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Kingdom Under Fire Preview
developer: Phantagram Interactive
P200, 32MB RAM, 1.2GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jan 18, 01 (released)
|» All About Kingdom Under Fire on ActionTrip|
Branislav "Bane" Babovic
Kingdom Under Fire (KUF) is an interesting title that comes from the Korean software company Phantagram. The project is somewhat ambitious and indicates something new (well, relatively new...) in the RTS genre. At first glance, KUF seems just like another RTS, but it's actually much more, since it contains genuine RPG missions, in which the characters develop skills.
KUF depicts epic battles on the Bersiah continent where the Race of Light - Humans and Elves, and the Race of Darkness - Orcs and Ogres, co-exist in a constant air of intolerance and conflict. The last legendary wars were the War of Xok Knights and The War of Heroes.
But let's start with the complex intro story... A long time ago there was a kingdom called Barseih, in which two gods, Tobied and Amoth, quarreled and fought each other for so long, that no human nor elf remembers peace. One of their recent wars is the War of Xok Knights, in which the seven knights of Xok defeated the Black Dragon known as Nibles, and his minion Killianee. During the fierce battle, knight Rick Miner was killed. His buddies decided (god-knows-why) to revive him, and they used Nibles heart to do the trick. Naturally, the whole thing went wrong later ...
The Xok knights leader Keithr, founded a nation called Azillia. A conflict over heirloom soon broke out. In the mean time, Red Ogres attacked the province of Hextor. When they conquered it, they soon sought out new challenges. Bersiah was fatigued by earlier wars, so the humans and elves could not put up a significant defense. Meanwhile, Rick Blood, formerly known as Rick Miner, rallied all the powers of the evil dragon and soon assembled the Army of Darkness with which he conquers the land of the Red Ogres, Hextor, and the province of the vampires, Bellond. This is where the player joins the story, and has the option of joining the Army of Light (elves and humans) or the Army of Darkness (orcs and ogres), and fight to defend or conquer Bersiah.
Strategy and Units
There are 20 linear missions for each of the two campaigns. The strategic part of the game comes down to collecting common resources and constructing objects. The iron will be used for building objects, gold for training troops; Mana is for diverse magic skills, and the food for feeding the population. There will be some 70+ units in the game. Each unit has its advantages and unique strategy of attack, and some will gain new abilities as their experience grows. The Army of Darkness relies on aggressive tactics, while the Human/Elf alliance is a lot more defensive. The development of the hero and the units spice the game up, and the game tends to avoid sheer unit mass-production, witnessed so many times before in RTS. There will be a limit to character development through the levels, which will be different depending on the character. Each unit will increase their abilities through combat, ranging from rookies to veteran warriors. You can count on units to convey their combat experience from one mission to the next in the campaign. Here are some of the interesting units:
Army of Light units:
Bomber Wing - A simple flying unit carrying small-size bombshells. Though very slow, it is very effective against ground units such as Knights or Orcs. Originally developed and enhanced by Loddien to be used against Knights of Azilliah. Over a period of ten years, it was incorporated into Knights of Azilliah after the failure of rebellion.
Scout balloon - A recon unit. It reports the current situation with its multiple scouting devices. It can be used as a transport, and plays a crucial role in surprise attacks.
Knight Templar - He holds the pledge with the Dragons. As evidence of the pledge of 'KEITHR' with Dragons, several Dragon Knights are created for each Dragon. Each Dragon Knight has a strong body and a strong mind, overcoming the limitations of Human Beings. They can summon a Dragon by sacrificing themselves.
Dwarven cannon - It was a huge mistake of Dark Reign to drive Dwarves out of their mines. Dwarves, after having to leave their mines because of Dark Reign's invasion, joined the Human Alliance by someone's persuasion. Otherwise, they might have been annihilated by endless hordes of Orcs. They decided to take a step back and make a small but highly destructive cannon.
Bone Dragon - A huge monster made of magic-infused bones of Dragons. Though not quite as powerful as a live Dragon, only a live Dragon is a worthy opponent for it. This most powerful unit cannot be made without the tremendous Magical Power of Ancient Heart, and even with that, it takes a long time to make one.
Swamp mammoth - They live at the heart of Swamp of No Return, and have a fatal spore. Explosion of its poisonous gas-spore is fatal to all live beings, and can even melt metal and wood. Though very slow on the ground due to its weak skeleton, it is of utmost danger to all live beings on the ground.
Dark Army units:
Black Wyvern - The most dangerous among all Wyverns, Black Wyverns a.k.a. The King of all Flying Beings, can take even Dragons. They exhale Deathly Flame. By the magic of 'Nibble's Heart, they are ridden by despicable Orcs (that are not enough for their single bite).
Demon - Among all demons residing in the Valley of Darkness at the eastern end of the world, these species have the most refined magical abilities. When fully grown, they can control their own magical spells. Although not as powerful, these spells are very useful on combat fields. Demons also have a limited language, and a (kill this 'a') low intelligence. Basically, they follow the power of Darkness.
You will have at your disposal, except the units, seven heroes, and the same number of special mission that you will play in Diablo style. Except the development of the basic story in this part of the game, the player will come across some interesting weapons and items. There are 14 levels of dungeons and caves (two for each mission), which the heroes can "stroll" across and gain new abilities advancing through levels.
Rick Blood conquered Likuku and Hextor by commanding the Dark Elf and Amaruak. He declared the war against human nations and became the leader of the Dark Region. Likuku and Amaruak loyally follow his command.
Amaruak is a very powerful Lich and his probable origin is "the tower of chaos." He is, as a character, very selfish and sly, and he has a deep knowledge of how to make the most of the ancient heart of Nible. Because of his outstanding abilities, he is one of Rick Blood's favorites.
Richter the Righteous is the commander of Belond's Royal guard, which consists of vampires that have both magical powers and intelligence. He changed his position to Hextor under the influence of Rick Blood. He is anxious for Amaruak's cunning and despises the cruelty of Likuku. Although he is a member of the magic family, humans are not hostile towards him. He thinks that the aim of the two wars is to construct the united regions where tribes of lightness and darkness are both treated equally.
Likuku is the leader of Red Ogre family. Likuku was once called the ruler of Red Earth. Although he conquered the magicians of Hextor, later he surrenders to Rick Blood, which complies with the tradition of his family, which is placing physical power as the top priority. He is by nature very direct and follows his heart, which agrees with Rick Blood. He wants to recover the pride of Red Ogre family through the second war, and wishes for the Bersiah continent to be ruled by the natural law of "the Weak fall prey to the strong".
A war orphan, Curian is the remnant of a defeated troop from the first war. He appears as the leader of the radical military group "Great Origin" a majority of whose troops are hired. During the hundred years after the first War of Heroes, the original characteristics diminished as the guild of human nations, but the entrance Curian and Rick Blood made them rediscover their radical characters.
Moonlight is one of history's greatest magicians. He is the colleague of Keither (from the Xok knight period) and a solid supporter of Curian. His age is beyond that of human, and his wisdom, power, and magic have matured over the years. He is a spiritual leader of Azillia. When Rick Blood attacked Azillia, Moonlight sensed the power of the ancient heart that brought him into the war between the human and magician.
Keither was the leader of seven Xok knights and the first knight of Hironiden. He later founded Azillia, as the savior of the human race (after eliminating Rich "Keelianes" and his six colleagues), and became its first king. He disappeared when he reached 144 years of age but remains one of the few who can protect Bersiah and Azillia.
The game will support up to eight players fighting on WarGate.net. This server will have score boards, which will feature results of battles and player's names, and allow the players to choose opponents of similar abilities. It will also feature deathmatch, team deathmatch, league, and tournament modes.
Based on initial screen shots, the game will have perfect graphics. There are no flashy 3D effects, but the game has almost perfect 2D sprites. There will be 120.000 frames of animation in the game, 60 special spell lighting effects, and 6 background sets. Each character's graphic design is highly detailed. The buildings explode when destroyed, and the troops bleed during fierce combat. As excessive violence goes, there are "unfortunately" no severed limbs flying needlessly around.
If the final version of the game features everything that had been announced, we'll get an ideal mix of FRP and RTS game. The designers should make sure that KUF isn't like Total Annihilation Kingdoms which, like so many of first generation RTS consisted of sending huge numbers of units at the enemy. This tends to become boring after a while. Also, KUF will have to offer something really new in order to prevail in the sea of 3D RTS games that rule the market today
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