Castles was developed by Quicksilver Software and published by Interplay back in 1992. In this popular classic, players are tasked to build structures and conquer a majority of the land. It is an in-depth strategy game which combines resource management with combat elements, tying things up with a text-based storyline.
The game is set during the 13th century and takes place in England and Wales. Players are allowed to construct a maximum of eight castles, laying out its outline and adding features such as guard towers, a gate house and defensive walls. In order to fend off enemy attacks, arrow slits and cauldrons of boiling oil may also be included in a tower's design. The key is to manage resources as at is possible to deplete a region's resources fast enough that the castle ends up unfinished.
If anything, Castles isn't your typical strategy game. Aside from giving you the option to use diplomacy instead of force to win, the system also has a few unique features that will surely be a treat to fans of the genre. These include random events which influences how factions respond to you, fantasy creatures (such as ogres) that serve as enemies as well as a variety of difficulty options to suit your play style.
2. Kingdoms of England
Kingdoms of England is a turn-based, top-down strategy game that was released in 1989 and published by Incognito Software, Inc. In this classic, you aim to conquer enough of the 63 provinces in order to be crowned the King of England. Set in the year 1421, those who play solo will be pitted against four computer opponents. Up to three other players can join in as well, each with their own province and a set budget to start things off with. From there, players will need to hire troops, strengthen the defenses of their territories and, ultimately, own a majority of the land in order to be declared King.
The game has a primitive resemblance to Stronghold Crusader and the challenge of Age of Empires although to make such comparisons is to complement Kingdoms of England even more so as it was developed and realised far before the former two.
To achieve your goal, you will of course need some funds. Money is earned through the taxes paid by the citizens as well as by winning archery tournaments. These are held every six months and is played in the form of a mini game. There, you will need to aim manually at the targets in first-person view.
There are two types of battles which you may participate in. In Quick Battle mode, you will simply need to focus on giving orders to win by sheer numbers. On the other hand, true blue strategy game fans will likely prefer Detailed Battle Mode which allows players to manually control the troops and specify their targets. This game reminds us alot of the more modern
3. Kingdoms of Germany
Kingdoms of Germany makes use of an engine based on the one used in Kingdoms of England. Published and developed by Realism Entertainment, this turn-based strategy title is made to be played either by six players or a combination of humans and AI opponents. Each one stands as a Lord of a kingdom who aims to become the one true ruler of Germany.
In order to do that, you will be put in charge of up to 20 armies and you will dictate whether or not your kingdom will flourish. The mouse-based controls are easy to grasp off the bat, however, you will need to spend time learning the ins and outs of building structures and increasing the strength of your army if you wish to expand your borders. If you are battling AI opponents, then you will have to contend with five other Lords who are out to conquer the lands you own.
4. Castles II: Siege & Conquest
Castles II: Siege & Conquest was released back in 1992 as a sequel to the wildly popular top down strategy game by Quicksilver Software, Inc. The sequel expands upon the first game by refining the interface as well as including a number of video cut scenes.
In this title, you step into the shoes of a Lord (Albion, Anjou, Aragon, Burgundy or Duke of Valois) that aims to become the King of Bretagne. In order to beat your four rivals, you will need to conquer lands, resort to sabotaging or spying on the competition and maybe even employ a bit of strategic diplomacy. Your goal here is to keep the people happy. If you manage to rack up 7,000 points, you will then be able to submit a request to the Pope so that you may be considered for the throne. Keep your ratings up for a little less than half a year and you'll beat the game at last. Don't think for a second that this is an easy game. Your rivals will stop at nothing to put a wedge in between you and the crown. In order to keep them from getting in your way, you may want to build a formidable military force.
The system has also improved since the original. Building a thriving castle is easier than ever, but if you're still having trouble getting the hang of things, you can always go for pre-made structures that the game provides. Will you win by diplomacy or do you attempt to conquer the whole land? Mastering either of these will be the key to victory.
5. Castle Kingdoms
Castle Kingdoms is an isometric view action adventure title published by Mutation Software in 1997. In the game, you control a party consisting of five adventurers, namely, the Knight, a Warrior, a Princess, an Elf and a Wizard. Your goal is to search castles in order to collect the gem stones hidden within, defeat the Dark Lord and save the world.
Although you have the support of a full party, you may only control the lead character. There are plenty of baddies waiting around every corner. Some may surprise you when they come barging out, others hide just outside the windows and continuously shoot projectiles to stop you in your tracks. If you want to get past these guys with your party intact, then you'll need to have impeccable timing as they all walk at different paces. Of course for the rest of the enemies, you can simply opt to take them out of the picture. Being of different classes, your characters have their own way of dishing damage so you can just switch to the one that fits the situation.
What adventure game is complete without its fair share of booby traps? In Castle Kingdoms, you will need to contend with spikes and the like. Again, the challenge here lies in protecting the rest of your party. Keeping an eye on the red hearts under their name should give you a good indicator of their health. To help you along the way, there are a number of potions and scrolls scattered about the castles. That is, if you know where to look.
The heavily romanticized genre of old era castles is not going anytime soon –after all, they are pretty grand and majestic (and some still stand until this day). They also represent an interesting element for gamers, more of which can be found at the number one site for the niche - castle games. Elements like a fort to call their own and the defense of which will always prove popular. Whether you built or conquered it, taking a place of your own then growing your troops, managing your assaults –these little things make for a great and enjoyable game regardless of the platform you are on.