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Majesty Demo Review by Antipater 1-3-2000

Originality:       7
Graphics:          6
Sound:             8
Learning Curve:    9
Gameplay:          10
Stability:         10
Desire Full Game:   8
Overall Score: 8.3

It's finally time to give the Scarecrow a brain...

At briefest glance, Majesty: Sovereign of Ardania appears to be yet another float in the seemingly endless parade of RTS (Real Time Strategy) games.  There's the factory-type buildings that spit out units, the constant action, and the investment/building aspect that characterizes so many of the games out on the market.

However, expert RTSers will act a bit surprised in the beginning, for you cannot overtly control your troops!  Paladins, Rangers, and Wizards all move to their own agenda - whether it be smiting evil, exploring the countryside, or curling up at home with a nice book (respectively).

Presented in a well-drawn 2D backdrop, you, the Sovereign of Ardania, must have your hired help complete a quest to pass each level.  Emphasis on the hired - for the only way you CAN control your troops is by placement of exploration and reward flags, which encourage heroes to leave the safety of home and set out on the tough road.  Some, such as Wizards, need more encouragement to explore than the more wilderness-oriented Rangers.

Additionally, you can help your heroes out with spells - everything from healing up wounds to throwing lightning at foes.  Beware the cost of trying to exhort your will on the land, for the price of spell slinging too often can cost your coffers dearly.

Unlike the mass-producing factories of previous RTS games, the Guilds in Majesty may only produce four units at a time - and it is in your best interest to keep those heroes alive as long as possible!  High level heroes get tougher and obtain new spells - and are more often able to afford the best equipment at your marketplaces.

What RTS-type game wouldn't be complete without an economy?  There is only one resource in Majesty, and that is gold.  Heroes will obtain gold from killing evil monsters, or finding chests in the wilderness.  If the hero spends the gold at your marketplaces, you'll have an income!

As is your right as ruler of the land, you also levy a tax upon the guilds you have built, adding even more gold to your coffers.  But be sure to guard your tax collector - a hireling who moves from building to building collecting cold hard cash to return to your palace.  A stray arrow or two is all it takes to knock this fellow down, and you'll have to wait for another to make the rounds before being able to spend the money that is rightfully yours!

All in all, Majesty is a melting pot of game genres - builder, RTS, god-game...and does an excellent job with the mix.  I know that everyone at Majesty-Dragon is looking forward to the complete release soon!

Well-implemented AI
Good cross-genre mix
Enjoyable to play
Low on the eye-candy department
Difficult to keep an eye on everything

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