Reverse Crawl – PC

Reverse Crawl is a dungeon crawl where the player leads minions in tactical turn-based combat, through a dynamic campaign with a branching storyline.  We received a copy of the game from the developer, Nerdook, for this review.

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Overlord!

I started on another old-but-good game just prior to picking up Skyrim.. Overlord, by Triumph Studios and Codemasters.

This game is a third-person RPG where you take the role of The Overlord: would-be master of a fantasy kingdom.  Your predecessor was the master of the kingdom.. but he was killed, the Tower was destroyed, and the Kingdom has been taken over by a bunch of do-gooders!

To assist you in taking back your kingdom you have minions.. goblin-like creatures who run around after you waiting for instructions.. you also have Gnarl, overseer of the minions, the narrator, and your advisor.  The tutorial teaches you how to control your minions via the task of subduing the Jester, who runs around mocking you until he’s taken enough of a beating!

Controlling the minions is initially very easy.. left click to send them in a particular direction, or shift-click to highlight an object for them to attack.  If there isn’t a direct path between you and the target, you can also use LMB+RMB to sweep them along a path.. for example, crossing a river via a fallen tree.. though later on in the game, this can be fiddly.. while you are sweeping them along the path, they aren’t using their own path-finding skills, and can end up walking into hazards 🙁

The minions will interact with whatever they encounter.. which means they’ll kill sheep and enemies, destroy pumpkins, smash vases and grab life force, loot and gear.  I found this hilarious, as they cackle and squeak as they run along smashing things.. and when they find anything they can equip, they will do.. which means pumpkins as helmets 😀

Collecting life essence means more minions become available, although the number you can have following you at once is limited.

You start off with just five, and move up to ten when you complete the first mission and recover the Tower Heart.  As you explore further you find more artifacts, allowing you to summon more minions.  The minions themselves also find better armour and weapons too, so your army becomes bigger and stronger!

Some of the first quests were more helpful than outright evil, such as shifting some Halflings off a farm for the Human farmer, or rescuing slaves.. but helping the Humans does mean they pay you!  The game allows you to be more evil if you want, though.. you can attack the Humans within the village and destroy their homes, but this will turn them against you and increase your Corruption level.  I may return to try this later, and see what happens! 😉

You can only summon Brown minions to begin with.. the other tribes are Reds, Greens and Blues, and you need to recover their Hives before they will serve you.

Different tribes have different abilities: the Browns are good all-rounders; fairly strong and with a decent amount of health.  Reds have a strong ranged attack allowing them to shoot fireballs at enemies, but they are much weaker than the Browns.  Greens are poison-resistant and can stealth, allowing for surprise attacks.  Reds and Greens are also able to clear away fire and poison respectively, allowing you and the rest of your minions to pass through unharmed, and reach new areas of the map.  Blues are rather different to the others, able to enter water without drowning, and revive other minions, but they will not attack enemies unless specifically directed to do so.  They have a magical attack too, useful for enemies encountered later on.

In some areas you need to choose which minions to send where, making sure to keep Reds out of range of enemies, or splitting Greens out from the pack to stealth and lie in wait.. so there is some strategy involved.. but it’s also rather a lot of fun to allow them to just wreak havok too.. smashing things, eating and drinking.. and even getting drunk and peeing on the carpet!

I also picked up the expansion pack, Raising Hell, which adds more missions to the end of the game, as well as sequel, Overlord II.  Steam sales.. 😉

Chaos Rising

5.30am.  Dark and cold.  This is a time of day best slept through, but at the end of February, I found myself getting out of my warm bed and getting ready for a day in London with THQ and Chaos Rising, the first expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II.  After baking in the train – the heating was broken in my carriage and thus on full blast – I was glad of the cold outside 🙂

The event was held in HMV’s Gamerbase in the Trocadero Centre, easy enough to find.  However, the toilets were not so easy to find (none in the Gamerbase or even on the same floor) and then when I did find them.. well.
I figured a £1 charge to be a bit excessive, and ended up sneaking into the McDonalds a few streets down instead!

So, the game..
Chaos Rising adds a new campaign to run through, this time facing the Chaos Space Marines.  These are a corrupted form of the Space Marines you control, with a new set of skills and abilities.  Only the first three missions were available to play at the event, following which the guests tried out the multiplayer side of the game.  Of the new units, the Great Unclean One stood out as a rather interesting, if hideous specimen 🙂

A new corruption mechanic has been added to the expansion, with your squads gaining corruption for questionable actions, such as taking items from Shrines, or ignoring optional side missions to help out civilians.  Gaining corruption leads to different abilities and access to higher level wargear, but will lead to you being unable to use other wargear for which you need to be Pure.

Along with the campaign, there are new units for each of the races, new maps, and extra modes for multiplayer including free-for-all, which probably means I should brace for a beating 😉

My favourite mode, Last Stand, gains two new heroes, the Tyranid Hive Tyrant and the Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer.  Both of these can summon minions too, which makes for an interesting group of allies!