Of all of the games that I have played recently (if you check out the new crop of Gameboy Color reviews you will see quite a bit) the one that has found its home most often in my Gameboy Color is Heroes of Might and Magic. Though I found the game to be a little too complex on the PC, it feels right at home on the Gameboy. Combining simple turn-based combat with strategy and exploration Heroes fills a niche that the Gameboy Color is sorely lacking. It is odd that there are not more games like this since the Gameboy is so suited to old school type Dungeons and Dragons games.
The four “Heroes” that you have to choose from are the Barbarian, Soceress, Knight, or the Warlock. Each comes equipped with certain traits that determine its strength in combat. For example the Barbarian and the Knight are better suited for straight combat while the Soceress and the Warlock are more equipped magically. The Heroes and the characters that make up their armies are pretty standard fantasy personalities, but they make the game instantly accessible. Their characteristics are pretty obvious based simply on their names.
The worlds are made up of castles, resources and other armies. The goal is to try to capture as many castles and resources as possible while trying to eliminate any and all interference from opposing Heroes. Getting resources allows the player to build more soldiers to join the army. A player can have more than one Hero active in order to cover more ground, but beware of spreading yourself too thin. You would hate to get into a battle with just 2 archers and a group of peasants.
The battle system takes place on a special battle screen and is turn-based. A player can have up to 5 groups of soldiers in battle at any time. Though more or less the battle is determined at the start strictly based on the two opponents, strategy does come into play on the closely-matched battles. Archers need to be protected so they can take out the slower moving stronger characters before they get in too close. Also spells come into play. Heroes can learn a variety of spells that can be used to protect and increase the strength of the team or do harm to the enemy. A key element of strategy is deciding which characters should get the effects of which spell.
This may all seem very typical D&D fare and in truth it is, but the way it is presented makes for rapid addictive gameplay. Each turn happens quickly and even the longest battles are over in a fairly short amount of time allowing for more of the board to be explored and many battles to happen in succession. Keep in mind that the game takes a good while to master and each board is huge allowing for hours of gameplay.
So if you are aching for some classic RPG battle game on your Gameboy look no further than Heroes of Might and Magic. You will instantly recognize all of the characters from typical D&D tropes and the battle system couldn’t be simpler. Watch out though. The thrill of complete world domination can be very catchy.
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