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The Heroes of Might And Magic series of games - otherwise known as HOMM - began back in 1995. The original series, Might And Magic, actually began back in 1986. There have been many stellar entries in this series, but none were as significant nor as enjoyable as HOMM IV. This entry in an already successful string of hits changed the way gaming would be done in this genre, and it was one of the best of the series. Lets take a look at just what makes this game such a fun experience.
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The storyline of the HOMM series (as well as the Might And Magic series) has always been really well developed. HOMM IV is no exception, continuing the drama and creativity begun so long ago. Without telling the entire story - something that would take more time than most readers would be willing to give up - its enough to say that the storyline in HOMM IV is just as intricate and well written as any of its predecessors, perhaps even more so. There are six campaigns that the game uses to unfold the storyline, and each are nicely done. One other feature that changed when the series went from HOMM III to IV is the ability to run any of the campaigns as a single entry, rather than needing to complete certain ones to unlock others. The scenarios include knights, barbarians, peasants, elves, pirates, and even the undead. If you're a fan of fantasy tales, you'll certainly enjoy all that HOMM IV has to offer.
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The gameplay in HOMM IV is similar to many other strategy games. You have to walk around collecting resources, steal land from your enemies, and occasionally battle for supremacy. You have access to different troop types, based on your class and alignment as a hero. You also have heroes you pick for your town or towns, and they possess various skills and abilities. In previous editions of the series, heroes did not actually interact on the field of battle. One of the significant differences in HOMM IV is the use of heroes in combat. Suddenly there is now a powerful force on both sides that can seriously make a difference as to the outcome.
One other change - for those fans of the series - was in the skill system. In HOMM IV, each hero is given a basic set of skills based on their class at creation. The difference is that as you progress, your hero has greater flexibility in how to advance your skills, so much so that there are over forty specialized skill sets your hero can fulfill.
To say there is complexity in HOMM IV is an understatement, but anyone who enjoys strategy games will be used to that type of thing. There are numerous other changes that occurred when the series went from III to IV - some good, some bad - but all in all the gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable.
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Sound And Visuals
The sounds of the game, while improved from earlier versions, are still not really anything noteworthy. There are times in fact that the background music will annoy rather than thrill. The sounds of combat are okay, but again not really worth writing home about.
The visuals for HOMM IV however, are another story. As a change from previous versions, HOMM IV introduced a more three dimensional graphical view, both for the adventure and combat screens. The effect is very nicely done, and its pleasing to the eye rather than annoying. Even given the fact that this is a dated title, the graphics will still be worthwhile for any gamer who enjoys a little bit of nostalgia. Its not Oblivion, but its far from Pac-Man either.
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Because this is such an older game, the system requirements are very low. Just about any computer you can come up with (thats still running anyway) should be able to run this game just fine. To give you an idea, when this game came out, Windows 98 was the required OS. It ran on a Vista 64bit OS however with no problems whatsoever. Just for the number crunchers out there however, here is whats required:
- 400Mhz CPU
- 64MB RAM
- Directx 8.0 compatible graphics and sound
As you can see, pretty much anything should be able to handle this game admirably.