Warhammer: Mark of Chaos

Thursday 6 April 2006
For all of the awe-inspiring majesty of the Total War games, they never had a giant who can store enemy soldiers in a cage on his belt as health-boosting snacks, and who, upon being killed, will crush any troops beneath him as he collapses. Historical accuracy has its place, but sometimes a fantasy setting is just more fun.

Mark of Chaos intends to deliver epic war, set in the dark, tremendously cool Warhammer fantasy world, and it intends to deliver it in spades. And as well as the fighting proper - complete with sieges, huge beasties and rock-hard champions - there's an in-depth strategic mode for single-player campaigns and multiplayer bouts.

Between battles, you order your warbands around a large-scale map of the world in real time, capturing resources and castles and then funnelling earnings into more men and development of holdings. If two armies meet, it's showtime and the game zooms into the view you see adorning these pages.

The plan is for the player to spend 80% of the time in battle mode, 20% of the time in strategic mode and 100% of the time grinning at either the insane bloodshed or the imminent prospect of it.

While sending hundreds of men running forward to crash into lines of enemy troops (and being on the receiving end of such a move) might therefore be only a small part of Mark of Chaos, Black Hole Games knows it's just about the best bit and are spending a lot of time giving combat a visceral, weighty feel.