Sacrifice PC Review
Carl Armstrong / Sep 6th, 2001 No Comments
Before reviewing, I like to have a clear picture of a game in my mind. I had trouble with Sacrifice because of it’s subtle blending of genres. In fact, I had to resort to using Microsoft’s Game ClassifierÔ to pigeonhole it. After a few crashes, the program reluctantly churned out that Sacrifice is a “goreladen – action – strategy – roleplaying – game” before crashing yet again. I paused, and sighed. I suppose that’s a good as answer as any…
Anyway, now to the game it’s self. In single player mode, you play a wandering wizard, searching your new home for a god to serve. Yes that’s right, new home. The wizard had to flee his old world for reasons I won’t go into now, because it’ll spoil the story. Thankfully, the new world is split into five regions, ruled by as many gods.
There’s Persephone, god of life/justice; James, god of earth; Stratus, god of the skies; Pyro, god of fire; and Charnel, god of Death. The game has about 50 missions, but because you have to choose which god you want to serve each mission, you only actually get to play 10. This means that the game is very replayable, and will stay on your hard drive for a long time. Unfortunately, the missions themselves are a little too similar, usually you end up fighting against another wizard or two. Occasionally there are variations, for example, escorting prisoners, or collecting a certain amount of souls.
The interface is another innovative feature of the game. All the info and buttons that are needed are placed on the screen, or can be accessed through small menus. It’s incredibly easy to master, while staying functional. The camera is positioned in the third person, behind your wizard. Although it can be moved around your avatar, it can only stay in the immediate area of your wizard.
The mechanics of the game are actually very simple. It’s just you fighting against another wizard in single player, and the same in multiplayer. There are only two recourses. Souls – which are needed to summon creatures; and mana – the infinite magical energy which is needed to cast spells. You get a certain amount of souls at the start of each mission which can be used in conjunction with mana to summon creatures. The amount of souls needed depends on the size and the power of the creature, and can be done simply by clicking on it’s icon on the screen. Spells are cast in
the same way, but I’ll come to that later. If one of your creatures then dies, it’s blue soul(s) can be collected and used again, just by running over it’s corpse (the soul floats on top of the body, so it’s easy to differentiate between your blue souls, and the opponents red ones). However, to gain more souls, you must capture the opposing wizards red souls from it’s dead creatures, which must then be sacrificed. This process can take a while, and in the heat of battle, it can be very challenging. The wizards themselves are invincible, and the only way to win is by sacrificing one of your creatures at the enemies alter. When this happens, things become very tense, as only one shot will cause the ritual to be aborted, and the opposing wizard must rush back to his alter before he’s killed. Mana is collected simply by building a manalith above a mana fountain. This mana is then routed to your wizard through creatures called mana hores. These cost souls like other creatures, and the more you have, the quicker you can cast spells.
There is only one other building in the game, which is called a shrine. This is used to sacrifice enemy souls without the sac doctor having to run all the way back to the alter. (The sac doctors are summoned by a spell, they pump a bit of life into enemy corpses so they can drag them back to be sacrificed. The enemy soul is then yours.)
The creatures themselves are amazing, and the five gods know spells for about 10 creatures each. Along with spells, these are given as rewards to you for each mission. Although the gods creatures are slightly similar, they’re different enough to keep the game interesting. Now to the spells. Each god also knows about 10 spells, all of them very different from each other. They can range from simple speed up spells, to incredible volcano or tornado spells. They are cast by using mana, and play a big part in the game, along with the creatures.
Although the game was designed for multiplayer, the single player AI is commendable and I’d recommend this game to anyone with a good enough computer to run it.