Great Games You Probably Haven't Played Pt 6
Posted by PlasmaDavid , 08 March 2012 · 864 views
are you even elves? jigglin ass giant swords rockin
Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusades
KUF was released in 2004, back in my mid teen years when Halo was king. My younger neighbour was lucky enough to get an X-Box, and after a period of fanboyism, I finally got stuck into Halo with him and the wonderful greatness of the X-Box was discovered. This on it's own isn't very conducive to a blog post about how I love KUF and played it lots, so it's a good thing my dad happened to win an X-Box bundle through a competition from one of the many tech journals he read. Puny teenage mind blown, a GameCube AND an X-Box.
Eventually my neighbour got a stack of pirated games from Bali, and got his X-Box chipped so he could play them. Borrowing his X-Box and these games introduced me to many great games, such as Prince of Persia Sands of Time (such fantastic characterisation AND gameplay, what a combo!) Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusades was one of these games.
It's a third person real time tactics hack'n'slash with RPG elements. And by that I mean you order formations of units around a map, watch them smash each other Lord of the Rings style, and get to mash attack combos when your “HQ” unit is in combat. All set to a rocking metal backing track. Did I mention it's a Korean game?
Metal enough yet? Maybe needs more skulls. And lightning.
Yes sir, those whacky Koreans with their every-which-way anime games, seemingly greater offenders with overbearing anime cliches and bad writing than JRPGs, managed to produce a medieval style (almost Warhammer even) combat game without a trace of moony eyes or craaaaaa-zy antics. Okay so the dialogue could get a tad inane or long winded sometimes, but the quality voice acting (with just a twist of so-bad-it's good) leant to characters I enjoyed, even if it was enjoying hating them. Except the pirated copy of the game had certain characters speaking Korean, which at the time I wasn't sure if it was intentional or just to make the dwarves seem foreign. Also funnily enough in my English copy I now own, the word “Patriarch” (as in pope dude) is muted out, but remains in the text scroller. Weird.
You'd hack and slash to fill up your power bar at the bottom, to use unit abilities or cast spells in command mode. Or you could pull off SWEET MOVES or get your sidekicks to do the same.
You'd carry out each mission, some optional, and work your way though an overworld map (though once a mission was complete there was no replaying it, only the next mission/s to appear) and between these you'd be able to level up your commaders, or more importantly their troops. Also you'd have gold to spend on armor, weapons and misc items, for either your commanders or again entire units. THERE WAS NEVER ENOUGH GOLD TO GO AROUND ;_;
Each unit was totally flexible and you could assign skills however you wanted. Just got a unit of swordsmen in that previous mission but already have two? Why not erase their skills and teach them Ranged, Teamwork and Explosives skills in order to convert them to MORTAR TROOPS. Or trap laying Sappers. Or Cavalry. Or BATTLE BALLOON pilots. Very different, and very cool since we're talking full 3D units with differing attack styles, abilities and deployment options. Not just some rock-paper-scissor style spritework with varying +2s or Critical Chances.
Killing it with fire, the ONLY way to be sure.
Wyverns would swoop over battles belching torrents of venom (vomit?), archers would loose regular volleys of arrows or set areas flaming, you could summon meteors to crash cinematicly into entire troop formations. In real time, with knockdown effects and terrain wildfires all part of the deal. By far my favourite spin on a “traditional” unit was Cavalry. Using the move-waypoint system, you'd spam a bunch of Move orders on either side of an enemy unit, then switch back to the combat (if your HQ was in) and hack and slash. Then every X seconds, your cavalries line of movement would bring them charging through the melee with a thunder of hooves, lancing and knocking over enemy troops on the way. Incredibly atmospheric, different from the usual straight forwards ATTACK mechanism, and just plain cool.
Of course, you could play as two campaigns as the badass heavily armoured (even the female character!) humans, or as the evil alliance of dark elves and orcs. Oh yes and the dark elves are all women. And they all run around in about 10kg of armor. With bumflaps. But the flaps are only at the front. ARSE. There's also nice differences in available units between the playable factions, such as GIANT SCORPIONS or ZOMBIE ORCS.
The game contained a few major bugs.
Sure the game had some downsides, the render distance was pretty poor, and there was a lack of “generic scenario quick game”. There is a second X-Box game, which whilst I don't feel was as good as the first at least where story is concerned, did improve some aspects of the game.
KUF The Crusades was different, had a gritty and cool fantasy universe, likeable/tolerable characters, tactics, stupid huge sword fights, and that value that I love so much in a video game “analogue” mechanics and outcomes. No “static” Attack 250 vs Defence 400 = 90 Damage, it was MORTARS INCOMING EXPLOSIONS EVERYONE FALLING OVER OH SHIT HERE'S SOME HIGH LEVEL KNIGHTS SEND IN THE SWAMP MAMMOTH LIGHT THAT SHIT ON FIRE!
Also here's the reveal video for the somewhat in-limbo Kingdom Under FIre II, which is some sort of MMO version of the KUF X-Box games. I am stupidly excited about how excellent the battles look, but if you're brave enough to watch any of the longer trailers, you'll see it has some of the worst (or best?) female character designs this side of Soul Calibre 4. Maybe some Korean plastic surgery company is a major shareholder? If you can bear it, watch the 7 minute long trailer that's on YouTube for a look at the MMO side of things and jiggle enough to laugh yourself senseless.
Hopefully the game will:
a) Come out on PC in the west
b) Live up to the two X-Box titles
c) Have a great singleplayer mode so I can completely ignore the booborama MMORPG look of multiplayer
Less of THIS
and more of THIS please. (nipples don't even work like that!)
((Now let us never speak of the (apparently) terrible KRPG KUF on the 360. There's also a prequel on the PS2 I think, who cares?))