Review by powermitch

"At last the series goes the distance"

I have been a fan of this series ever since HOMM1 came into my young life many years ago. There were only two things that kept it out of my book of classics: The lack of options, and the primative, but fun, graphics. The latter especially appeals to the ridiculous death animation of a cloud of blood and an audible ''oof''. Bleah. So, the first took my heart, and then I met #2. The graphics improved and the options more varied, with creature upgrades a particular stroke of genius. This was close to greatness. Something about the character portraits and the lack ofmore advanced graphics held it back just enough to be chalked up as a dissapointment. Now I have basked in the light of series perfection. Without altering the original concept one hair, HOMM3 has developed its engine to perfection without resorting to fantasy-killing polygons. Enough backstory, lets break it down:

GRAPHICS: Okay, the characters on the world map are small. So what? They have to be to capture the immensity of the land around them, as beautiful as ever. Much of the playtime is spent in battle, and the designers knew it. They flawlessly switched over to rendered sprites for all but the world map, and the game handles the fantasy much more maturely now. The individual detail on each creature is great and the battles are more intense than cartoony for once. The towns are beautiful, and the rendered additions look wonderful in the context of the scenery around them.
Better than I expected. -9/10-

SOUNDS: The music is not intrusive, but lovely fantasy fluff, with sound effects that suit the atmosphere as well as any could. All of the above fit perfectly with the graphics to concrete the game's mystical appeal. -8/10-

CONTROL: Simple interface consisting of the mouse. The turn-based system lets the player take their time, and the speed of the mouse is neither too fast of slow. The play control is ideal for this type of game. -9/10-

REPLAY FACTOR: The story is fascinating and there are many different branches to go down, so it stays fresh for a while. The timeless gameplay makes for quick learning and addictive playing, especially multiplayer. -9/10-

ALL-IN-ALL: Great in about every way it could be. No game of the year, but definitely a classic in its field and the best in the series by far. Every fantasy fan should try this game once. They would probably find it as addicting as I did.

FINAL WORD: Recommended.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/24/02, Updated 01/24/02

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