Bulgaria. Not exactly world famous for its computer games, but it's home to Haemimont, the developers behind Tzar.
"Tzar : Burden Of The Crown" (to give the game its full name) is a real time strategy game set in a fantasy medieval world, featuring a mixture of technology and magic.
Playing as Europeans, Asians or Arabians, the idea is to build up an empire through a campaign of 25 missions, gathering resources and researching new technology and magical powers as you go. A little like Age Of Empires with wizards really...
The game also features some RPG elements though, allowing units to gain experience, and giving you the choice of how to develop your empire on the way to ultimate victory. And, as in Age Of Wonders, you can also find weapons and armour to improve your units stats.
Add to that a dash of trading and diplomacy and you have an intriguing blend, and we're looking forward to finding out whether it all hangs together.
A Kind Of Magic
The game's settings and units are also looking like being a refreshing change, with a mixture of both historical and fantasy units from each of the three cultures represented in the game.
Familiar soldiers like pikemen, archers and knights are joined by more exotic units such as flying carpets, golems and samurai, and more traditional fantasy units like dragons, dwarves and ogres are also on the menu.
And, as you can see from the screenshots, the game is shaping up to be a visual feast as well. Battles will be played out in both day and night, and the weather will also change to give you something else to worry about.
You'll also be able to import your own graphics into the game, and create your own scenarios using a mission editor. Which, along with multiplayer options and a random map generator, should give the game plenty of replay potential.
Tzar has pretty much come out of left field, but we like what we've seen of it so far.
Unfortunately we may have to wait a few more months to see how it turns out, as the only release date that the publisher Zablac (no, we've never heard of them before either) is giving is "early 2000".
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