Did the Spanish Armada get eaten by a giant beetle? Was Waterloo won when Napoleon found himself scythed into chunks by the talons of a sphinx? Did Cromwell seal a decisive victory at the Battle of Naseby by the tactical deployment of a minotaur? No, and if you’re like us, you think that the world is a slightly sadder place for it. Similarly aware that pikemen are less fun than eagles that shoot lightning, THQ and Griptonite Games have decided to ditch the historical stodge for the latest Age Of Empires game. Instead, they’ve created a game based on units raided from the fevered imaginings of nutbags across the ancient world – namely the Egyptians, Greeks and Vikings.
Like Backbone Entertainment’s 2006 DS game Age Of Empires: The Age Of Kings, Griptonite aims to take a PC RTS (in this case, Age of Mythologies) and trim away the flab to reveal a leaner, turn-based core that feels as snappy and handheld-suited as you’d expect from a post-Advance Wars strategy game. Since Backbone was nice enough to let Griptonite have its game code, we expect that most features of that earlier Age Of Empires DS game will make a reappearance. One thing that won’t be coming back, say the devs, is the confusion between your units on a cluttered battlefield. Although this is apparently solved by sharper graphics, we suspect that it’s also a touch easier to differentiate your basic units from towering, bright-red scorpion men.
Just as in Age of Kings, the game helpfully displays the stats of potentially warring units before combat begins, giving you a prediction of the outcome. Where the previous game had an earthly advisor inform you of the likely result, Mythologies has its soothsaying delivered by a talking falcon. We approve of this change, and wish that we had a talking falcon at all times.
Strategy’s an oddly under-represented genre on the DS, and Mythologies is shaping up to fill the gap nicely. Even more importantly, you can command giant beetles.
Aug 4, 2008
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