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Publisher: Virtual Programming    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.2.4    CPU: G3 @ 800 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 1500 MB

April 14, 2005 | Jonathan Lowrie

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KnightShift, the genre-bending fantasy game by Virtual Programming and Freeverse is a new style of role-playing game (RPG) that is mixed with real time strategy (RTS). This lighthearted title seems to be a refreshing attempt at something new to the genre. This game starts things off with humorous cut scenes as an introduction to the game. So right off the bat, you realize this game is supposed to be funny, while at the same time being a RTS game with strategy elements mixed in.

The Beginning
Before you get started, you must install the game. While I had a gold master copy for review, some of what I experienced may not be present in the final version. The installation took a long while. The game for me came on 2 CDs, and took a while to install on a Dual 2.0 G5 system. Once installed, it was in the main drive directory. So, like the obsessive-compulsive file organizer I am, I relocated the KnightShift folder to my games folder. Simple. Not really. I then started the game, and encountered an error telling me to reinstall the game. After 3 more attempts, I was beginning to wonder. As luck would have it, I got a phone call, and when I came back, I launched the game from the main directory, and all was well. In other words, let the installer install the game and DON'T MOVE IT.

First Impressions
Because I had a rough time with the install, I felt I should let the game sit for a day before playing, so as not to taint my opinion. To load the game, be sure to have a few minutes. It takes a while to load and get any kind of feedback in the form of splash screens for the developers. Once the game menu is loaded, you are greeted with a rather pleasing Celtic melody. In fact, the game is full of Celtic tunes, and if you are a fan of Enya or light Celtic tunes, then you will find the music very pleasing. The game certainly tries to break the stereotypical mold of medieval titles by using humor. KnightShift presents itself as a tongue-in-cheek satirical fantasy game that makes fun of others in its genre.

Game Play
KnightShift has three different game modes of play. One of the modes is a story/adventure (campaign) mode, where you take the role of Prince John. From the introductory cut scene movie, you learn that an evil sorcerer has taken your empire away and ineptly banished you to the outskirts. As the missing Prince, you must find your way back and convince your former subjects to help you regain the throne. Of course, this is similar to most medieval RTS games, but this time it's supposed to be funny. You will sometimes acquire additional units (RTS style) to help you in this task. You have a few simple missions to accomplish, with pieces of armor being your reward. Further along, you can even raise an army in a village and the games plays much like any other RTS title.


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