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There was a time in which wars were won in battlefields; warriors waited positioned in front our walls ready to attack. Missions were achieved by those armies with the best technological advances, and our objective was to build the biggest Wonder ever known…But these times are over. Stronghold Crusader is the successor of the best-selling Stronghold, which after having made us fight around a Medieval pseudo-Europe, it takes us now to fight against the Arabian expansionin the Crusades. Play Stronghold Crusader to help Richard the Lionheart to handle conflicts with a good strategy and build a thriving society able to support your army.

Stronghold Crusader Features

  • It keeps Stronghold’s world and enhances its tropes and buildings
  • New plot based on Crusades
  • Quite high difficulty, ideal for lovers of this kind of games
  • Online mode pretty attractive and dynamic
  • Game’s web which offers technical support, forum, store and online community

Review

Second part, or extension? Neither the one nor the other, Stronghold Crusader is the continuation of the well-known strategy game of Firefly Studios, and that brings us to a game completely identical to its predecessor, with the same approach and fighting system, but with an (finally now) accurate historical touch, from which you can start a real plot.

For those of you who don’t already know this game, let me tell you a bit of history. Around the year 2001, with strategy genre at the end of its golden days, a beam of light surprised all of us. A simple game at first sight, but which was hid a curious complexity. Yes, our objective in Stronghold Crusader is to remove all the invaders we face on our map, but at the same time, we will have to generate and maintain our own city and fortress, controlling the happiness of thepopulation, and that they have enough food and thus pay their taxes to keep the wars in which their lord is involved.

Stronghold Crusader revolves around a castle, our “hero” is resting in it, and with him, some citizens look for a better life. From now on, our task, in the single-player mode, will be to create a village in which citizens can live and develop. For example, building some houses we will see how mothers appear taking care of their new-borns, as well as some children will start running around the map. Villagers will surround the fire in front of the castle and start working in the tasks developed in every building we create. This way, they will collect wood whenever we give them a store where they can keep their tools; stone and iron when we buy quarries; and food when they work on farms or farmland crops. Everything, obviously, taking care of them against enemy invasions. You can also use units of assassins and mercenary soldiers to take advantage of them.

Regarding all what we have previously mentioned, it seems that Stronghold Crusader is just another real-time strategy game, nevertheless, inside it there is an interesting combination of genrelays, altogether with an excellent online mode. To battles and real-time recollections, the guys of FireFly Studios have added the logistic power of urban construction games.

From now on, our success in history will not only depend on our advance on weapons; we will also need to manage our settlement to be a good place to live in, that generates the necessary money for its defence and the managing of the war, and that workers feel happy and thankful for helping their Feudal Lord. To achieve this, you will need to manage the obtaining of nourishment, creation of weapons, jobs, stores, homes in which villagers can live…

Thus, if we don’t have houses we will not have families and there won’t be labour force to work in farm fields, to be fletchers, brewers, or to create weaponry. In the case of having a limited number of resources, we may set restrictions in the alimentary rations of our subjects, but they may dislike it and lead the city to chaos. Taxes are also something disliked among villagers, but they are our main source of incomes…and all these issues have to be solved before the enemies that threat us, attack.

Stronghold Crusader follows the line initiated by Stronghold a year before. The same graphics and some enhancement for one of those games which appeared pretty quietly and that worked perfectly. Its success is based on the mixture of genres and of the online mode, and moreover, because it has been able to return to that old strategy, simple and effective.

We are placed in the 12th century. Europe fights in the Holy Land against Arabians in a war that will last for two centuries. Kings and nobles of all over the old continent are coming to the Near East looking for redemption and victory. After the undefined medieval Europe of the first game, the action now is placed between the second and the third Crusade.

The gameplay of Stronghold Crusader is quite interesting and it is divided into several modes:

  • History Mode: Richard the Lionheart, a brave King of England, is a crusader and the hero of the history of this game.
  • In 50 missions linked among them, we will help him to go through the old continent to the conquest of Jerusalem and in his battle against the great Saladin.
  • Historic Campaign Mode: divided in four blocks of five missions each, it will make us live concrete historical events among European forces and the Arabian World, during the second and the third Crusade.
  • Customized Game: choose your rivals and the kind of map and manage the whole territory. Just in case we still want more, this game includes a map creator to generate our own adventures.

Regarding graphical aspects, we have to admit that we are no facing something marvellous. Modelling, animations and other 3D effects that we can find in other strategy games are conspicuous by their absence in Stronghold Crusader. Nevertheless, we do also have to take into account that the shift to 2D has been made quite graciously. Tropes are really well differentiated from one to another and with some animations that make them unique. Buildings and strongholds are also pretty full of details and scenarios are full of different elements such as animals, stones, rivers, different kinds of trees, and different landscapes, which give a sensation of life. The setting is completed with a quite goodsoundtrack, but that follows the general line of the strategy game: quiet melodies together with great sound effects.

The online game is another of the possibilities that grant the fun. In the developer’s web we will find a great number of online forums that will help us to find other players, as well as the options of a great technical support. From patches to correct errors, to mini-games, modding utilities, guide editor, screensavers and other additional content to download online for free in order to expand the game experience.

PHP Nuke’s opinion of Stronghold Crusader

Stronghold Crusader is a strategy game that comes too late in many issues and without any improvements. The strategy genre has suffered a big decay, partially because of the oversaturation of titles that in many cases, are only different because of the worlds or the historical periods in which they are placed. The graphics are 2D again and even if they are elaborated and have a bigvariety of forms and objects, they are still simple and outdated facing the 3D models we find in other games of this sector. However, the union of game’s concepts has generated a pretty funny and appealingprogram.

Regarding the strategy, Stronghold Crusader lacks some strong points. It’s relatively complex to use and battles always end in a quite chaotic way. When we fight against the machine, we can see that its attacks are soft but continuous. However, while we will find the History mode pretty simple, single missions will become real nightmares against the PC. Moreover, sieges will be so frequent that it will be a bit complicated for us to manage the economy of our society without losing our minds.

And actually, the real work in Stronghold Crusader is not battling; keeping our villagers safe and happy will be something essential. The key will be trying to make work onlythe ones who are strictly necessary.In order to do that, we will have to keep the houses at minimum levels and to create more just if it is indispensable. This way, we will have all the vacant jobs filled but we will not spend nourishment in vain.

At the bottom part of the screen we can see a man with a book. His face will be very important because it is the reflection of the moral and satisfaction of the citizens towards us. Making them angry will only unchain the loss of effectives and thus the paralysation of the city. We have to try to generate resources enough to fit together the war with the creation of a prosper city.

Churches, taverns, and gardens will relieve riots caused by the high taxes. Walls and patrolled walls will give us a certain advantage over extern enemy, but we will also have to fight against the internal one. Diseases transmitted by some animals can quickly decimate our population; and our weakness as governors can promote riots that can end up with us or whir the gibbet to the insurgents. The way our subjects see us, (fear – benevolence) will also have an effect on our game.

Castles can be enhanced in lots of ways. We will have extensions available, stairs, walls, watchtowers, etc. Their creation is made almost immediately, so we won’t have to wait too long until they are built to start using them, nor spending villagers on it. There is also a wide range of buildings, all interconnected among them. You will have to think both in crops and in barns to keep and store your products. We will also need to extend the resources we get and the weapons we create, so if we have a good production, we will need enough space. In Stronghold Crusader the survival of the society will depend on its inner organization.

As we can observe, we are not facing a simple game. It will be quite hard starting to play with guarantees, and much more, to master the techniques of management of the city and of the combats. The tutorial should be the solution, but it is actually quite deficient in explaining more concepts that just the basic ones of: camera, movement, and creation of some buildings.

The first victory will be especially sweet, but before it, we will have to bear in mind that we are going to lose a lot of times. But talking about humiliating defeats, the online mode is where we will suffer the most. From rounds lasting hours, to be killed in just a few minutes, that’s why I strongly recommend the game through LAN (although it needs an original CD for each computer). To get more information about Stronghold Crusader after the download, don’t doubt about visiting the .

Technical requirements

To install and play Stronghold Crusader we will need:

  • Operating System: Windows 95 or higher
  • RAM Memory: 64MB
  • Free space in hard disk: 750 MB
  • Graphic card of 4 MB compatible with Direct X.
  • Internet connexion for online mode

Conclusions

Stronghold Crusader is the anticipated continuation of the game developed by FireFly Studios with the same name. Exactly the same regarding the graphics and system of its predecessor, Crusader places us in Christian and Arabian wars of the second and third Crusades. It can be through the steps of Richard the Lionheart, or remembering historical battles of the moment, the game will give us the task of creating a new city around the castle and protecting it. In order to do that, we can count on our biggest source: villagers, which will help or abandon us, depending on our management and defence of their interests.

Thus, we are facing a game that combines strategy and urban management in a product in which our survival is based on the good inner choices and in the construction of a big castle. Ideal and completely recommended for all the lovers of the strategy, especially of the one that used to be made years ago.

Pros
  • Innovation of a genre that was beginning to get halted
  • Good storyline and online mode
  • New tropes and game’s necessities
  • Web support with updates, forum and shop
  • Simple but effective graphics…
Cons
  • Too simple for current times
  • Too chaotic battle systems
  • Exactly the same game as its predecessor
  • Poor tutorial that does not explain combat techniques
  • Some requirements are needed to play Stronghold Crusader multiplayer

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USER REVIEWS

Revive the Crusade's history with Firefly's strategy game for PC

By Benjamin White

On Monday, April 21, 2014

Join the sacred forces of the crusades in this strategy game. You can take part of the historic campaigns of King Richard the Lionheart against Saladin, who took Jerusalem. The quality of this title is similar to the ones that are relatives to this one, from the Stronghold series. The strategy elements are the same of these previous titles from Firefly studios. The graphic aspect has gotten older with the years, but it at least keeps the charm that the game had. I personally find this kind of games really long since you need enough time to complete the 50 different missions that are included in this expansion pack.

I think this title is perfect for those players that want to learn something while they entertain themselves with a bit of action. In this case, you can learn something about historical facts joining Richard I of England. Stronghold Crusader combines real characters with others that are fictional in order to improve the game experience. In the multiplayer aspect, it is also really good, but it lacks the action that others like Warcraft III feature. Stronghold Crusader is really good in any aspect, but if you want a fast paced game this one will require more than your think.

Pros

  • Good historical campaign with great battles
  • Detailed and addictive strategy gameplay

Cons

  • It has gotten too old for new players
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