Interplay £29.99 PC CD-ROM Out Now
Pentium 2 300 (Pentium 2 450 or Athlon450 recommended)
64MB of RAM (128MB recommended)
8MB Direct3D graphics card (16MB recommended)
It's going to be difficult to decide under what genre to put Sacrifice. It looks like a third-person action game from the screenshots yet it plays like a combination of the said genre plus a mix of RTS and I think there may even be a pinch of RPG in there. Sacrifice is a mix of genres then. Can this work? Will it be a mess? Let's take a look.
Basically the idea of the game is to control a wizard. The wizard can serve one of a multitude of gods. Each of these gods has advantages and disadvantages so where you get the choice, choose wisely. The wizard has to protect his altar to the said god whilst trying to desecrate his opponents altar. The wizard is able to summon allies to help him achieve this and its the use of these allies that give the game its RTS feel and controls. There is no real resource management in this game. The currency to purchase the allies is mana and souls (more on souls later). Maintaining a good level of mana and keeping your health secure are a priority in this game. Health can be restored by your altar and through a magic spell. Mana is given slowly from your altar or more quickly from a mana fountain. The mana fountains can have a manalith built over them. The manalith claims the mana fountain for your wizard and it makes the mana exclusive to him unless it is destroyed. One of the creatures that can be summoned is the Manahoar. The Manahoar is a sort of mobile mana generator so they're good to have hanging around you.
the thumbnails for the big picture.
The range of spells in the game is good and once you've set up your mana income you can create all sorts of creatures to aid you in your quest. Druid, Ranger and Shrike are just three of the creatures that can be summoned. The other thing you have to keep an eye on in order to summon these beasts is souls. You need pure (blue) souls, as well as mana, in order to summon allies. Blue souls come from dead (good) creatures. Evil creatures leave a red soul. The red soul can be transfered into a blue soul by the use of a Sac-Doctor.
The game plays surprisingly well (given the mix of genres) and it definitely feels original. The graphics are very good and it played smoothly on my Geforce 2mx. The interface is OK but I found that sometimes there where just too many clicks to perform an action. This was annoying in a hectic battle. A special mention must go to the scenario editor that ships with the game. This powerful tool makes it easy to setup custom scenarios and with the ability to obtain other scenarios from the Internet (that others have made with the editor) it gives the single player game a new lease of life.
The tactical organisation of your allies seems good until you are in the heat of battle and then its just seems to disintegrate into a rabble. The single player mode is interesting but the Internet multiplayer is not great and with no option of a TCP/IP LAN (only IPX is supported) the single player game will be the only real option for those without a quick Internet connection.
The game does provide text feedback most of the time but occasionally there is speech when the levels are being loaded and these are not subtitled. A message history can be accessed and it is useful if you missed anything. In the tutorial (which is thorough if a little long winded) most of the dialogue boxes have to be clicked on. Sacrifice is a refreshing change from the usual strategy game (the genre it closest resembles) and it will be very appealing to anyone who likes a fantasy theme to their strategy.
Overall Game Rating: 7¾/10 A very original game and it makes a nice change.
Quality of text: 8/10 Good. Some missing text in the campaigns though.
Graphics: 9/10 The graphics are very good.
Interface: 6/10 OK but in a hectic battle it does seem awkward.
Gameplay:8/10 Despite its strange appearence, Sacrifice is quite simple to play.