We take King's Bounty: Crossworlds for a spin to see if it's all it's cracked up to be
The King's Bounty series has been a bit of a revelation on the PC. Its interesting blend of RPG and traditional turn-based strategy was welcomed by PC gamers with open arms. The first game was quickly followed by King's Bounty: Armoured Princess, a full-length stand-alone expansion that was every bit the equal of its predecessor.
Amelie does some treasure hunting in the deepest darkest caverns
Now comes King's Bounty: Crossworlds, which is essentially a game of the year edition of King's Bounty: Armoured Princess featuring three additional expansion packs spanning several worlds in the King's Bounty universe. The three packs are Orcs on the March which adds a raft of new content to the existing Armoured Princess campaign, Champion of the Arena which is a gladiatorial grind of boss battles in an arena dimension in the deep desert and Defender of the Crown which follows Princess Amelie's quest to earn the title of Defender of the Crown.
The expansions included here really add a massive amount of content. Armoured Princess begins with the land of Teana in great peril from the demon lord Baal. Amelie is sent to another dimension to find the great hero Ben Gilbert to help defeat Baal at the 11th hour, saving the realm from complete destruction.
In the new dimension Amelie discovers that in order to get the help of the king of the new realm she needs to find a series of magic stones. While searching for the stones Amelie can search for clues as to the whereabouts of the lost knight. Here the first addition enters in the shape of the Orcs on the March expansion. As well as following the main quest it adds the chance to wander the frontiers to fend off bands of Orcs marauding on the borders. It also adds a whole load of new units including Orcs to join the Armoured Princess in her quest.
For those that haven't experienced King's Bounty before the Armoured Princess is a simple game to get your head around. The adventuring is a simple point and click affair moving Amelie around with a simple click of the mouse. The realm in Armoured Princess is broken up into islands which you need to discover charts for in order to visit. There are also a whole range of merchants and other interesting inhabitants who can give you side quest or sell you magic items, spell scrolls and even hire you mercenaries for your army.
The army consists of up to five units. The type and size of the units is all dependent on Princess Amelie's leadership skill. You can collect leadership bonuses as they are dotted around the landscape in all sorts of nooks and crannies and your leadership increases as you level up. You can chop and change your troopers as often as you want as long as you have the money, so when better troops appear you can pick them up and disband any units that you don't need.
The Armoured Princess can make use of magical creatures in her battles
The combat is a bit of a curious blend of real-time and turn-based strategy. Princess Amelie also has an extra weapon in her arsenal, a baby dragon of her choosing from the beginning of her time in the new realm. The dragon is a powerful tool that can be used once every turn. As the dragon levels up so does his powers and you can customise the dragon's powers as well.
The battles take place over a traditional hexagonal grid with real time animations for the attacks. Each troop type even has at least one special attack. Archers, for instance start each battle with one fire arrow which inflicts additional damage on the target in subsequent turns and one ice arrow which has the potential for freezing the target. The men-at-arms that you begin the game with have a heavy blow attack which recharges over three turns so can be used again in longer battles
You also have access to a spell book which is home to all your spell scrolls and, if you choose Amelie to be a magic user or have mages in your army, it also houses your spells. Again you can use magic once every turn and there are a vast range of spells within the game from spells to enhance and protect your army to an impressive array of fireballs, lightning arcs and magic arrows to crush your enemies with.
The final addition to the adventures of Princess Amelie is the Defender of the Crown expansion which returns her to Teana to set out on a quest to earn her the title of Defender of the Crown. This is a tough expansion which sees you join battle against the lizardmen and provides an added challenge for those who have spent an extensive amount of time playing through King's Bounty and Armoured Princess.
The odd one out is the Champion of the Arena expansion. This is because it follows the adventures of a mercenary called Arthur rather than Princess Amelie. Arthur takes on a quest to become a legendary warrior by taking part in a magical gladiatorial battle in a mysterious arena hidden deep within a dangerous desert. He is summoned there by magic and has to defeat a series of exceptionally tough boss battles to win fame and fortune as the Champion of the Arena.
There are nine boss battles in all and each one is intensely tough. Even the first one, a giant magic wielding tortoise is exceptionally hard. On the bright side though, Arthur has access to an unlimited supply of money to hire mercenaries to his aid to help him defeat such a series of fearsome opponents. The one thing that stands out from the other parts of the Crossworlds set is that Arthur does not have access to a pet baby dragon and so all his victories must come from his skill as a warrior and commander. Despite being relatively short in comparison to the other packs included in Crossworlds this if probably by far the most challenging.
Crossworlds has the biggest array of spells yet
The best moment is learning to master the use of your pet dragon. Just choose which colour you want to suit your fighting style and then use his abilities to crush your enemies.
King’s Bounty: Crossworlds turns out to be a bit of a King’s Bounty in terms of RPG action. The combination of strategy and role-playing still stands out from the crowd and the added bonus of so many extra quests, items and units crammed together really adds value to the game. For those who haven’t played either of the King’s Bounty titles it is a great way to get introduced to the series and for King’s Bounty fans this is a great amount of content crammed onto one disc. This is a classic compendium of King’s Bounty adventures and should be a welcome addition to any PC RPG gamer’s collection.
TOP GAME MOMENT
The best moment is learning to master the use of your pet dragon. Just choose which colour you want to suit your fighting style and then use his abilities to crush your enemies.Click here to buy & download King’s Bounty: Crossworlds from GameWatcher.com!