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Once Upon a Knight (Knightshift)
(hx) 04:31 AM EST - Dec,01 2003

Once Upon a Knight (known also as Knightshift) is fantasy RPG/RTS hybrid game developed by Reality Pump, the team responsible for Earth 2150 series. In the game you play the role of Prince John, who is the leader of a fairytale kingdom, and like all such fantasy heroes, he's strong, noble, handsome, righteous and pompous. Prince John ends up getting kidnapped by the evil and cruel wizard Valtamand. Then because of an unsuccessful spell, the prince was banished to another dimension. Some years later, through the opening of a portal between dimensions by the good-hearted magician Gallus, the prince was able to return to his lands. The task then was to drive out the evil lords from power and to allow peace and order to return. A bitter fight against the powers of evil is now imminent... That's where the strategic adventure starts.

KnightShift features three campaigns which cover about 20 different missions (RPG+RTS gameplay with the building of structures, the creation of units and the collection of resources), RPG mode (a pure Hack & Slay RPG, with the selection of one of eight different characters, each with their own attributes, and the quests that different NPCs give you), Skirmish mode (pure RTS gameplay) and also multiplayer up to 8 players (IPX, TCP/IP and EarthNet).

The campaigns are located in different geographical areas - each of them with different goals and several missions. At start you only control the prince and during the first missions you get contact to your party. Then you have to construct a village, take care of the economy (collecting cow's milk as a resource), train your fighters and win back the throne at the end. You get a choice of dozen different buildings to choose from. Besides structures and roads you can also build bridges, gates and stockades to protect your village. There are no units in the game, there are characters. Playable types of characters are cows, warriors, woodcutters, spearmen, mothers-in-law (make workers work harder), cowherds (can speed up your milk production), broomstick-riding witches (the only flying unit), and three different spellcasters. During the campaigns you develop your characters and gain access to new weapons, special armor and magic items. The game allows you to control a small squad, consisting of characters with distinct attributes - this squad accompanies you from the beginning to the end of the game. This allows you to plan interesting tactics, which can be different in each game, depending on the characters and their experience. During the whole campaign there are several quests and adventures to solve. The missions are not linear and there are several methods of solving them.

The RPG Companion Mode is a real time Dungeon Siege/Diablo like Hack & Slay including very basic role playing elements. You can select one of seven different characters (barbarian, knight, archer, spearman, priestess, sorcerer, amazon and sorceress), each with their own attributes, and the quests that different NPCs give you. In this mode, you collect experience with each quest or monster killed and collect health, weapons, armors and other items while on your quest. When you gain experience points you can add to certain abilities and skills. The experience points making you stronger against melee assaults and give you more resistance against other external attacks. The addition of inventory and skill systems in the RPG mode is the main difference from the campaign mode.

The Skirmish Mode allows you to train your RTS abilities against computer AI before taking them on the world stage against human opponents. For the skirmish and RTS multiplayer there are 14 maps playable in two modes - Destroy Structures and Battle. Both skirmish and RPG modes are available in multiplayer. You can play through both the LAN (IPX, TCP/IP) and the Internet (EarthNet server system which allows you to keep 8 of your characters saved).

I've noticed many negative opinions/reviews on this game. It seems that a lot of the critics just do not get the intended humor and old school story lines. Yeah, I agree the game feels a bit childish (easy gameplay and naive kind of humor) but why not? I'd say that KnightShift feels really great and it's fairly challenging and addictive game, especially the multiplayer rocks, and that also children can play this game is no disadvantage. Of course, if you are looking for some deeper RPG or RTS, look elsewhere. If you want to first try it out to see if it's worth buying you can first download the demo (443MB). That way you can judge for yourself.

System requirements: CPU 733MHz (1.2GHz recommended), 128MB RAM (256MB recommended), 3D Graphics Accelerator with T&L 16MB (32 recommended), 1.2GB HDD free

snd: 4/5 - pretty good, rich and catchy soundtrack, built EAX support, solid voice-acting, more ambient sounds would be nice
gfx: 4/5 - rich and colorful environment, newly developed Earth-III engine, dynamic changes of day and night cycles and lens flare, rotatable 3D camera (can be locked or free), zoom, resolution up to 1600x1200, too small minimap
playability: 4/5 - great, clear and simple interface, an unique humorous style, map editor, multiplayer up to 8 players (IPX, TCP/IP and EarthNet), problems with ATI cards (try 3.7 Catalysts), small variety of enemy units, some AI issues
genre: RTS/RPG hybrid
release: September 2003
developer: Reality Pump Studios
publisher: Atari / ZUXXEZ Entertainment
Overall: 76%

last 10 comments:

Big Daddyposted - Dec, 01 2003 - 07:04
cool. first post. :) hope this isnt as complex as Earth2150. offtopic -- HX, will u review Terminator 3 War of the machines? I'm really interested what u think.

Master Beta Testerposted - Dec, 01 2003 - 10:08
I helped test this game. Very awesome! You should give it a try!

m@m.aposted - Dec, 02 2003 - 01:44
ma mommy ma problem...

polski_userposted - Dec, 02 2003 - 05:09
Why people From POLISH demoscene are making games now ?? The answer is simple ..Polish programmers aren't cows eating grass :) (game motive :))This game is known in Poland as a POLANIE 2 and was available in Poland almost half year ago..I've got it ...And..Trashed.. It Sucks..

el phodonposted - Dec, 03 2003 - 14:22
I couldnt play the demo for 30 secs. It sucks big time. I rate it 5%

Duncanposted - Dec, 12 2003 - 04:50
First class game, don't know what the problem is of the other guys. It would apeall to DungeonSiege / Diablo II lovers and to Age of Mythology people. It supports both game play options! Graphics are great, it is funny and the two different play options give it a long lasting factor as well.

Samaneposted - Mar, 25 2006 - 18:16
How to Copy Drinks on Polanie 2

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