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Publisher: Runesoft    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 350 MHz    RAM: 192 MB


Northland
March 11, 2004 | Ectal Greenhaw
Pages:12Gallery


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Interface
There are several shortcomings in the gameís interface that might seem jarring to players who are familiar with other RTS and city building games. For one thing, the command menu that appears when you click on a unit or building uses very small buttons. The context menu available by right clicking on a unit or building reveals a box of slightly larger buttons with often confusing icons. Itís a further frustration that some things are available both in the command/orders menu and the context menu, but some things only appear in one or the other.

There are a few other things that take some getting used to. Every action, from moving a unit to placing a building, that can be done with a mouse click is always a right click. So if you go to the build menu and select a farm then try to left click on a valid spot, youíll notice youíve just canceled building and popped yourself out of the build menu. Itís also a bit unusual that you canít queue up orders for your units. And I nearly pulled my hair out when I discovered that you couldnít deselect a unit from a group by shift-clicking. In fact, I couldnít find any way to do this other than clicking the unwanted unit, moving him out of the way, and drawing a new selection box around the desired units. Be careful you donít end up sending your carriers into battle.

Graphics
Northlandís graphics are best described as adequate. The characters and buildings are cute and well designed, but the textures are a bit repetitive, and everything looks a little simple and outdated. This isnít exactly a game with a leading-edge engine pushing high resolution, high detail visuals onto your screen. The graphics would have looked great nine or ten years ago; today, they just get the job done.

The graphics for the interface donít fare nearly as well as the rest of the game. Here, things are better described as inadequate. Small icons in various shades of brown are not very easy to see, and itís often not clear what command youíre pointing at until the tool tip pops up.

Sound
Like the graphics, the sound is adequate. Most of the sound effects are decent, and all your little characters chirp out cute phrases that make no sense, as far as I can tell. Well, itís all Viking to me. Unfortunately, there arenít many phrases, and thereís very little variety between heroes, soldiers, and regular folk. As for the music, itís good enough, but youíll get tired of hearing the same theme repeating, considering how long youíll spend on each level.

The most unfortunate thing about the sound is what happens if you have a large group selected and tell them all to do something. The same sample plays ten times over, causing the sound to distort.

Conclusion
Overall, I find Northland fascinating ó but not much fun. However, there are a lot of people out there who love games like this. If deep, difficult, and complex micromanagement appeals to you, get this quirky game as soon as you can. Otherwise, check out the demo first.

Northland was reviewed on a Dual 867 MHz G4 with a 32MB GeForce 4MX and 768MB of RAM.



Northland
Publisher: Runesoft
Download Northland Demo


Pages:12Gallery




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