Consider the situation. Your father has been killed and the entire kingdom and all its wealth are now in your hands. Seems pretty enticing, doesn't it? All that money and property.
Well there's just one teeny problem - the condition of the kingdom upon the old man's demise is somewhat less than perfect. In fact it's safe to say things have reached crisis level.
Famine is flourishing, poverty is rife and other realms are vying for dominance of the land. And you have to sort it all out, while ensuring that your realm comes out on top. Flipping inconsiderate of dad to get killed like that, leaving all this mess to clear up. Anyway, someone has to do it so you might as well get on with it.
The aim of Realms is to ensure that your kingdom reigns supreme among the others. To achieve this, you have to fortify your cities and recruit and train armies and cavalry. Oh, you also have to look after the welfare of the citizens of your newly-
So, it's off to the nearest clearing to appeal for justice from the Gods. Now these Nordic Gods are pretty accommodating. Just raise your fist to the skies, scream, and Bob's your uncle - divine assistance to take away. So with emotions swelling your soul and rage filling your mind, you cast your eyes to the heavens and demand justice.
The clouds part, the sky booms and the Gods give you... a belt buckle! Well, it looks like a belt buckle - the kind you might find on a Iron Maiden groupie - but it is, in fact, the Symbol of the Serpent, giving the bearer powers beyond belief.
"Oooh, this will come in handy!" you say to yourself and promptly set off to restore your Kingdom I suppose. You could compare Realms to Powermonger. You know, moving little armies around the landscape causing all manner of mischief. But Realms has more responsibilities for you to attend to.
You must impose taxes to generate enough money to equip your armies with varying weapons and armour, so they can attack any enemy towns (thereby weakening your enemy or enemies). You must buy grain to feed the populace, develop your towns to make them larger and more resistant to attack and generally ensure the survival of your people. In fact, the number of duties to attend to are just right. Some games go over the top, requiring you to control innumerable activities which can completely spoil the game.
Realms is graphically excellent, and the overall game system is pleasing to use. You view your surroundings via the common isometric representation, and there is also an overhead map giving you the entire land to survey.
The animation of the armies as they trundle about the land on their merry way to mayhem is quite nice too. At the start of the game you are placed in a fairly simple default scenario, but there are eight more increasingly difficult scenarios to choose from via the disk icon. The battle sequences are my fave part. Your individual units are displayed on a battlefield along with the enemy's units, and you can select the type of formation you assume from wedge, phalanx, line, and square, each having its own merits. You can change the direction in which the unit attacks and also select whether to fire any missile weapons such as bows. These enable you to diminish the opposition before you close for hand-to-
Last but not least, you have the attack or retreat icon, which lets you start your attack, or, if things go dismally downhill (as was frequently the case with me), lets you scarper! The entire battle sequence runs in real time, which leads me on to a couple of gripes. With numerous units to control and the large number of controls at your disposal during a battle, it can become too hectic to deal with at times.
Having to switch quickly between units to give differing orders requires some manic mouse manipulation, I can tell you. Also, the required position of the mouse when selecting a unit is a little too precise for comfort. You need to have the pointer directly on the unit flagpole, for instance, for it to be selected.
Sound effects are good, with an accompanying theme constantly playing in the background. During battles you hear the clanging of swords which adds a touch of atmosphere to the events.
Overall then, Realms is a competent addition to the increasing God/War game domain and is worth taking a look at.