Where the Out-of-Print is Available Again
Advanced
Now Buying
Now Buying

Fantasy General

Product Line: Computer Games (SSI)
Publish Date: 1996
Restockable: No
Type: Software (boxed)

Description

Fantasy General was the last installment before the photorealistic artwork kicked in and cluttered up the maps.It was created by the same internal development team, headed up by Paul Murray, that has made all the games (with the exception of Star General, which was farmed out to a developer called Catware).Once you look past the fact that the unit pictures are trolls and dragons instead of infantrymen and tanks, Fantasy General looks very much like the previous Generals.Each unit's information panel is illustrated with a dramatic line drawing that adds more character than the historical games' rather dry detail screens.

As for the actual mechanics, the Panzer General provides a good framework for the fantasy milieu.Although you can see the engine's roots in the ten basic unit classes (Sky Hunters are fighters, Bombardiers are bombers, Siege Engines are artillery, Cavalry are armor), the system doesn't just feel like the same old game with an alternative tile set.The unit types are further divided into four races, each with their own mechanics.Many units' special abilities make them unique and useful in a way that a historical game wouldn't allow.Instead of Panzer General's concept of suppression, Fantasy General uses wounds that can be healed by resting.Spells have a significant impact, as do the special abilities of whatever wizard you're playing.Thankfully, Fantasy General dispenses with Panzer General's supply rules, which often slowed the gameplay.How many times have I tried to fire artillery only to realize my 105mm battery was out of ammo?Ugh...I'm glad dragons and giants don't use bullets.

The concept of combined arms is deeply ingrained in Fantasy General, which lays out an almost ironclad rock/paper/scissors system by giving each unit either a missile, melee, or skirmish attack.This is further complicated by different types of damage and weaknesses (for instance, mechanical units are more easily damaged by magic).The balance and counterbalance among these attack and damage types makes the game about much more than mere unit strength.It's not very intuitive, but it's at the heart of the system and it forces the player to make some difficult choices about the kinds of units he wants to play with.

Another difficult choice is how the player spends his gold, which is the equivalent of Panzer General's prestige.Gold is split between buying available units and researching new ones.The campaign structure, always a strong point in the series, gives you a reason to care about your units as they gather experience, get upgraded, and find magic items (which anticipates the abilities you can buy for your units in People's General).The choice of wizards to lead your forces adds a lot to Fantasy General's already considerable replay value.Also, it's always nice to be able to name your own units, which can be much more fun in Fantasy General than it was in the historical games: the "Knights of Nee" and "Gollum's Heroes" does a lot more to tickle the imagination than a division and battalion number.

For Windows/DOS