Heroes of Might and Magic 3: The Shadow of Death: Game Analyses
This review includes the plot points and the gameplay dynamics for the expansion pack. We will be looking at the gameplay, plot and the other aspects of Heroes of Might and Magic 3: The Shadow of Death in this game analyses article.
The campaigns in this game are set as prequels to Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven and Heroes III: the Restoration of Erathia. After the events of Heroes of Might and Magic II, Sandro the Necromancer arrives at the continent of Antagarich. He performs illusionary magic to disguise himself as a human and begins preparations for re-assemble two ancient and powerful necromantic artifacts.
Sandro convinces the sorceress Gem and the barbarian Crag Hack and tricks them into helping by making them procure the ancient necromantic pieces from other necromancers with the promise of rewards. Unfortunately, once receiving the artifacts, Sandro doesn’t keep his end of the bargain and flees with the artifacts. Sandro reassembles the pieces into the artifacts the Cloak of the Undead King abd the Armor of the Damned.
Armed with the Cloak and Armor, Sandro fights the armies of his former master Ehtric and travels into the undead lands of Deyja. At Deyja, Sandro usurps the throne of King Finneas Vilmar and gains full control of Deyja. With undead armies Sandro begins planning his conquest of the continent.
Meanwhile, the heroes Gem, Crag Hack, Gelu and Yog come together against the war with the undead. While the heroes meet at Bragden plains, they are attacked by Sandro which force them to flee. While they regroup again later, Yog remembers the whereabouts of the mighty sword Angelic Alliance. The heroes retrieve the pieces of the sword and assemble it. Equiped with the sword, the heroes infiltrate Deyja, corner Sandro and defeat him. Later, Gelu is then chosen as the Forest Guard’s next captain. The heroes then scatter the pieces of the artifacts before they disperse.
A final bonus campaign features Sandro after his defeat. The necromancer plots a second invasion, this time aimed squarely at Erathia. With the help of Lord Haart, he has King Nicolas Gryphonheart poisoned, and forms an alliance between Deyja, the Kreegans and Nighon against the human lands. However, he is tricked and imprisoned by his own puppet king, Finneas Vilmar, who then leads the invasion of Erathia which takes place during Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia.
Like all the games in the series, this game too follows a turn based strategy system of playing. Players control the titular hero characters to train armies, collect resources, explore the map and combat engagement. Elements of RPG are also enjoyed by the player and the characters have statistics to provide army bonuses, artifacts for power enhancements and a set of magical spells for combat or provide strategic grounds. Experience points are awarded with every battle which enables leveling up of the player characters.
Time and resource model
All the players’ moves consist of a single turn which is represented as single day. The days then transfers into weeks which in turn becomes months (4 weeks). Gold is the primary resource and is available in towns regularly. Gold is used for building and for all creatures. Secondary resources are required with increasing construction and can be procured in mines and other resource generators like trees. Sources are found on the map and need to be identified by the player.
During battles, the map changes from an adventure setting into a combat mode. A turn based tactics mode of combat means the engaged armies must finish the battle without the opportunity to retreat or reinforce their ranks. Battle ends either with defeat, desertion or surrender. Different army units are represented in stacks. A fixed number of stacks are available during each battle which the player arranges to minimize attrition for them. Heroes when they participate in battle they provide bonuses to the army and actively engage in battle casting magic spells and combat. Heroes are not regular units and cannot be killed in combat.
Changes in gameplay
The new expansion “The Shadow of Death” provides the player with seven new campaigns. Players can adjust the difficulty settings in the campaign. The expansion further lets the player use 12 new artifacts and eight new types of landscape which are used to increase the attributes of the Hero like luck, magic use and morale. There is no alteration in any of the factions. All the heroes are equipped with a new fifth artifact slot for equipment in this expansion along with ten new types of teleporters for use in the Adventure map.
An innovative addition to the expansion is the concept of “combination artifacts” where pieces of an artifact can be collected individually and then combined to form an artifact of power. The formed combination artifact further provides extremely powerful abilities which can be wielded by the heroes and the antagonist as well. These artifacts feature prominently in the campaign. The combination artifacts bestow extremely powerful abilities, and feature prominently in the campaigns. The Map editor is significantly improved in the expansion pack along with new portraits of four of the new heroes – Sandro, Vilmar , Yog and Gem. New customization options are also included in the expansion.
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