Sacrifice, by MacPlay
Posted: 14-Dec-2002

3 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: MacPlay Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: GAMES
Description
Sacrifice is a 3-D, real-time, fantasy-strategy game with heavy action and role-playing elements. Five different gods, representing life, earth, air, fire, and death, are all attempting to conquer the land and become its sole ruler. You play a wizard who may choose to follow any of the five gods, thus gaining their unique schools of spells and powers. For example, the goddess of life may provide you with healing spells, while the god of fire may give you spells with destructive magic and summoning properties. The camera is always centered on your wizard in a third-person perspective. You can summon creatures to fight for you or blast your opponents into oblivion with the use of more than 50 different spells. For every creature you kill, you must harvest its soul and sacrifice it to your god, giving you more skills and spells. Your final objective is to destroy the altar of your opponent, not just his wizard avatar, thus severing his link to his god and allowing your god to triumph.

Requirements

  • Power Mac G3/350 or better
  • Mac OS 9.2 or later -OR- Mac OS 10.0.4 or later
  • 128 MB RAM
  • CD-ROM

Features

  • Over 50 different creatures
  • Cast spells to harness elements, or alter landscapes and weather systems
  • Summon creatures to destory your opponents
  • Steal souls to bring your minions to life
  • Strong emphasis on combat and adventure
  • Unlimited camera angles
  • Multiplayer action

Game Play
Sacrifice is a fantasy real-time strategy adventure game that runs in an environment and with controls that reminded me a lot of Bugdom. You use the keyboard to move forward and backward as well as for turning left and right. The turns are not smooth, as you can sense the movement in notches. You have an elevated view of your main character which follows that character as he moves about. You can look around using the mouse, and you can zoom in and out using the mouse wheel (or designated keyboard keys).

There are many animated characters in the game, including your main character (who you pick from an assortment of interesting creatures). You set forth on adventures based upon one of five gods who you choose to serve at the beginning of the game. Using other creatures to help you, the goal is to achieve tasks set forth by the god you serve. You can recruit rangers, druids, and a variety of other animated characters, each with their own unique 3D graphics and game talents. Creatures that die leave their souls hanging around, and if you convert those souls, you end up recruiting more minions to fight on your side. There are plenty of interesting characters and features to go around, and the story and action stays fresh and interesting.

I found the game to be quite challenging, as it really works your micro-managing skills. It's good to know what you are doing before engaging in serious battles, and the game includes three tutorials to help. I had completed almost all of the tutorials, but in the last one, Tutorial 3, every time I tried to approach my goal destination, I kept getting teleported backwards. I tried countless different paths, inching my way close to that "invisible line", but I never could get past it, nor did I ever figure out why the teleporting occurred. There is a spell at my disposal that allows me to teleport, but this invisible "cannot pass" line really become frustrating. My recruited helpers did not teleport with me, and they were able to go beyond the point that I couldn't. If I had them guarding me, then they would travel back towards me after each teleportation. I finally just gave up on the tutorial and started a regular game.

Even with the tutorials, I found it to be quite a bit of work managing all my recruits, especially when engaged in battle. It helps to know the strengths and weaknesses of your recruits, and even then, you really need to stay on top of things. My recruits would engage in battle automatically, but things got so chaotic, I couldn't always tell what was going on. I'd hear some of my players dying, but it was never obvious to me which ones were in trouble (or dead) until the dust was settled. Some might enjoy the challenge of micro-managing the characters, while others may find it tiresome.

The game interface felt awkward to me, and that made it more difficult to master. While the mouse controlled looking around, left to right and up to down, only the keyboard controls your movement into a particular direction. This did not feel intuitive at all. When I turned with the mouse, I often thought I had physically turned, only to realize I hadn't when I started moving forward in a direction different than I expected. For navigation, I prefer either the point and click method (click on a point, and your highlighted characters simply goes there), or have the mouse movement control the turns.

Sacrifice also has a multiplayer option, but I did not get a chance to test that feature out.


Summary
Sacrifice sports a lot of interesting and unique features for an RTS game, and I enjoyed the story aspect. In comparison to more current games, its graphics and sounds are okay. It is a challenging game for sure, and if you hunger to hone your micro-managing skills, and you are able to master the game's interface, you may really enjoy this game. Unfortunately, I could not achieve any mastery of the game interface, giving me a luke-warm feel for the game overall.


Pros

  • Unique and interesting story aspect
  • Great cast of animated characters
  • Challenging combat strategies

Cons

  • Micro-managing aspect may be to complex or tiresome for some players
  • Game interface did not feel intuitive
  • Had some problems finishing the 3rd tutorial due to an unexplained invisible line that I was unable to cross


Overall Rating:

3 out of 5 Mice