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Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.6

Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom
March 28, 2011 | Franklin Pride

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It Begins!

Mac OS X: 10.6.3 | CPU: 2.16 GHz Intel Processor | RAM: 1 GB | HD Space: 1.5 GB Graphics: GeForce 8600, Radeon X1600 or newer 128 MB | Requires Majesty 2 to play

Well, you've defeated a demon summoned by your father, destroyed a werewolf sorcerer bent on world domination, and defeated the evil hordes of Grum Gog. What's left to do now? The answer put forward in Virtual Programming's Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom (MK) is simple: exile. Wizards and advisers from the Conclave have attacked the kingdom and stolen all your magical relics! This naturally means that the people no longer recognize you as their king, and you are forced to turn to the only friends you have left in the world: werewolves, minotaurs, and the evil hordes of Grum Gog.

Plot aside, there's a lot of new and entertaining content in this third expansion. The first thing you'll notice is that you no longer are controlling anything even remotely human. Your forces are goblins, liches, minotaurs, vampires, werewolves, and all the Grum Gog special units you can muster. These come with a wide variety of new abilities, rules for creation, and reward flag predispositions. It is true that the initial three are just a near-perfect replica of the warrior, rogue, and ranger, but the monsters play significantly different from those on.

A good example would be the noble werewolf. You may remember them as being ridiculously hard to kill from the earlier expansions. Nothing has changed. Their abilities are focused around extreme durability, massive damage, and fast movement. There isn't a replica of their stats anywhere on the human end, and they easily destroy anything and everything in a one-on-one. The only thing keeping them from being truly overpowered is that you need a level two palace, level two pub, and over two-thousand gold on top of that. In addition, you can only hire one werewolf per building, which cuts back on them significantly. However, if you have three lord werewolves, it's quite easy to amass an army of four. From that point on, you just party them together at a pub and watch as they rip through everything in their path.

There's also the lich, which is a close replica of the wizard. The main differences are that the liches have more health, less damage, stun attacks, and the ability to summon elementals. They really aren't too dangerous by themselves, and most any warrior type can destroy them. This is quite different from the wizard, as the wizard tends to die horribly to ranged creatures and has the sheer damage to destroy most melee types before they ever reach him. As a result, they both have to be grouped differently and set into different situations.

The new campaign also brings in a few interesting setups not seen before in other campaigns. You have a time-pressure level with traps and a winding path to your target, a level with a teleporting time-space tavern filled with heroes, and a few levels with multiple choices to be made early. In a lot of them, resources are also pretty tight early, which makes it necessary to really control your spending. It's a very solid set of new levels, and the expansion definitely would be able to stand on those alone.

Not that it has to. The additional forms for the pre-existing creature sprites look great, the particle effects are as over-the-top as always, and there's plenty of stuff to look at as your city gets gigantic. There's even a new type of city hazard, the trash pits, and quite a few new pests like giant roaches and spider queens. On the sound side, there's also a load of new voice clips to listen to as you watch your monsters clean house. To put it simply, this is the most new content put into a Majesty 2 expansion yet.

Still, Monster Kingdom doesn't fix a few of the niggling annoyances from the initial releases. The opening screen occasionally shows up as a black screen while it's loading, which is very disconcerting, the music and audio occasionally cuts out, and the game bogs down as buildings are made and more creatures roam the wilderness. None of these are game-breakers, but it would be nice to see them eventually fixed. The multiplayer is also as dead as ever, which is to be expected when you consider how long a single game tends to take.

As a whole, though, this should be the expansion you buy if you buy any of them. If you do, make sure you install the expansions in the order they were made, patch everything to the latest version (because patching appears to destroy savegames), and enjoy the experience. You won't find groundbreaking new gameplay, of course, as you'll still just be placing buildings and hiring heroes, but it's a fresh new set of things to build and buy and definitely worth the cost.

• New playable race
• Interesting new campaign

• Still no random scenarios
• Creatures mirror originals

Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom
Mac Version: Virtual Programming


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