Warcraft: Orcs and Humans
Published by Blizzard Ent
68030, 68040, or Power Mac
8 MB RAM
2X CD ROM drive
Machine Tested On:|
PowerMac 6100/60 MHz
24 MB RAM
4X CD ROM drive
Warcraft is a fantasy simulation covering the conflict between the peaceful
Humans and the bloodthirsty Orcs. Players have the option of playing a
campaign of 12 levels, playing in a custom level or playing head-to-head
over a network via modem.
Although Warcraft does not have complex 3D graphics as is common with the
latest genre of games, you will need a powerful machine. Scrolling across
the screen is particularly slow when involved in complex battles (twice
the machine paused for a second causing the animated figures to suddenly
speed up momentarily). The game is loaded into RAM before play, thus removing
the need to access files during gameplay. With this is mind, a fast CD-ROM drive
is not necessary except for the cut-scenes and the game introduction sequence
which requires a 2X drive. Lastly, stereo speakers/headphone are recommended
as you receive feedback from your troops in the direction that they need
Warcraft is Blizzard's first product for the Mac. Although a port from the
PC version, the graphics and sound quality have been improved in order to bring them
to the standard we expect. Although we obviously want this, having to wait
a year for the port is a bit much.
In Warcraft, you get to play either the Humans or the Orcs.
: You have encountered evil times. The kingdom is in turmoil because
an evil sorcerer has created a gateway between Azeroth and an unknown world.
Through this gateway has come some hideous creatures known as 'Orcs' that
have come and attacked our land. They have killed the King. His son, now
King of Azeroth, has left the responsibility of saving the land from these
foul beasts to you.
: As Orcs, we have conquered our enemies but the craving for blood is upon
us. So we have turned against ourselves in a battle in which only the strongest
shall survive! But one day, the Warlocks brought news that a portal to a
new world had been discovered. Now under the fearsome leadership of Blackhand
we have united once more to conquer this land and all that shall stand in
The game comes on one CD-ROM and provides three layers of installation, which
is taken care of by an installer script. The standard install takes up 27Mb
but you can install over 100Mb of game material. However, copy protection
has been written into this program - requiring the CD to be in the drive
when playing or answering a question based on the manual. The manual, by the way, has been specially rewritten for the Mac.
To begin with, you are given easy tasks like building up a settlement (initially a Town Hall), the town's center, and a farm (for feeding the troops and to slaughter any
wandering foes). After getting peasants to collect the resources of the land: lumber and gold; you can start to build additional buildings: barracks for the training of additional troops; lumber mill for upgrading the power of spears; blacksmith for upgrading the armor and sword efficiency; stables for breeding horses; churches for training Clerics to heal the wounded (or in the case of the Orcs, to bring the dead back to life in the form of skeletons), and towers to permit mystical warlocks to be trained in the way of calling Daemons and Elementals.
In Warcraft, you don't just build up settlements and then conquer others. You are sent
on quests to rescue fellow knights, rescue friendly cities that are already
under siege and to kill the Orcs Chief's daughter! As you build up experience,
you have to pit your wits against two (or even three in the final episode)
enemy outposts simultaneously! However, this rarely becomes a problem. In
fact, if anything the game on the whole is a bit too easy, except in the
difficult action scenes when I found myself slowing the game down. It is
mainly constructed of three factors: defend, building up your armies and
attacking. A difficulty setting would have been appreciated as I had this
game finished within 8 hours (a little disappointing). Add to the fact that
after playing it through again, the computer does not adapt its tactics
as the situation progresses . Kill a guard and the computer will not replace
it; instead any new forces are just put straight into the battle even if
you are not attacking. One of my tactics was to build up a collection of
30 soldiers and wait. The enemy only come in a maximum of 5 units at which
point they get hacked to pieces. After a while this becomes boring as you
are soon able to conquer the computer fairly easily.
Some would say that some of the graphics are not up to scratch, but to be
perfectly honest you are so caught up in the action you don't really care
what those pixels look like (as long as that Raider dies!-Oops). In particular,
the graphics of the citizens carrying gold and felling trees are excellent,
as are the sound effects. All of these sounds combined can make the game quite busy as you have sounds coming from all over the place. Luckily, these sounds are portrayed in stereo, which is a great help. The speech, however, is a little disappointing as clicking on a citizen will produce a "Yes my lord" or "Yes!" repeatedly which becomes a little monotonous. The Orc-ish speech is not so bad - probably because it is complete gibberish.
However, once you have beaten the computer to your heart's content you are
ready to go head-to-head by using the multi-play option which brings
the game to a new level. You are able to play opponents via network, direct
link or modem. You can even play your PC cousin by installing the software
supplied on the CD! This certainly gives you a new challenge as the moves
become more erratic and the pace livens up again. Blizzard has obviously
thought things through as you are able to play another person without buying
another copy of the game (a la Marathon style). Well done, Blizzard.
Warcraft's interface is a snap to use. You want your forces over there?
Just highlight the relevant soldier, press the move button and select the
new position. Each command has a keyboard shortcut, so you will be flying
along in minutes. By shift-clicking, you can highlight up to four minions which
is very useful for attacking in force. While foot soldiers do not respond
to the enemy nearby, spearmen will attack as soon as they come into range,
which is excellent for guarding bridges.
While the interface does have its pitfalls, it also makes a lot of tasks
simple for the gamer. If you want a peasant to collect gold, he will do
so until you tell him to stop or the supply is exhausted.
There were a few minor glitches in Warcraft. From time to time you could
no longer select your soldiers. The only way I found to get out of this
was to press help and then click OK.
Secondly, as mentioned before, the game froze twice on me for a second before
returning to normal.
If you like Civilization or strategy games then you will like Warcraft.
The simple interface joined with great graphics and sound makes this a
must for many a gamer. Certainly a good sign was that I could not stop
until I had conquered all the enemy forces! As of this writing (April, '96), Blizzard is just about to release Warcraft II on the PC which will improve on some of the flaws of
Warcraft, namely: four races, instead of two; more units; more structures
and two more resources. We have learned that this should be out on the
Mac by the end of this year. To ensure they don't have second thoughts and
continue to release Mac products you should definitely consider purchasing
So has Blizzard's first product been worthwhile waiting for? If you enjoy
it as much as I did, you will hankering for Warcraft II a lot sooner!
- Great detailed graphics and sound.
- Very easy to pick up.
- Mac specific manual.
- Easy Installation.
- Too easy!
- Minor bugs.
- Limited replay value.
- Difficulty option needed.
- Limited tactics needed.