Windows – 1998
|Alt names||Killing Fields at Mohawk, Fields of Fire: War Along the Mohawk, Fields Of Fire: Déterrez la Hache de Guerre|
|Publisher||Empire Interactive Entertainment|
|Developer||Edward Grabowski Communications Ltd.|
Description of War Along the Mohawk
It’s time to announce the game of the year, and the winner is… War along the Mohawk! Well, that is if the category was limited ONLY to games setting standards in originality and uniqueness. In the real world though, gamers demand more! War along the Mohawk does reach new levels with originality and uniqueness; gamers that are able to look past its badly tarnished copper exterior will likely be surprised by what they find, for others the burning question will be …what the hell were they thinking?! War along the Mohawk is a realtime strategy game that explores the French and Indian War that occurred along what is now the eastern American/Canadian borders. The game is, however, not your garden variety realtime strategy game! The game would be best described as some strange crossbreed between roleplaying, strategy, and maybe even a bit wargame. The game is played on the scale of man to man, War along the Mohawk also has some pretty strong roleplaying and character development. Ranger Finn scopes out the gameplay As the player, you can choose to play a campaign aiding either the French or British. Depending on the nationality you select, an assortment of pertinent characters are available, from which you choose the character that will represent your alter ego. Each of the characters from the selection has 7 attributes (Experience, Health, Intelligence, Morale, Shooting, Speed, and strength) as well as a range of known and potential skills (from a selection of 17 skills). The types of characters you can portray vary from men and women, to British, French, Colonial, and Native American, which offers players some rather potentially unique possibilities. I’m going to cover play elements in a bit of detail and how the game functions, as some of it is rather unique and quite involved. Your character’s first objective will be to reach the fort that will serve as your base of operations. A number of buildings you can interact with are at this fort. There is the Rest House where you can select other characters to join or rearrange them depending on mission needs. The Store is where characters can buy a range of supplies that can sometimes be critical. Finally, there is the Reinforcements Room (where you can hire subordinates) and the Commander Office where the Commander gives your character your upcoming mission. Responsibilities at the fort can actually keep you quite busy. You must protect the fort against enemy assaults and stray bear or snake attacks. You can strategically place your subordinates (to clarify, characters have skills, experience, and can carry equipment, subordinates can not) on fort walls for defense and/or give them standing orders to minimize breaches in the fort. However, you must also protect your regular resupply route as the enemy can hang out taking out the supply man, which means you’ll need to launch semi regular patrols to take out hostiles. You can also occupy yourself with hunting to gather skins which earn you a little extra gold or you can even lay traps to harass unwary enemies. Eventually, a messenger may interrupt your busy work and order you report to the Commander’s office. Once you’ve arrived he’ll give you orders for your (next) mission. The missions range from escorting, rescuing, sabotage, to a range of others. Then it’s off you go to the designated white rock to exit the map to your objective. Actually this part is a bit irritating as which rock isn’t known right way (as in the Commander tells me the mission but neglects to provide any details on the location every single time? Come on!). The missions themselves are pretty varied and number eighteen for each nationality. However, the missions are very linear in nature, once solved little replay value remains, other than replaying from the other side or from the aspect of another character. Multiplayer is available and supports up to four players, but is sadly limited to only quick battle engagements! This week on Great mysteries in gaming…War along the Mohawk, a wrong turn on the game design highway or sorry support from publisher? You decide. Sound good so far, so what exactly doesn’t cut it? Other than the game having that eyestrain inducing shareware feel. Yes, the looks of this game appear quite…well, unprofessional. In fact, the overall impression of the game is that it’s more of a very polished shareware game that you would download and register off the Internet. It certainly doesn’t have the feel of any professional title you would pull off the shelf at your local Electronic Boutique store! Unfortunately, the problems are not only eye candy related. To sum it briefly the shortcomings are bugs, crashes, glitches, and frustratingly inconsistent performance from the AI. Covers just about everything that can go bad, but don’t totally despair. Actually the crashes have been fairly infrequent and may be the most forgivable as they may be system specific (others have reported no problems). The bugs are a little more concerning, occurrences like selecting a character for a mission and not being recognized or disappearing or even dead characters returning from the grave to become available again, are a little concerning. The glitches are also a bit disconcerting. A typical example includes the screen jumping away from your active (and currently selected) character(s) and zipping to center of ‘God knows where’ on the map. Very frustrating in the middle of a battle. Another lamination to enjoy is the wildly oscillating AI that seems to relish in going from competent to brain dead in nanoseconds and then back again. If not carefully managed your characters could blunder into your own traps, quicksand, or even enemy concentrations with no regard for themselves. The AI also seems to ignore nearby comrades being eaten by hungry Bears while having no problems attacking other nearby hostiles. The good news is that nearly all of these problems are minor or infrequent enough that resolute players can circumvent once they’re aware of them. Are these problems the result of shoddy development, or are they the result of lack of support, testing and resources provided from the publisher? That’s a question only they can answer! Tea, crumpets, and a little War along the Mohawk For players with a special love of the subject or who enjoy games the push the boundaries of originality, these problems can be overcome, and they should still manage to find quite a lot to enjoyment in War along the Mohawk. For instance, the game includes an impressive array of commands for players including way points, formations, and an impressive list of standing commands such ‘hunt’ and ‘fire at will’, to name a few. War along the Mohawk also gets credit for including a lot of fine detail to the title like some decent interaction with the game environment (eg. pushing a rock) to field of vision with facing, to doing a good job of modeling multilevel terrain. The game also offers some immersive appeal in the way it handles the character development and experience. Some of the voices and comments are likely to induce a chortle or two, depending on the character you’ll get a different comment; the calm “I’ve been shot” and “My tunic!” responses when hit are examples of comments good for a chuckle. The speed controls are much appreciated. It’s also enjoyable amassing a huge army of subordinates at your fort, although a concentrated counter attack hasn’t happened during my experience. There’s a lot more to discover in the game as well, such as finding the best use for skills (like bear control can gain you a powerful ally or raccoon control, which lets you use the little critter to pilfer stuff), the slew of interesting items for sale at the store (improvements for your weapons or books to help you learn more skills faster) and getting to explore how they interact with each other. Finally, the maps are huge and vary in size from mission to mission which helps reinforce the feeling of exploring the unknown. In the end, the game does actually have many redeeming and sometimes surprising qualities. When you put the overall picture in the perspective of a shareware title, things make a little more sense. It’s not uncommon to spend anywhere from $10 to $20 for registering a shareware title you’ve downloaded. War along the Mohawk may look pretty lackluster and suffer from a below B quality production value, but at the price of $19.00 and a decent manual to boot the game is worth consideration. Especially for gamers looking for a fresh and inventive approach to the RTS genre that is ultimately quite enjoyable.
Review By GamesDomain
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