Review by Vic

"God, I hate this game. I'm never playing again once I beat this mission."

If anyone ever asks me what I think of the Heroes of Might and Magic series (affectionately referred to as HoMM), I tell them the truth.

I hate it.

I also own a copy of every chapter.

Now, before you laugh, let me assure you that I'm neither rich nor stupid.

Ok, you can laugh, now.

Why do I hate this game so much? It's too heavily centered on resource management and other tediums of strategy. If I wanted that, I'd be playing Civilization 2. The graphics are just a little under par. While they don't need 3D graphics, they really could have done a little better with the sprites. Heroes of Might and Magic III (and, indeed, the rest of the Might and Magic series) is also in desperate need of a new engine. HoMM3 feels like an overpriced expansion pack for HoMM2.

In addition, combat strategy really does get reduced to hiding and defending until you've built the Unstoppable Army of 4,000,000 Creatures. If I wanted that, I'd be playing Starcraft. For turn-based strategy, I expect a little more.

In actual combat, the battlefield is so small that your only option is to rush the enemy head on. And your creatures just look silly, their animations condemned to the South Park construction paper feel. The combats are also neither particularly strategic nor exciting. It feels like the game was designed to be a Civilization 2 clone, and the actual battlefield level combat was added as an afterthought.

So why have I spent so much time and money on this series? Because it's so stupidly addicting. Everyone who has played this series knows the fateful phrase, "Just one more turn." More so than any other turn-based game I've ever played, this trap is particularly lethal. Perhaps it's because the turns are so short, and so much happens during a single one, that it gives the feeling that the next turn will be When Things Change And I Can Be A Real Badass.

And, I have to admit, while the sounds do suffer from poor quality at times, on the whole they are enjoyable. The music has a very middle-age feel to it, although it's not exactly the most energetic and adrenaline-heaving.

The controls are stupidly simple, as well. You can just put your keyboard away. But make sure your mouse won't die on you. To be safe, you might want to buy a backup mouse.

Just kidding.

The last major bonus that HoMM3 brings out of the box is the cut-scene cinematic quality. The rendering is done beautifully, and the cinematics are fun to watch. The storyline is interesting, as well, and the final cinematic is a well-done climax to the story.

If you've played and enjoyed the other HoMM games, prepare yourself for more of the same. If you didn't enjoy it, or don't think you will, stay very far away from this game. It's like cocaine: you know it's bad and bad for you, but you just can't stop yourself.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99

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