Stronghold Legends

Strongholds: Legends

Strongholds: Legends

Castles made of sand.

Do not test proverbs. As soon as you start mouthing off saying 'a Englishman's home is his castle' someone ends up having a backyard ballistae and bang goes the kitchen. Turns out that terraced houses aren't castles at all. You want to try fighting fire with fire too, you'll regret that one, I can tell you. Yes, proverbs, like castles, are best left to the experts - epigrammaticians and stonemasons respectively. In fact the Medieval military base was really best left to complete fiction, since castles were always a bit of troublesome affair, even for blokes who knew what they were doing. They always look better on paper, or at Disneyland... All of which introductory contrivance leads us to the premise of Stronghold: Legends. It's the same old Sim Castle, only this time it's populated with the fictional castle-owners of yore. These boys sure knew how to run a fantasy citadel (or would have done, had they existed). Stronghold has gone a bit Age Of Mythology.

Marching down the catwalk of boiling oil comes England's most popular made-up sovereign, King Arthur, for the fantasy Britain campaign. The Germanic mythology of the Rhine campaign with, the super-saxon, Dietrich. And finally there's the man who might have been Dracula (but was really just some grouchy dude) Count Vlad Dracul - he does all things Transylvanian. These chaps pull out their various mythologies to power a rather more esoteric version of Stronghold, with even more focus on the campaign story than last time around. Predictably enough each of the heroes has his own visual style and selection of units, although they're all suspiciously similar in what they can actually do. Still, it's big fun to be able to add wolfmen or bats to your standard line up of tiny men-at-arms, and fighting dragons and deploying ice giants is definitely more worthy of your attention than building yet another heraldic ponce on a pony.

Needless to say, various story-type missions await each of the Legends. Of course most of these missions are focused on one rather large issue: building that castle. It's as accomplished as ever - you fiddle with walls and ramparts, deploy motte and bailey, and generally make with the crenelations until the cows come home. There's a certain pleasure in all this, but that particular desire has already been satiated by previous Stronghold games. I don't need to go there again, even if the castle is made of magic ice.

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Stronghold Legends demo

With tutorial and full skirmish level.

Firefly's latest instalment in the Stronghold series is due for release this autumn, and the company has kindly released a fairly sizeable demo to give you a taste of what's to come.