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The Horde (Saturn) artwork

The Horde (Saturn) review

"Do The Horde next -- that won't get a 7! "

Do The Horde next -- that won't get a 7!

With that simple sentence, I took the advice of an omnipotent being and decided to play The Horde. Like the main character of the game, I took it upon myself to take on a challenge.

When things start out, Chauncey, that dude you control, just saved the king from choking to death. Showing his gratitude, King Winthrop knights the young lad, gives him his sword, the Grimthwacker, and rewards him his own land to care for. Obviously, it's not a fairy tale ending, it's far from it. The horde, which was chased out of the kingdom many years ago, suddenly returns at that exact moment, giving Sir Chauncey more work than he imagined.

Before the hordlings, which look like red gremlins, get a chance to attack in every season, you'll have the opportunity to manage your constantly growing village... for two whole minutes. Within these two minutes, you can plant trees and chop them down later for money, or build fences and dig pits to slow down the hordlings' raid on your property. Later seasons, you'll be able to afford and get new items to use, like solid walls, cows (they're better than waiting for trees to grow, that's for sure), and even knights and archers to assist you. They charge, however.

Now, once you finish managing your village, or if time runs out, it's time to tackle the horde. It gets hectic, because you normally don't know where they're coming from until the last second if you use the tiny map at the corner of the screen. You can use the overhead map, but it's time-consuming and inaccurate. Once you view the map, you'll spot these red dots charging towards the village from a distance. But it's a lie. What looks like maybe 10 seconds away from your village is actually just 3 seconds away, barely giving you the chance to get out of the map and destroy them before they gobble up vegetables and villagers. Basically, you just have to guess where they're coming from half of the time.

When you eventually engage in mortal combat with the hordlings, it can get irritating at times. You'll most likely see some destroy a house or two before you catch up for the kill. And thanks to the isometric viewpoint, getting near a hordling is a pain, because you'll either miss with your sword (too many swings and Chauncey gets dizzy) or worse, get hit by one of them. It's not bad being injured by the little ones, but it's dangerous when dealing with the juggernauts. These giant beasts are a huge hassle early on in the game, when the only useful weapon you have requires you to get up close and personal with the Doom rejects. Get hit twice by one of these things, and you'll die, sending you back to the first season of the current year. If you saved, that is.

As annoying as most of this sounds, you'll actually get used to it in two or three gaming sessions. Even then, the structure of the game is just very limited, making for a really repetitive experience. Tend your village for two minutes, fight off the hordlings in under five minutes, and repeat. That's the entire game. Sure, the developers tried making it unpredictable at times, like having meteorites crash anywhere in your village's vicinity or someone stealing your atm card, but it's not enough. The Horde is literally a real-time strategy game with training wheels. Maybe if Crystal Dynamics treated it like a real one, it might have been better. Maybe.

Do The Horde next -- that won't get a 7!


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (July 23, 2007)

Honestly don't want remakes of any of the terrible Alex Kidd sequels unless they're made DRASTICALLY better. Can you imagine a good High-Tech World or Enchanted Castle?

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