Game Review - by James Allen
Depending on which god you choose, your powers and available grunts change. The basic types of warriors stay the same: there is one general-purpose trooper, a flying beast, a big flying being, a long-range attacker, and several others. Each of the creatures is exquisitely detailed and look very frightening. As the wizard, you command your minions around, telling them where to walk and who to attack. You actually don't do any of the hand-to-hand combat yourself, but you can use spells to hurt the competition. There's nothing like firing off an earthquake from way downtown! Other neat spells include a rain of frogs, fireballs, and a demonic rift.
The usual graphics, sound, and control customizations are available. If you have a lower end system, you can adjust the graphics enough to make the game playable. Also, Sacrifice can auto-detect your optimum graphics settings to alleviate the guesswork. As is standard these days, the individual gaming experience can be insanely customized to your specific needs.
And then there's multiplayer. Now, you can desecrate your friends alters without leaving the comfort of your own home! Multiplayer events can take place on the local machine (against computer opponents), LAN, or Internet game. There are several game types: Skirmish, whoever desecrates all the opponent's alters wins, Slaughter, where the highest body count wins, Soul Harvest, where the first wizard to collect a set number of souls wins, and Domination, where you try to capture manaliths (similar to Unreal Tournament's Domination mode). Each of these modes can be tailored in several areas, so further expand the already wide-ranging gaming options. In addition, if that wasn't enough, there's a level editor. I'd say that there's enough to keep you busy.
Mana can be gained at several locations. First is your altar, which serves as your home base. A more plentiful location is mana fountains, which spout the stuff just like a geyser. If you wish, you can construct a manalith around a fountain, to prevent other wizards from using the supply. You must have manaliths to have manahoars, which provide a constant supply mana wherever you go. Every time you use a spell or create a creature, you use mana, and it does not regenerate on its own, so it is paramount that you use manahoars. If you want to go even further, you can construct a shrine at a manalith, which affords as a drop off point for Sac-Doctors who wish to purify souls. You can gain more souls of your dead warriors by picking them up, and you can use them instantly. But, you can also collect the souls of the opposition, but they need to be purified first, thus the need for the Sac-Doctors.
As I stated earlier, the altar serves as your HQ. You can always rise from the dead after an unfortunate mishap, but once your altar is destroyed, it's all over. Sac-Doctors can be used to desecrate an altar, and this eliminates your competition. Conversely, it is very important that your altar survive the outing. You can always teleport back to your altar if the enemy has snuck by, and thwart their plans. These attributes only touch on the overwhelmingly complex and interesting gameplay in Sacrifice. The only lack I can find in this game is a difficulty option. Sacrifice is really hard, and you'll find your altar getting desecrated more than is healthy, at least for the novice player. As you play more, you will develop appropriate strategies, it will get easier, and you'll recognize and deduct the AI's tactics. Still, it seems surprising that in a game of this comprehensiveness, it overlooks a difficulty setting. Still, you'll get over it.
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