The Golden Horde review

What would Genghis Khan do?

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Cool time period

  • +

    Three huge campaigns

  • +

    Strong RTS ideas


  • -

    The tedious slog

  • -

    Buggy engine

  • -

    Dated graphics

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Ah, history. Stranger than fiction, and the source of the best stories. JoWooD, makers of variable quality games... wait a second. Is this the same game we just reviewed earlier today? Why no, of course not, it’s a game based on the wars between Russia, the Mongols and the Crusaders - our very favourite period of medieval warfare! What’s more, instead of a mere two campaigns as in Fate of Hellas, there are three! That means, according to the laws of maths, this should be 33% better.

But it’s not any percent better. In fact, it’s just as tedious and sludgy, as it’s merely another expandalone of Ancient Wars: Sparta, which WorldForge built using exactly the same tech last year. And thanks to a bunch of bugs cropping up, it’s occasionally unplayable, as you can’t click on certain key units. That’s a real shame because we actually want to like this game a whole lot more than we like the Greek game of the same parentage.

The units - Russians, Mongols and Christian knights from the Northern Crusades - make up a swathe of history that’s incredibly rich, interesting and violent. There are elements of strong RTS ideas here too: like the modularly expanded town around which your base-building focuses, or the way in which units interact with each other and the terrain.

What’s most difficult to stomach, however, is that this is a game that sits in the wrong place for us to recommend it. It’s too slow and awkward to be seen as a modern RTS, and the events in it are all well-narrated but drama-free. It wants to tell the stories of medieval history, but instead tells the stories of the limitations of modern game development. There’s nothing here that can’t be found in a mechanistically better form in games like Command & Conquer or Warcraft III, or in a historically richer form in games like Medieval II. WorldForge are doing their best, we’re sure, but sadly it’s just not good enough.

Apr 25, 2008

More info

DescriptionA poorly paced, sometimes buggy strategy game that sadly squanders its interesting historical story.
US censor rating""
UK censor rating"16+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)