The turn-based strategy/role-playing genre continues its late-1990s comeback with the release of Strategy First's fantasy-based world of magic, mayhem, and malevolence in Disciples: Sacred Lands. Set in a magical kingdom filled with a wide-ranging and diverse population, you can choose to play as any one of four major races in an epic struggle to rule the land or exact revenge.
Each of the four races answers to a higher god as the armies fight for total control of the kingdom through physical combat, magic spells, and cunning strategies. The individual races have completely different outlooks and their actions follow those philosophies with proprietary spells, creatures, warriors, and artifacts to help their cause. Once a race is selected, you then choose which of three Lord types you desire, each with inherent abilities, strengths, and limitations.
In Disciples: Sacred Lands, you can choose to guide the peace loving Empire, people trying desperately to overcome a terrible prophecy that speaks of poisoned soil and the advent of beasts and demons. Or, you may want to side with the fierce dwarfish race of miners and traders known as The Mountain Clans, comfortable in their mercantile community before the blight of war was unleashed.
You can cast your lot with the Legions of the Damned, led by the Prince of Hell Bethrezen, who has temporarily escaped the realm of exile where he was banished six thousand years earlier by the almighty Highfather. Also in need of your guidance is the horribly disfigured and depraved goddess of life Mortis, with her clan of The Undead Hordes, bent entirely upon revenge, not conquest.
The three types of Lords from which to choose include the Warrior Lord (strong fighter), Mage Lord (strong magic), or Guildmaster Lord (versatility). Other options include a campaign mode (Saga) where several chapters (or quests) link together to tell the overall story of Disciples: Sacred Lands or the "Quest" mode, consisting of single scenarios where nothing carries forward into the next one, unlike the sagas.
Each turn in the game represents one full day in the life of the kingdom. You can explore, build or upgrade your cities (both capital and regular), research spells, select and train new heroes and armies, manage your inventories by buying and selling artifacts, magic scrolls, or potions, and engage in combat against your enemies. Nearly all action is click-and-point with some keyboard shortcuts offered as well.
In addition to the aforementioned actions, successful gameplay requires such deeds as transformation of terrain, capturing enemy cities, looting, managing resources and cities, researching spells, diplomacy, management of armies, building structures, tracking unit statistics, and upgrading weapons and armor as experience is gained, spying, stealing, assassination, bribery and more.
Disciples: Sacred Lands supports up to four players over a LAN or the Internet as well as two players via direct link (modem or serial cable). All units and leaders are tracked in 16 categories and most units can rise to a maximum of eight levels. Each race features specific entities that are constrained by the type of character they are in terms of physical or magic capabilities and aggression, equipment and items or artifacts.
The game includes a Scenario Editor for creating your own quests, has over 100 magical spells, dozens of unique leaders and units for each race, more than 40 neutral units and characters and a huge array of items, tomes, scrolls, and banners (special attribute modifiers). Disciples: Sacred Lands can be played at four levels of difficulty ranging from easy to very hard.
People who downloaded Disciples: Sacred Lands: Gold Edition have also downloaded:
Disciples 2: Dark Prophecy, Etherlords 2, Etherlords, Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, Empire Earth, Dark Reign: Rise of the Shadowhand, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, Dune 2000
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