D&D Birthright: Gorgon's Alliance

Developer: Synergistic Software
Publisher:  Sierra

Every once in a while you come across a game that tries to things differently even though they're often very rough around the edges. 

As the regent of a small kingdom in a similar fashion to games like Civilization or Master of Magic, you're expected to build armies, tax the population and build up a political network, it's actually a pretty complex system at first, though luckily you can tone it down if you feel it's too much for you.

Army combat is fought in a turn based tactics mode, similar to that of Master of Magic and to a lesser degree the Total War series, here you'll control your squadrons in a grid-like battlefield in real time, the combat itself isn't very deep but it is pretty fun and if you have a general who's a mage or a priest in the battlefield you can even cast magic, alternatively you can just bring magical gear with you, that will usually turn the tide of any battle. I really love that you can have massive armies on your reinforcement lines, just waiting to be sent to the battlefield.

Finally, you have a Dungeon-Crawling mode in a Doom-like 3D environment, here, you and up to three of your generals will form a party and go relic hunting, combat can be either turn based similar to Final Fantasy (but with D&D rules) or closer to MMO gaming, the combat is fairly fun, but the characters look so goofy when they're fighting up close as the thrusts and parries never physically hit the enemies' avatar (though it counts as a hit in game).

The Treasures recovered from this mode can be used to either improve your status or taxes in the Kingdom map mode, while magical items can be used in military combat and of course, there's always the bonus of having your generals level up, that's always handy.

Gorgon's Alliance is a pretty neat mix of genres, though I did ran into a few bugs and camera issues while Dungeon Crawling.

Trivia: The game reportedly sold less than 50,000 copies, though thankfully eBay copies are cheap and plentiful.

Pros:
- A very unique game
- The turn based strategy sections are deep and engaging
- Military combat is a bit shallower, but it can still be a challenge
- Dungeon Crawling is pretty fun
- You can just play one mode if you're tired of the rest of game

Cons:
- Military combat and Dungeon Crawling sections have poor graphics even by '97 standards
- The camera is pretty glitchy while dungeon crawling

Final Grade: B+ 

4 comments:

  1. Old-school at it's finest, love it.
    I'm glad you aren't reviewing all the new games that just concentrate on the graphics and totally don't pay attention to the gameplay.

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  2. I do plan on getting to newer systems, but I prefer not reviewing games as soon as they come out, I prefer to spend a lot of time with a game before writting a review.

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  3. So how do you decide which games to review?

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  4. They're mostly based on my mood and whether or not I feel I've spent enough time with them to write a review about it

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