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Crusaders of Might & Magic

Crusaders of Might & Magic Crusaders of Might & Magic
by The 3DO Company

Platform: PlayStation
ESRB Rating: Teen

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GameSpot Review: Don't you hate it when monsters storm your village, kill your family, and leave you for dead? Well, if you own a PlayStation and don't mind a little role-playing action, you can exact revenge on those bony freaks. In 3DO's Crusaders of Might and Magic, you star as Drake, a hardened hero with a flair for magic and a penchant for butt-kicking. Suckered by the fair Celestia into ridding the land of Necros' undead legions, you'll travel back and forth across nine areas of dank forests, majestic castles, and depressing dungeons. Whether you're in the oppressive stronghold, the majestic citadel, or on glistening glaciers, you'll encounter quirky villagers, macho guards, and a near-limitless cadre of vile demons.

At its core, Crusaders of Might and Magic is a 3D action role-playing game, akin to a fantasy version of Soul Reaver. As Drake, you can run, jump, climb, attack, and dole out magic like it's going out of style. Most of the time, you'll be running about swinging your weapon at enemies, acquiring items, or yapping with the locals. To even up the odds, a variety of swords, axes, maces, and other handheld attack accoutrements are at your disposal. You've also got plenty of shields, spells, and assorted healing potions to support your endeavors. As the game progresses, you'll acquire even better weapons and more spells, while continually increasing your experience and stamina levels. The monsters you face have vulnerability to or strengths againstcertain weapons and spells, further contributing to the game's lasting appeal. Survive through to the end of the crusade, and a satisfying battle with Necros awaits, provided you can defeat the sheer number of demons the last few levels throw at you.

Though Necros' henchmen are no slouches in the difficulty department, the game's control system is actually the greatest learning curve that prospective players must surpass. Indeed, it is somewhat of a bear to switch weapons or items during the heat of combat, since hitting select, then X, then left or right, then select again is a pain to do hundreds of times, especially when you've got ten shields and 30 spells weighing you down. Still, it's no worse than the submenu systems of Resident Evil or Tomb Raider. If you can see past this solitary quibble, the fighting system is enjoyable, and exploration is easy enough. Furthermore, who doesn't want to go around brutalizing the undead with a weapon called Divine Justice? Visually, Crusaders of Might and Magic serves up the goods in a crisp, clean, and refined way. Corridors, dungeons, forests, and castles are all well detailed, replete with torches, tapestries, vines, and a plethora of other interior-decorating niceties. The polygonal character models are, for the most part, exceptional, with a believable level of animation. Loose-fitting clothes flap in the breeze, swords emit sparks on impact, and enemies even hunch over in pain as your fireballs of death implode their insufficient chest cavities. When you find yourself approximately 30 minutes into the game and notice the gleam off the captain's sword, you too will be at least somewhat impressed. There are minor amounts of texture-warping and clipping issues here and there, but no more than those found in Soul Reaver or Shadowman.

The game's sound is also above average, delivering the type of experience that fantasy fans eat up. The music is both enchanting and varied, leaving little room for complaint. There's a decent mix of classically orchestral and New Age-style music, which adds to the game's somewhat medieval appeal. Weapon sounds are also exceptional, varying in both pitch and timbre, depending on where and what they impact. Even more impressive are the grunts, growls, and guttural utterances the Legion monsters produce - so scary that even Resident Evil fanatics will take notice. Like a cherry on top, there's also plenty of character-interaction speech, which furthers the game's intricate plot while breaking up the monotony of exploration. Admittedly, Crusaders of Might and Magic isn't the best role-playing game nor the best 3D adventure title. However, it represents an ample merger of the two genres, aiming to please those who desire both plot and variety in their dungeon adventures. While those burned out on games such as Tomb Raider, Soul Reaver, and Shadow Man may want to steer clear, those looking for an engrossing RPG experience and a good 3D adventure may want to check out Crusaders of Might and Magic. [Editor's Note: Contrary to what you may have heard out there on the Web, the final version of Crusaders of Might and Magic is not a buggy, crash-laden piece of software. We played through the game from beginning to end, and it didn't crash once.]--Frank Provo

From the Manufacturer: Crusanders of Might and Magic combines the intriguing elements of the best fantasy games with the intense energy of a third-person action game. Dozens of high-resolution, visually stunning, 3D worlds are enhanced by spectacular spell blasts and dynamic lighting.

Customer Reviews:
this game is ok,but it could be better, May 23, 2002
Reviewer: mandy0302 from Detroit, Mi, USA
I thought that this game was pretty cool during the first three levels, but after that things really went down hill. I also thought that it got too difficult too fast. The first three levels were extremely easy, then i got to level four and it took me like three hours to beat. It seemed like the enemies got tougher and Drake stayed the same. Although, I am new to the RPG scene, so maybe it's just me.

tough to play, bad ending, February 2, 2001
Reviewer: Dwayne D. Gagnon from East Coast, USA
There wasn't enough choice in direction for the game and became extremely to almost impossible to finish levels as you went. Not enough magic choice and the system of obtaining magical items was also near to impossible and gave very little reward in return.

OK, but short, January 16, 2001
Reviewer: Eric Johnson from Madison, WI United States
This game was OK. The spells were good and the weapon enhancements were a pretty cool idea. While it was possible to do different moves with the shield and weapons to make combos of a sort, it ended up being easier to just block the enemies' 2 attacks and attack, block and attack. It is very repetitive.

Perhaps I've been spoiled with RPG games lately, but the character interaction in this game seemed so limited that it brought the entire game down. The entire game was very small and I got through it in about 3 sittings. The best thing going for the game was the voice acting. The storyline was limited by the very small character interaction. Also, I couldn't help feeling like I was playing a bad version of Soul Reaver the whole time. That, or a mediocre clone of King's Field, which was mediocre in its own right.

If you find this for cheap, it may be worth it, but don't be expecting amazing graphics and sound.

What a waste of 12 hours, April 24, 2000
Reviewer: A gamer from Rockford, IL
Yup, you got it. All you do is fight look for items you need, opps thought you needed, and fight, fight, fight. Game was way to easy and considering how much running your character did it is amazing his legs were not shorter. But I guess it was a good thing he had to run so much, because otherwise the game would have been done in less than 4 hours. Graphics, to me anyways, seemed fine. The soundtrack was very lacking. And the final battle was way, way, way to easy.

desapointing, March 26, 2000
Reviewer: A gamer from Baltimore MD
When you start, it looks as if you are playing soul reaver again. Unfortunatly pusles are to simple ,fighting is the same every time and if rpg is what you want . ff8 is the best !

UGH, February 25, 2000
Reviewer: A gamer from Ontario, Canada
this game was plain and simple not meant to be for the playstation. It's graphics are glitchy, gameplay is boring and repetitive and and the game is just plain not very much fun to play

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