April 14, 2001
Heroes of Might & Magic - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price

Click To Enlarge Image
Texture detail is quite stunning.
3DO are quite possibly the most underrated developers at the moment. Their games are almost always of very high quality but never manage to sell in great quantities. From Army Men to Legacy Of Kain and this series, Might & Magic, the company makes some quality titles. Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the DragonBone Staff, which is the games full name, looks like yet another exciting action strategy game from the company.

The story is as follows; Darkness reigns. Sinister creatures stalk the innocent. King Argus III lies helpless and unconscious, dying from the assassination attempt that has left him poisoned and weak. Malazak, the revenge-driven son of the Wyrm-Father, awaits King Argus's death so he can divide the kingdom between himself, a demon, and a dark Minotaur. Only one possesses the power to set things right. You must find the DragonBone Staff. The fate of the kingdom rests in your hands.

Click To Enlarge Image
Prepare for large scale management.
Heroes of Might and Magic begins with you selecting a character to lead an army into battle. During your quest you will have to explore four vast continents to combat opposing armies as well as wandering monsters while searching for the DragonBone Staff. In your adventures, you must collect pieces of the Puzzle Map which, when pieced together, will reveal the Staff's secret location. Visit towns, explore forests, raid castles; each of these places is a new opportunity to build up your army, and importantly earn gold to spend on new soldiers and equipment.

Click To Enlarge Image
One you are shown while traveling.
While wondering through the countryside your army is represented by your character only. The same is true of the enemies who also appear as only one warrior or monster. When you come face to face with someone else the game enters the combat mode where you are then transported to the battlefield.

Each member of your army that appears on the battlefield represents numerous troops of that type; for example, one Sprite on the battlefield represents every Sprite in your army, so that one Sprite moves and attacks for all 32 Sprites in your army. If you are playing the Sorceress, your initial army on the battlefield may appear as one Peasant and one Sprite, but you actually have multiple Peasants and Sprites. You control each army type's movement and attack on the battlefield, and each type gets a turn to move or attack in each round. In other words, if your Peasant stands in front of a Skeleton on the battlefield and you press the "Attack" button, all 42 of the Peasants in your army will attack all of the Skeletons in the opposing army. Text appears to let you know what happened to each individual of your Peasant group, such as "10 Skeletons attack, 5 Peasants die".

Click To Enlarge Image
Lighting is quite impressive.
Graphically Heroes of Might and Magic isn't the most impressive seen on the Playstation 2, but it is definitely the best in the series to date and very functional. Spells should prove to be exciting, but no where near as extravagant as those in Square's Final Fantasy series.

The Playstation 2 has allowed 3DO to create the worlds of Might and Magic in more detail then ever before. Recruiting your own armies to generate your own strengths is always a lot of fun while the 17 villains which you can take out a contract on will be no pushover and will provide a lengthy gameplay experience. To add to the games longevity 3DO are promising randomised gameplay ensuring a different game each time you play it.