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The castle simulation game Stronghold is a game that is set in Medieval England and centres on the player’s character seeking to unite England and Wales against an evil usurper and his henchmen.
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According to the ingame blurb:
“As soon as the King had marched his army into the barbarian homeland, the inevitable rumours of a plot to seize the throne began to spread.
A few seasons into the war, the capture of the king was reported from abroad sparking disorder among the peasantry. Sure enough, the enemy grabbed this opportunity to invade and after several bloody engagements the splintered country became locked in civil war.
When the initial onslaught had finished, your father attempted to negotiate a treaty, arranging a meeting at the Stronghold of Duc Beauregard.
Along the way there was an ambush and your father, along with several other lords, were brutally hacked down by a band of unknown raiders.
With no treaty signed, the enemy continued their assault forcing county after county to yield until the country was lost.
Bruised and exhausted, you have been beaten back to a forest on an overlooking peninsula where it is rumoured a small band of bedraggled troops are hiding.
Although you believe there is little hope, maybe from this refuge you can at least avenge your father’s death."
And so the story begins. The main game of Stronghold is the 21-mission Combat campaign, which will see the player attempt to bring the evil lords to justice and unite England and Wales under the King’s banner. As the game progresses, the player will pit their wits against each of the opposing Lords ultimately ending in a game-completing showdown with the player’s arch-nemesis.
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Stronghold Characters - Player Allies
The player has two advisors to help him throughout the game: Lord Woolsack and Sir Longarm. There are also occasional encounters with a group who call themselves the Black Friars.
Lord Woolsack was a trusted advisor of the player character’s father and has looked after the character’s lord ever since his death. Lord Woolsack is a cautious adviser who advocates care and caution.
Sir Longarm, in contrast, is a battle-hardened veteran and accomplished soldier. He often wages his own personal war against the evil lords elsewhere in the kingdom while the player is busy fighting his own battles in the game.
Both men don’t always agree on all things and the cut-scenes between levels often show the pair at loggerheads.
On occasion, a monastic order known as the Black Friars will help you out with invaluable inventions which will help you defeat your enemies. The Black Friars seek to return order to the kingdom and have pledged their aid to the player.
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Stronghold Characters - Player Enemies - The Rat
There are four enemy lords in total that the player must defeat in order to win the game. The first of those enemies is Duc de Puce, also known as The Rat.
The Rat was raised as an only child in lands that belonged to the de Puce family. The Duke, ensuring that she never paid taxes and always had enough to get by, granted the Rat’s mother favour. One day a messenger came by and it was subsequently revealed that the Rat’s father was the same Duc de Puce whom his mother had once worked for as a serving wench.
An unfortunate accident at sea killed the entire de Puce family, leaving the Rat as next in line to inherit the title of Duke.
The Rat is a snivelling, whining, childish character that loses his cool spectacularly whenever he encounters a setback in the game. As he loses each county he becomes more and more agitated. He is the weakest of the four enemy lords and his army consists primarily of archers and in later levels, spearmen. Engineers who build mangonels to knock down the player’s castle walls sometimes accompany his troops.
The Rat’s troops make their first appearance in the game during mission three (Eliminating The Wolves). The Rat himself first appears in mission four (A Hidden Lookout) and players will encounter him in subsequent missions up to mission nine – The Rat’s Last Stand.
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Stronghold Characters - Player Enemies - The Snake
Duc Beauregard is also known as The Snake. He was once governor of some of the kingdom’s richest lands and exiled by the King for underdeclaring the taxes that he collected. The Snake only has one eye, losing the other in a battle with the player’s father.
Given his nickname, the Snake is a cunning, conniving adversary but is mercenary in his dealings. For the right price he is not averse to switching sides. He appears to be confident at first, but like the Rat before him will begin to panic as his counties diminish.
The Snake’s troops are, in the main, similar to those of the Rat and consist primarily of archers and spearmen. In the later missions, however, the player will come up against crossbowmen and a greater array of siege equipment. The Snake occasionally calls in help from the other lords and while not a great tactician, he will try to overwhelm the player with the number of troops he sends.
The snake first appears at the end of the fourth mission where he can be seen talking to the Rat but the player will no dealings with him until mission eight where he will offer troops to the player to defeat the Rat in return for supplying ale. The player’s first confrontation with the Snake occurs in mission ten (The Snake Hunt Begins) before the final battle on mission thirteen (Snake Eyes).
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Stronghold Characters - Player Enemies - The Pig
Also known as The Pig, Duc de Trouffe is rumoured to have been abandoned by his parents in the street; such was his ugliness. He was taken in by a group of travelling bandits and grew up raiding small towns and villages; gaining an understanding of military tactics along the way.
The Pig is well named. He is an ill-mannered brute who is deeply vindictive and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He is a relatively tough opponent whose troops present a formidable challenge and only The Wolf keeps him in check.
The Pig’s army consists primarily of macemen. These are stupid, brutish warriors but they move quickly and they can be quite tough to kill. They are sometimes supported by crossbowmen and siege engines, including rams and catapults. Macemen can demolish walls if they aren’t stopped.
The Pig first appears when he helps out the Snake in mission thirteen (Snake Eyes) by sending some troops and will be encountered up to mission eighteen (The End Of The Pig).
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Stronghold Characters - Player Enemies - The Wolf
Little is known of the Wolf with tales mostly cobbled together from rumor and hearsay. It is believed his parents died from natural sources soon after his eighteenth birthday.
The Wolf is cold and heartless. He is the toughest of all the lords and represents the player's hardest challenge. In order to win the game, players have to defeat the Wolf.
The Wolf has pretty much every troop type in his army and will send heavily armoured swordsmen against the player. Large amounts of macemen and crossbowmen, along with the odd mounted knight will also join the fray. Players should also expect large amounts of siege equipment to be used by the Wolf in conflicts.
The first encounter with the Wolf will be in mission eleven (First Blood), where he will send troops to aid the Snake. Thereafter, he will appear from mission nineteen through to game’s end on mission twenty-one (Final Vengeance).
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In the next part of this guide to Stronghold, we'll examine the game interface and basic controls in the game.
Guide & Strategies For The Stronghold PC Castle Sim Game
- Stronghold PC Game Review: A Medieval Real-Time Strategy Game by Firefly Studios
- Overview of The PC Castle Simulator Game, Stronghold - Introducing The Characters
- How To Play Stronghold – Understanding The Game Interface
- How To Play Stronghold: The Castle Building Category - Walls & Basic Constructions
- How To Play Stronghold: Special Constructions in The Castle Building Category
- Stronghold PC Game Guide: The Industry Buildings Category in Stronghold
- Stronghold PC Game Buildings Guide: Farm Buildings in Stronghold
- Stronghold PC Game Guide: Farm Processing Buildings in the Original Stronghold Game