As a lover of real-time strategy games, I went into Blood and Magic with high hopes. Unlike the typical real-time game, there's nothing to harvest in Blood and Magic. The only resource needed is mana, collected automatically throughout the game. Additionally, there's a cap to the amount of mana you have. Building an army can take you from full to no resources very quickly, adding an interesting twist to the normal strategy of harvesting.
Nothing would have made me happier than to say that this game is a revelation, a representative example of this genre. Unfortunately, that's about the only innovative thing in Blood and Magic. The number of creatures researched and built is sufficient, but both sides of every conflict have the exact same creatures. Even more important, you can win any of the scenarios without ever building the bulk of those creatures because play balance isn't what it should be. Paladins are incredibly powerful and, at the cost of ten mana points, can heal themselves and other creatures. Golems hit for incredible damage and have a ton of hit points making them perfect attack troops. Gnomes can repair your structures cheaply and heal your Golems. Wizards, in large groups, are able to burn through virtually anything. With a few exceptions, you don't need much more.
While the five stories offer diverse plots, the play never changes. One story, Harvest of Horrors, adds a few new units to the mix, which makes this one a little more interesting, but the same basic idea always wins. The most interesting inclusion in the game are the Basal Golems, who can act as troops or generate mana in their dormant state. Basal Golems, when moved to empty building sites, can also be transformed into structures and when moved next to a structure, can be turned into a more powerful creature. This is an interesting idea and in the context of the game, it works fairly well.
The biggest problem is, once past the first half dozen battles, Blood and Magic stagnates. Even on the more unfriendly terrains, you don't need to change the basic plan of softening up the enemy defenses with Paladins and Wizards before crushing all remaining resistance with Golems. In effect, it's like playing the same scenario repeatedly.
Blood and Magic is an interesting concept. The Advanced Dungeons and Dragons license is a pull and the way mana collection and Basal Golems work is interesting. Too bad nothing else is. Only the most dedicated strategy gamers will stay interested long enough to play through all of the stories from both sides, as well as the full campaign.
Graphics: Not bad. The creatures are easily distinguishable and the terrain and objects are diverse and interesting.
Sound: Decent, but nothing exceptional.
Enjoyment: While the basic game is entertaining, when the same strategy wins every time, it gets stale quickly.
Replay Value: There's a lot here. Playing through everything takes you over every map three times.
Blood & Magic is a real-time strategy game focused on unit management rather than base construction. It uses the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons license (and thus has AD&D type units) and takes place in the Forgotten Realms AD&D setting. There are five separate storyline scenarios of increasing difficulty with three missions per scenario, playable from the side of both factions each, for a total of 30 missions in the game.
The game is tile-based with a 2D top-down perspective. The player starts out with the ability to create Basal Golems, around which the game revolves since they generate your sole source of power: mana. By spending mana they can be transformed into stronger fighter units or, less frequently, into buildings. The various types of terrain affect combat & movement; magical items may be found on the battlefield (and the enemy does use them, too!).
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