcing the mouse pointer to leave the screen in the required direction.

BRING OUT THE BANNER
The game's graphics are functional, with detailed maps and well-thought out icons. Each country is clearly defined and it's possible to tell at a glance what the state of play is at any given time. Each country which falls under your control assumes the colour of your clan and armies are represented by banners, so it's easy to work out what's going on. As time progresses, the need to develop more forts and even castles becomes imperative as the arms race goes on relentless. Very soon, you'll find a formidable arsenal under your control, and the screen bristling with your troops.

Unfortunately, there's little in the way of in-game sound effects and this robs the game of some much needed atmosphere. Also, when rival armies clash, there's little on-screen action to watch – maybe a Battle Chess-style encounter of the opposing forces fighting it out would have been a good idea. Even some kind of stirring military tune or a pulsing beat ala Powermonger wouldn't have gone amiss.

There are five difficulty levels, ranging from easy to very high. These work to either limit the number of countries you need to win the game or increase them to such a ridiculous level that emerging victorious is nigh-on impossible.

APOCALYPSE NOW
Vikings will appeal to anyone who got a kick out of Virgin's Supremacy. Instead of planets to conquer, you're given counties and the basic raw materials of food, energy and ore have been replaced with food, iron and wood. The major difference between the two, is in the combat system. In Supremacy it was possible to pull your men out if things looked nasty, or send additional troops if necessary. In Vikings, the only option is to retreat if you're wildly outnumbered – a major flaw. Holding troops in reserve is a major tactical ploy, and to deny the player this cuts down the strategic worth of the game dramatically. That said, Vikings is a highly polished game and well worth a look.

CU Amiga, August 1992, p.p.76-77

YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW

Once you've commissioned an army, a number of commands are available to a budding military dictator:
March – use this to move your troops around the map.
Forced March – If you haven't got enough movement points, then using this option will reduce the number of points needed and hopefully get your army on the move.
Exchange Troops and Items – this allows you to move soldiers and items between armies.
Make Camp and Rest – after a number of battles, it's best to let your troops make camp and get some much needed R&R.
Army Status – lists the morale, fatigue and composition of your army.

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of players:
hard disk installable:
memory:
 
August 1992
Strategy
Digitek
Mouse
1-6
No
Any Machine

 

KRISALIS £25.99
Addictive and highly enjoyable battle sim...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
82%
10%
87%
90%
OVERALL 87%