No tights or capes required.
The land of Erathia is in chaos. With the death of King Gryphonheart, anarchy rules the land. Now, the land spills over with the kind of monsters and creatures that your mother warned you about as a child. In a disturbing twist of fate, at the head of this swarm of hellspawn lay the commander-in-chief of these nightmarish hoards . . . none other than the corpse of King Gryphonheart himself. Now it is up to the Heroes of this blighted land to rise up and vanquish evil, in whatever form it might take. Will peace be restored to Erathia? Or will chaos reign supreme? Fight on, brave heroes, fight on . . .
A few of you may remember a game from about nine or ten years ago called King's Bounty. Like many of the early great games, it has been forgotten by most people. But its spirit lives on in the form of Heroes of Might and Magic III, the latest installment of this popular series. With more monsters, more hero types, a brand new continent, and endless replay value, Heroes of Might and Magic III is sure to please every die-hard strategy fan.
Unlike its RPG counterparts (see Might and Magic VI), Heroes of Might and Magic III is a turn-based strategy game. Each player controls a certain number of towns. From those towns, he can recruit heroes to work for him. These heroes then have to recruit armies from the towns and surrounding dwellings. When a hero's army encounters another army, they fight! Once all the player's heroes have run out of movement points and the towns have all been used, the turn is over and it's the next player's turn. Simple to learn, simple to play, but difficult to win.
The graphics in Heroes of Might and Magic III are nothing that will change the world. In fact, the look and feel is so similar to its predecessors that I just couldn't help thinking about King's Bounty. I've always been a fan of the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Besides the awful grammar, it reminds us that as designers attempt to make games bigger and better, they shouldn't forget what made that game fun. Of course, if you're the proud owner of Heroes of Might and Magic II, you may just wonder whether or not it matters if you buy the third installment.
The number of creatures and heroes in Heroes of Might and Magic III is simply mind-boggling. It will take a long time for any gamers to feel that the game is repetitive. With eight different types of towns (each with at about fourteen different troops that you can recruit), the depth is endless. Each time you play, the game will take a different shape.
On top of the seemingly endless number of creatures, you'll find a huge number of maps and missions. The maps come in small, medium, large, or extra-large sizes, and each can have an assortment of ways to win or lose. While the point of one map is to exterminate your enemy, the point of another is to find a buried treasure. I found myself playing the same map over and over, since every time you played various items, creatures, and dwellings were in different locations. You can play again and again and not get bored. They even include a map editor to create your own brand of fun!
Tired of playing on your own? Heroes of Might and Magic III gives you multiple ways of enjoying the multiplayer experience. Besides the now common practice of Internet play, you can actually still play Heroes on a single computer with players alternating turns at the keyboard. I've always enjoyed this form of multiplayer and am happy to see that it still exists on some games. It helps to be able to actually see your opponent . . . and drink with him.
The only drawback I found was that the Campaign mode was too short. You are only given three or so maps per campaign. While each campaign takes many hours to beat, I would have liked to keep playing with the same heroes on more maps, getting them bigger and stronger. Each campaign just seemed to end too abruptly. More depth here would have added some serious RPG quality.
All in all, Heroes of Might and Magic III is a good solid game. While it doesn't do anything particularly new with the series, it doesn't do anything harmful either. Just imagine it as Heroes of Might and Magic II +, a slightly bigger and better version of the same game. That game, however, is fun, addicting, and endlessly replayable. If you've never played Heroes of Might and Magic and you love strategy, this here is the game for you.