Review by Wist

"A Great Defensive Strategy Game"

Taking place in the middle ages, this game throws you into a fake continent where war is being waged. Using iron and wood as weapons and stone fortifications as your defense, your task is to establish strongholds while completing your mission objectives. You are a newly aquired lord that must establish a foothold in the chaotic continent and press on to new areas for conquest and then defend them from attackers. Welcome sire, to the middle ages, your stronghold awaits you.

This real time strategy is focused on the defense of your base rather than the defense and offense. You can choose a military campaign, an economic campaign, free build, missions, or multiplayer. From there you will enter a map where you must build a castle structure and town around your keep. Not only you must maintain a military stronghold but also an economy that can survive the onslaughts of your attackers. Dairy farms, wheat fields, apple orchards, hunting posts, windmills, inns, bakeries, and breweries will keep your people fed with the occasional drink. The economy has its own process for example, the wheat is taken to the windmill which is made into flour for the bakery so that your population can have bread. Your tiny city will have a hustle bustle work force where stone is being carried by oxen, priests are going around blessing people, lumberjacks are cutting down trees for timber, artisans are making weapons such as bows, spears, swords, armor for your troops, and much more. Protect your economy with giant stone walls with large towers which nest giant catapults or many archers. Inside the walls contain swordman, macemen, pikemen, spearmen, and calvary that are ready to charge into battle. Have pits that enemy units fall into giant spikes or even pitch traps which when ignited, can set an entire field on fire burning the hostile attackers. This game is very fun, especially if you are the kind of person that loves to play defense.

There is a story to this, its not exceptionally well but its mediocre. Its enough to keep your attention but it doesn't wow you.

The music has a middle ages theme to it with flutes and stuff like that. If thats your thing then you will love it. It sets the mood but isn't anything to brag about. Its slightly repetitive but I do enjoy whenever the troops charge into battle with battle cries. That is just a sight to see when two large forces clash into each other while screaming.

The graphics are below average. There is a few glitches where you can see a tree through a wall and stuff like that and the animations are choppy. It didn't bother me at all but once again, its nothing to brag about.

This entire game is mediocre the whole way through. However, its gameplay is exceptionally well. The graphics, sounds, story and development didn't impress me too much but all that is overlooked because it is a great game.

You can play this game for a long time. The campaigns are perfect in length. Its not too short where you can beat it quickly and its not too long where you lose interest. Free build is also very fun where you can construct the ultimate castle with the ultimate economy without contest.

In my opinion, this game is great. I am a very defensive real time strategy player and this game fits my gaming personality perfectly. Build a indestructable stronghold and a booming economy. Thrive behind solid stone walls while holding your opponent in the palm of your hand. A key to a good offense is a good defense and when it comes to Stronghold, make sure your castle isn't breachable while completing your mission objective. Great fun, I suggest a definite buy!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/13/03, Updated 07/13/03

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