Castles II: Seige & Conquest is an upgraded and modified version of Castles. Gameplay involves accumulating enough points (7,000) to petition the Pope for a throne, then holding your position for a few game months to win. However, since everyone in Europe will be targeting you and your castles, this is difficult to achieve. The castle construction interface from Castles has been simplified, but intricate sub-plots have been added, making decision making even more difficult. Over 30 minutes of BBC documentary footage details the historical planning and construction of medieval castles. Also included are classic film clips from Alexander Nevsky and The Private Life of Henry VIII.
Castles II expands on the original by changing the interface and adding video cutscenes on the CD-based versions.
You choose to be one of five feuding lords vying for the Crown. Conquering, spying, sabotage, diplomacy, whatever it takes--as long as you keep the Pope and your people happy. You have to reach 7,000 points to petition the Pope for the throne, and then you have to maintain those points for 4-5 game months to win the game. However, your rivals will attack you as soon as the Pope declares his support, so be sure you have a strong military before applying for the Papal backing.
Castle building is more efficient and easier to deal with. You can also set up pre-made castles on file so that you can place them quickly. Battles are set in a full alternate screen with the ability to place and command each unit.
The game Castles 2: Siege and Conquest takes place after the death of France's King Charles in the year 1311. Normally, the king's heir would take his throne, but King Charles didn't have an heir. This is where you come in. Your task will be to take over as much of France as possible, and then try to claim the throne. If the pope agrees, he will make you king of France.
You start out with one province in a corner of France. In order to advance into other provinces, you will have to build castles and form a good relationship with the pope if you want him to proclaim you the king of France. Spying, scouting, attacking, building, gathering, and diplomacy are very important parts of the game.
Except for that, you will also have to take care of your people's happiness, the payments for your soldiers, stop provinces from revolting and facing random encounters which add a story element to the game. To make things worse, the pope repeatedly comes to you, saying that your sins will be forgiven if you give him gold.
The biggest drawback of the game is the combat system which does not really have much strategy involved. The only thing you do in the battle is place the troops and tell them whether to destroy, go to melee battle or retreat. When you are defending yourself, you get to choose where the battles take place. Also, since they are fighting on known terrain, your soldiers will be twice as strong as soldiers of the attacking team.
As the name tells you, castles are also included in this game and they are a very fun element. Building the castle is pretty entertaining, but sadly the options are rather limited. You can choose between square or round towers, high or low walls and gates. I think that they should have added some other elements like dungeons, barracks and guard stations in order to make the gameplay even more interesting. Castles are also essential in keeping the provinces safe from revolting, but you will only need to build one for each 4 or 5 provinces under your command.
The music in Castles 2 is truly amazing. It's in middle Ages style, and really catchy. When you are in battle, you can hear O Fortuna from Carmina Burana! Even The Pope has his own "Darth Vader Theme March" kind of thing which is played whenever he comes into play. The music is not of the kind that annoys you after being played over a couple of times, but it's more the music you start singing along with (off the record, we did). This is without a doubt one of the best game scores I've ever heard!
The Graphics are pretty good in the castle design mode, but in battle they aren't really a thing to talk about. Battle graphics basically come down to a lot of tiny 2D soldiers and archers running around and fighting. The fighting style is mid-eighties like hack n' slash style, not really much work involved. On the other hand, a nice cut scene is played whenever something major happens, like a castle being complete or the attacking force reaching its destination. These cut scenes are shown in grayscale mode in a tiny rectangle that appears in the lower right corner of the game screen. Not much but they really add some nice spice to the game ;)
All together this game is great fun! Castle building is great, and so is getting rich and claiming France. The music is wonderful, and though the graphics aren't spectacular, they are not a drawback that makes the game less enjoyable. This is a game that definitely deserves a pure five mark. Our advice to you is to get real comfy in your chair, press the download button, turn up the sound and enjoy!
People who downloaded Castles 2: Siege and Conquest have also downloaded:
Castles, Castles: The Northern Campaign, Civilization 2, Civilization, Centurion: Defender of Rome, Civil War Generals 2, Cavewars, Caesar 3
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