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Friday, December 1, 2000

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Heroes III Complete Pre-Order
11:20 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Two helpful posters on the IMG Forums alerted us to the fact that Heroes III Complete, a packaging of Mac Heroes III and two add-on packs previously available only the PC, is ready to pre-order. This combo pack from 3DO combines all the classic gameplay of the first Heroes III release with two new expansion packs that add new creatures, new heroes and of course dozens of new solo missions to conquer. The current ship date for this title is December 19th.

For those unfamiliar with this series, the HoMM games are turn-based strategy games with elements of RPG-style gameplay. Featuring gorgeous hand-drawn and 3D-modeled graphics, atmospheric sounds and music and complex, involving gameplay, they are addictive games for anyone who loves a cerebral challenge.

Heroes III Complete includes the original scenario The Restoration of Erathia, and adds the expansion packs Armageddon's Blade and The Shadow of Death. These packs add a wealth of features, maps and creatures to the original, including such perks as a random map generator and an entirely new town type (the Elemental Conflux) to play with.

Here is a list of the features added by the new expansion packs:

Armageddon's Blade Expansion Pack

In the demon kingdom of Eeoful, Lucifer Kreegan has a vision to set the world on fire by constructing "Armageddon's Blade." Seeking to dethrone this insane king, Catherine invades. However, her generals report the appearance of the fiery Phoenix and mysterious Elemental Confluxes. As Catherine contemplates her next move, she wonders…do these omens foretell of Erathia's victory… or the world's destruction?

  • 6 new campaigns and over 35 new stand-alone missions
  • New random map generator lets you create unlimited battle scenarios
  • 7 new veteran Heroes with unique characteristics and abilities
  • Over 12 new fantasy creatures to recruit

Shadow of Death Expansion Pack

Sandro, a power hungry lich, seeks two powerful combination artifacts which will allow him to rule all the Antagarich. Four brace heroes must find the fabled Angelo Alliance sword to defeat the unstoppable forces of the undead over the course of seven exhilarating campaigns.

  • Extensive Gameplay: 86 stand-alone missions and 14 epic campaigns, including original Restoration of Erathia maps as well as 38 new single scenario maps and 7 Shadow of Death™ campaigns.
  • Endless Variety: 16 Hero classes, 145 combat units and hundreds of adventure structures, including 10 additional teleporters, 23 neutral creatures, and 8 new special terrain's with unique tactics.
  • Unparalleled Adventure: Quests for 138 magical artifacts, including 12 powerful new combination artifacts.
  • In-Depth Strategy: 8 town types to build and conquer, now with moat damage and spiked Stronghold barricade.
As you can see, that's a lot of gameplay for your money. Owners of the original Heroes III for Mac might be annoyed at purchasing the same game twice, but remember, on the PC side these packs were sold separately for $20 apiece ($39 when they debuted) so you'd end up paying $80 or more for all three on the PC side. The current pre-order price for Mac Heroes III Complete is $39.95, which includes free shipping in the US.

In any case, this is great news for several reasons -- it means that 3DO hasn't lost faith in the Mac platform, and that Mac Heroes III fans finally get to enjoy the same level of gameplay PC users have had for some time. For more information on Heroes III be sure and read our review of the title, and visit the official web site.

In related news, fervent Heroes fan "rogue27" has updated his Mac Heroes web site with information and exclusive screen shots of Mac Heroes Complete in action. Be sure and pay his site a visit to learn more about all three titles, and get strategy tips, downloadable maps and utilities.

Heroes of Might and Magic III Review
Heroes III Web Site
Heroes 3 Complete Pre-order
Mac Heroes Web Site

Planetscape Conquest 1.6 Released
5:14 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

AvisNocturna has released version 1.6 of their 3D strategy game, Planetscape Conquest. This game features OpenGL acceleration, multiplayer support, and an advanced artificial intelligence to challenge even the most skilled human opponent. The new version includes many new features and bug fixes:

  • new tutorial mode (moving units, attacking, creating buildings, transforming terrain...)

  • new combat only mode for quick games (tank wars, space combat...)

  • new terrain mutations (raise and lower terrain with projectiles)

  • better text style for more readability

  • splatter damage for weapons

  • connect units

  • follow mode (unit grouping)

  • new unit (apr plane,terrain construction unit)

  • new building (apr plane factory)

  • better unit moving

  • better resolution support

  • better MacOS event handling

  • CD insertion bug fixed

  • sound problem fixed
  • Planetary Conquest is available for purchase at AvisNocturna's website for $20US. You can download the demo at

    Download Planetscape Conquest 1.6 (3.5 MB)

    In-Depth Oni Preview at MacNN
    3:54 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    Games.MacNN has a lengthy preview of Bungie's forthcoming anime-inspired action game, Oni. The preview details all aspects of the game, from the controls and gameplay to Konoko's arsenal and power-ups. Here is what they had to say about the gameplay, which seems to include elements from their classic Marathon series:

    Acting only as a catalyst to exploration are the huge, awe-inspiring levels with their enormous rooms and tall buildings. Oni redefines the creation of levels, creating architecturally realistic environments that are a far cry from the square-room after square-room of certain games. The game's countless textures give each level a unique look and feel, and effects such as smoke and electricity add to the realism.

    The game's sheer beauty means that it doesn't need to rely on cheap tricks to make an environment feel life-like. You won't be able to shoot up computers, like Duke Nukem, or explode light bulbs, like in Marathon. You can, however, shatter most types of glass windows, including glass ceilings, which come showering down in a series of pieces that break again on contact with the floor. Shooting out windows also allows you to launch a surprise attack on enemies in some cases, as they struggle to figure out where the attack is coming from and run to the door to get at you, all the while sustaining damage. While Konoko can jump through windows, enemies seem reluctant to do so.

    Oni, which has been in development for over two years now, was recently declared 'Golden Master' for the PC. It will be released alongside the Macintosh and Playstation 2 in late January/early February by Gathering of Developers.

    Oni Preview at Games.MacNN

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    WarCraft III Preview
    11:34 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

    Yesterday Computer Games Online posted an extremely informative preview regarding Blizzard's upcoming "Role Playing Strategy" game WarCraft III. The preview features many quotes from Blizzard staff focusing on how they plan on balancing the game for smaller battles based on the use of magic and tactics, instead of Starcraft's gigantic battles of attrition. In fact, they even used an altered version of StarCraft to test this scenario:

    Pardo says they want the combat to last longer, and that it's going to emphasize a lot more spellcasting. "We probably have three times as many spells in WarCraft III as we had in StarCraft," he points out, "so there's going to be a lot more combat where you're casting spells and counterspells. A lot of times in StarCraft the combat would be over in the time you could click on your spell and click on your target."

    Blizzard tested this by building maps in StarCraft. "We used the map editor and gave everything three times as many hitpoints and made everything cost three times as much," explains Pardo. "Zealot rushing became four to five Zealots." With this kind of setup, they found that casting spells had a much bigger impact, and that's what they want to capture with WarCraft III.

    You can create your own simple StarCraft map and triple the cost and hitpoints of each unit and building, and then play the AI or another player. Pardo does caution that doing this to StarCraft did "break" some aspects of the game, so it's not a viable way to play most of your StarCraft games. Still, it might give you just a little taste of what the combat might be like.

    Whenever we look at Blizzard's track record, we at IMG grow even more sure that this game can live up to its ambitious design. WarCraft III should ship in late 2001/early 2002 with a projected simultaneous Mac and PC release.

    Computer Games Online Warcraft III preview
    Blizzard Entertainment
    WarCraft III
    Buy WarCraft III

    FAKK2 Multiplayer Still Coming
    9:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Our partner CGA site Stomped has confirmed with Robert Atikins of Ritual that the free multiplayer patch for Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 will be released. It was originally hoped to be completed by October, though other issues seem to have taken a priority. Here's a clip from the post:

    He said that there is not much left to be done for the patch to be completed. "We just have to put the maps in, get the menu system up and going, and play test it," Atkins told Stomped. At the moment there is not a definitive date on when the new multiplayer mode, titled FAKK Arena, will be released.
    Good news for fans of this title -- and there must be a lot of you, since the demo has received much attention on Since FAKK2 is based on the Quake 3: Arena engine, it isn't too much of a stretch to get multiplayer working. We've confirmed in the past with programmer Andrew Meggs that it shouldn't be difficult getting any such patch working on the Mac version as well. We'll keep you informed as more details become available.

    Stomped Post on FAKK2 Multiplayer
    Gathering of Developers
    Ritual Entertainment
    Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

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    StarFleet Command II Preview
    9:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    PC Arena has posted a new preview of the long-titled StarFleet Command Volume II: Empires at War. This is one of the five games coming to the Mac next year thanks to the folks at MacPlay, and should be a great title to add to any trekkies collection. Of course, the bigger issue is whether those that aren't Star Trek fans might want to join in the fray. Here's a clip from the preview explaining why they think the game will be a hit with everyone:

    What is most exciting about the upcoming sequel, are the very ambitious enhancements and greatly broadened scope of the new "Dynaverse II" campaign engine, particularly in regards to multi-player play. Dynaverse II aims to add a true strategic aspect to the game, which will also serve to provide a dynamic backdrop of a 'living galaxy,' where the balance of power between the eight factions and races is in constant flux. Far from the essentially static galactic map screen of Starfleet Command, SFC II features a hex-based map, which illustrates the shifting defensive strengths, economic (yes, economic) values, and possession of each hex, with easy to recognize icons. (For example, a shield icon represents the defensive strength of a given hex, with its color corresponding to its strength.) The map is several screens in dimension, and the player will need to scroll in various directions to check upon other actions taking place in the galaxy.
    The original game which precluded this did fairly well in the PC market, and we are definitely looking forward to seeing how this strategy-take on the Star Trek world will carry over to the Mac. No exact word on when the game will be released, but we'll be sure to bring you more info once it's available.

    PC Arena StarFleet Command II Preview
    Starfleet Command II

    Making Giants Q&A
    8:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    FGOnline has posted a quick Q&A with Tim Williams, creative director for Planet Moon's upcoming RTS Giants: Citizen Kabuto. This unique game just went Gold for the PC, and the team is currently working on the inevitable patch, and thinking through the possibility of releasing a demo. The interview covers the high points of the development of Giants over the past three years, discusses whether a demo will be released, and even discusses the possibility of a sequel. Here's a clip:

    FGN Online: What's next for Planet Moon aside from a holiday?

    Tim Williams: We're going to work on a patch and look through the game to see if there's anything we've left out. We'll probably release a patch when the game is released, just to clean a few things up.

    After that, looking to the future we'll see a Giants 2 at some point, unless the game completely flops. The good thing about this game is that we feel it really has legs. It's so different to other things we've all seen before. It feels like something we want to continue with, we're not bored with it and there's a lot more we can do with it. That's what we're planning on doing next.

    Looking further than that, I'd like for us to come up with another great gameplay idea where everyone is again thinking, "How they hell are they going to do that?" It could be absolutely any kind of game. We'll have a few beers around a table and come up with something else.

    The good news about the game going Gold is that the codebase is mostly finalized, and the Mac port can begin in full. MacPlay is hoping to publish the game sometime next year for the Mac. Check out our first look at Giants for much more information.

    IMG First Look: Giants
    FGN: The Making of Giants

    Mac Games News for Thursday, November 30, 2000

    Article on Game Piracy4:13 PM
    IMG Debuts New Review System3:29 PM
    Red Faction Interview, Details2:08 PM
    Update on MacSoft Titles9:57 AM
    Championship Manager 00/01 coming to Mac9:20 AM
    NY Times on Gaming9:07 AM
    WaterRace is Gold8:57 AM
    AvP Fixed, Back in Testing6:00 AM
    Help Make Games6:00 AM
    Neverwinter Nights Update6:00 AM
    Virtual GameBoy Update6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, November 30, 2000 on one page

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