Alexander - The Heroes Hour Review
It's a time for heroes, unfortunately this role-playing game falls short of the mark.
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 24th January 2005
Alexander - The Heroes Hour
- Developer: Meridian 93
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: 26th November 2004
As there are so many similar RPG games on the market, developers must get a real headache when trying to work out how to make theirs stand out from the crowd, what can they make different? What can they add that the others don’t have? Unfortunately Alexander: The Hero’s Hour does nothing different apart from add a little more frustration to the game play that might not be present in the majority of other RPGs, obviously this is hardly a good thing.
The games story focuses on the time period surrounding the Persian War, King Phillip II started one of the biggest wars in history but did not live to see it through to the end, his son, Alexander the Great was declared king and went on to conquer the better part of what was known of the entire world with the aim of uniting all nations to form one huge empire.
Players take on the responsibility of guiding 3 elite guards of Alexander through his various orders and requests. The 3 characters are your average RPG hero’s, you have your muscle (Megacles, skilled with heavy weapons and increased strength), sword fighter (Ekhedem, obviously skilled with swords and is an all round experienced fighter) and range fighter (Bilikidi, your average feminine cross-bow user, useful for distanced attacks).
The first thing I noticed about the game was the limited options in the starting menu, there is only 2 playing options, Arena which basically pits your character against an onslaught of enemies which your character then wins trophies for defeating and the main Campaign mode. Within the campaign menu there is also an optional tutorial which, although not a fan of tutorials I do usually think its worth while to have a buzz through with games like this otherwise it can take hours to actually work out how to play! Despite playing the tutorial I still had trouble getting to grips with Alexander – The Heroes Hour. Controlling my characters, dragging an area around the 3 of them is supposed to group them together but sometimes one will stay put and sometimes one will run ahead and the others will walk off in the opposite direction! Trying to select an individual character is painfully frustrating too as again, sometimes you can and sometimes you’ll have to click 3 or 4 times before he’ll actually highlight as being selected. Scattered around the environment and sometimes left behind from fallen enemies are pieces of equipment, objects and potions which can be picked up by via the right mouse button, again the problem exists where the game will randomly decide you can’t do it even if your inventory is empty, try again with a different character and he will immediately pick it up, its all very frustrating.
As in most role-playing games characters gain experience points and level-ups throughout the game, points can be assigned to specific statistics improving things like strength, stamina and dexterity as well as shield skill and hit points and higher level characters are able to use better equipment such as weapons and armour and obviously things like strength can allow characters to use heavier equipment meaning you can really develop your characters as you play. As you would expect potions make an appearance enabling you to heal your characters and increase things like stamina although a character can die during battle and as long as at least one member of the team remains standing the fallen hero’s will come back to life (with zero health) as soon as the battle is over meaning you don’t have to fuss about keeping them all alive.
Actual battles are far too complicated to pull off properly, each character has a set of special skills besides their normal hack and slash but you have to mess about going through different menu’s without the game being paused to find each one meaning that while you’re doing that your characters are being slashed to pieces! There is also a button you need to press to get your characters in an aggressive mood making their attacks stronger and faster but surely this should happen automatically when entering combat mode? It’s also difficult trying to persuade all three characters to attack at the same time since one of them will often take on the bad guys by themselves whilst the others stand and watch or simply run around in circles. Enemies have little intelligence but will notice your presence before you’re stood on their feet but they don’t make any special attempt to outsmart you but then RPG’s rarely have mini Einstein’s running around the wastelands!
The actual missions in the game require you to fulfil specific objectives for Alexander, the first one being to rid the town and surrounding area of bad guys before a wedding takes place, a big problem here emerged when the objectives menu failed to realise when the task had been completed meaning I could not progress any further, admittedly there is a patch for this so its easily fixed but that is only one example of the kind of bugs in the game.
Graphically Alexander: The Heroes Hour is a little basic, it’s all set in 3D but there is no real texture or detail in the environments or character models, even the menu looks like its being taken from a 10 year old game. Sound wise the game has very little to offer, dialogue is dealt with in text for rather than voices and background music is your average sword bearing, potion drinking RPG soundtrack that becomes more upbeat during battle but still fails to be memorable.
On the whole Alexander: The Hero’s Hour seems too rushed and thrown together to actually deserve a good write-up, sluggish character control, numerous bugs and badly thought out menu systems make the game too frustrating to actually enjoy, there are many RPGs out there and this one had to be really good to stand a chance, unfortunately Alexander, known as the military genius who conquered the world (of what was known of it at the time!) has this time failed to make an impact.
Review Score: 4.6/10
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