The Peasants Rebellion

Main

 

 

Introduction

 

Following years of wait by eager Knights and Merchants fanatics, an expansion pack (or gold edition) was finally released. This section is entirely focused on providing you some in-depth information regarding this game.

 

The Peasants Rebellion © 2001 Bolesław Kasza

 

 


 

 

General Information

 

Developer: Joymania Entertainment GmbH  
     
Producer: ZuXXeZ Entertainment AG  
     
Publishers: 576 Media Hungary
  BestBuys Interactive bv. Belgium Netherlands
  BlackStar Interactive GmbH Austria Germany Switzerland
  Computer Hoy Juegos Spain
  Pointsoft S.A. France
  Snowball Interactive Entertainment, Inc. Russia
  TopWare Interactive, Inc. United States
  TopWare Poland Sp. z o.o. Poland
     
Release Dates:
November 26, 2001 Poland
  November 27, 2001 Austria Germany Switzerland
  April 2002 Belgium Netherlands
  April 5, 2002 Russia
  November 5, 2005 United States
     
Re-releasers: Frogster Interactive Pictures AG Austria Germany Switzerland
  EVM - Ezt Vedd Meg! Hungary
  TopWare Interactive AG Germany
     
Alternate Titles: Knights and Merchants 2 - A parasztfelkelés Hungary
  Вторая Корона (The Second Crown) Russia
     
Platforms: Microsoft Windows — November 26, 2001 English Czech Dutch French German Hungarian Polish Russian Spanish
     
Genre: Real-time Strategy (RTS)  
     
Game Modes:
Singleplayer  
  Multiplayer  
     
Ratings: ESRB: Everyone (E)  
  PEGI: 12  
  USK: 12+  
     
Media: 1 CD  
     
Homepage http://www.knights.de  

 

 


 

 

System Requirements

 

Minimum

Recommended

64 MB RAM

128 MB RAM

233 MHz Pentium

300 MHz Pentium

4 MB Graphics Card

8 MB Graphics Card

DirectX 8.0 or above

DirectX 8.0 or above

90 MB Hard Drive space

300 MB Hard Drive space

16-bit Sound Card

16-bit Sound Card

4X CD-ROM Drive

8X CD-ROM Drive

Windows 95/98/ME

Windows 95/98/ME

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse & Keyboard

(Internet connection for multiplayer)

(Internet connection for multiplayer)

 

 


 

 

Features

 

  • Rich graphics and animations
  • A realistic combat system
  • Different types of soldiers each with their own weaknesses
  • Vast sound effects, all subjects answering in their own distinctive voice
  • 15 music tracks
  • Over 60 hours of gameplay
  • A very complex economy system
  • Terrain created using the Gouraud-Shading Routine giving it a 3D look
  • A statistics menu giving one an overview of the town
  • Video cutscenes
  • 34 missions and 7 single player scenarios giving a total of over 40 missions
  • 10 multiplayer scenarios
  • A tutorial teaching you to build up and fight
  • Many different buildings and citizens
  • Supports resolutions of 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960 and 1280x1024

 

 


 

 

New Features

 

  • “The Peasants Rebellion” campaign that consists of 14 missions
  • Skirmish/Single mission mode with 7 different scenarios
  • Music player with 15 tracks; four of them being new
  • Fully Windows 2000 & XP compatible
  • Six new soldiers
  • One new citizen
  • An improved town tutorial which also gives one the opportunity to fight two enemies
  • Three new buildings
  • One new food type
  • More resolutions supported (besides 800x600 and 1024x768, also 1280x960 and 1280x1024 are supported)

 

 


 

 

Story

 

Unrest is spreading about in the neighbouring lands. A young prince of an adjacent kingdom liveth in fear for his life, for the mighty league of merchants is plotting a coup. With the prince having pleaded for help to the council, the personal councellor of the late King Karolus is dispatched to thy castle.

 

“Oh honourable herald, the old war hath much troubled our delicate kingdom. In a matter of just a few months both the beloved King Karolus and the rogue heir, Prince Lothar, were lost. This hath in troth been a most difficult test of strength for the kingdom. Forsooth, thy reputation as a stalwart and witting leader hath done much in the ways of preventing the princes from bringing the kingdom to the verge of yet another raging civil war.

 

Thenceforth, a few years in quiet have passed by and the manner of men in the kingdom hath indeed improved, albeit the kingdom hath not reached its former blossom. However, that is not why I came to seek thee in thy castle, good herald.

 

Prince Matthias Postumus, a distant relative of the late King Karolus, hath pleaded to the council asking for assistance. His father, King Bogart, was killed under most doubtful circumstances when practising his most favourite of pastimes, falconry. Hereupon the leaders of the three oldest aristocratic clans of the kingdom immediately showed a surprising willingness to take on ’the unbearable burden of government’ as the heir out of boyhood groweth. Hardly three days past the start of these strange occurrences, the prince discovered that succumbed to the generous promises by mighty merchants, his subjects one after another began to refuse to carry out his orders.

 

Truly fearing for his life and the future of the kingdom, the stalwart prince hath requested for troops to aid in restoring the sovereignty back into the hands of his blood kin.

 

Howsoever, ’tis the belief of the council that Prince Matthias gravely needeth the help of a marvellous military personage such as thyself, for, alas, he hath naught in the ways of experience in waging war. Of a surety, ’twould be a most prudent way of teaching the young prince the wicked ways of war.

 

Verily, shouldst thou be willing to take on this enormous task, a ship with a small group of stalwarts shalt await thee ready to set sail at dawn towards the shores of the rebelling kingdom.

 

Pray help the young prince, for methinks thou and only thou hast the experience necessary for the distressing task that now lieth afore thee; to recover the crown to its rightful owner.”

 

 


 

 

Review

 

Knights and Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion was going to be a free expansion pack for the original game, but in the end the game was released as a commercial product. This happened three years after the original game had been released, and it shows! The graphics are mostly the same as in the original game and not near the quality of the 3D graphics that other games released in 2001 boast and the gameplay mechanics remain unchanged from the original released in 1998. Then again, this might not be a bad thing as many have strongly expressed their dislike against the modern 3D graphics.

 

So as I said, the game was to be released as a free expansion pack for the original game, but then ended up being a commercial product. Luckily, the game does not need the base game to play as it is included in the game, hence it sometimes being referred to as the “Gold Edition” of Knights and Merchants. It is priced at 29,90€ so ZuXXeZ (the publisher) is clearly aware that there's no way a three year old game with some additional content could be sold at the price of a full retail title. But is it worth it?

 

The game plays just like the previous entry in the series, you usually start with a single storehouse that has a bunch of wares, some serfs and some laborers. Your goal is the same as in most middle age RTS games, that is to build an army and crush your enemies. However, unlike most games, building an army in Knights and Merchants is considerably more complicated. Each citizen that inhabits your town must be fed, so having a good economy is essential to winning over your enemies. In case you refuse or fail to feed your citizens or soldiers(!) properly, they will simply die of starvation.

 

To make a working economy, you will have to build several different buildings. The very first buildings you are going to build will be the schoolhouse and the inn. The first is used for training new citizens that you will eventually need when you proceed to more advanced buildings, whilst the latter is where all your citizens go when they need to eat. Each building also has to be connected to the road leading to your storehouse so that your serfs can transport materials to them.

 

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After you have built these buildings, you will have to proceed to building a quarry and a woodcutter's to supply your town with raw materials for building. Almost each time you build a building, another building that needs the wares of the previous building is unlocked. For example, once you build a woodcutter's, the sawmill will be unlocked which can be used make timber out of the tree trunks the woodcutter has felled.

 

There are four different types of food in the game: bread, wine, sausages and fish. Each of them are produced in a separate building and the harder to produce food types fill the stomachs of your citizens better. Wine is the easiest food to produce, requiring only a vineyard with enough wine field for your farmer to grow his grapes on. It only fills about a fifth of a citizens food meter however, whilst bread that firstly requires you to build a farm and plenty of field where a farmer can grow corn, a mill where the corn is processed into flour, and finally a bakery which then makes bread out of your flour. Bread fills the citizens considerably better than wine. Fish, which is a new food type in The Peasants Rebellion, requires you to build a fisherman's hut near a lake or any water you happen to come across. Your fisherman will then take a trip from his hut to the lake and catch some fish. It fills your citizens quite well, but the waters will eventually run out of fish so it's not a food source one can count on.

 

During the first missions of the campaigns, you are generally only capable of building a selected few buildings with more unlocking as you progress through the campaign.

 

As for waging war, there are mainly two classes of soldiers used for doing this: leather soldiers and iron soldiers. Both of them require a series of different buildings to be produced, producing an axe fighter which is one of the most commonly used soldiers in the game requires three different pieces of equipment that are created in two separate buildings. Not to mention that you need additional buildings to supply those buildings with the necessary raw materials. Leather soldiers use renewable raw materials for production, whilst iron soldiers require iron ore and coal, both of which are available in quite limited amounts during missions.

 

The Peasants Rebellion also introduces a good bunch of new soldiers to the game, mercenaries and siege weapons. Mercenaries can be hired from a building called the town hall and like any common mercenary back in the day, takes gold for payment against their service. They cost between one and five pieces of gold depending on the type of soldier; these include a rogue that will sling stones at your enemy and a warrior wearing a huge axe being the most powerful soldier in the game.

 

Siege weapons are also created in a building of their own, the siege workshop. They are extremely powerful, but also very expensive costing about three times the amount of raw materials than any other iron soldier. The ballista will shoot an arrow killing any soldier it hits with a single strike, however its slow rate of fire and low endurance make up for this. As for the catapult, it throws three stones that do slightly less damage than the ballista each making it effective against buildings and groups of enemy soldiers. However, you'd better watch out to make sure the catapult won't hit your soldiers in mistake or you could suffer unforeseen causalities.

 

So how's the battle system? Soldiers cannot be lead individually in the game, instead they are all organized into separate troops, so once you move the leader of the troop, the soldiers of the troop will automatically follow him. This also presents an annoying problem in the game, that is soldiers failing to stay in formation and regrouping taking a considerable amount of time. They will bump into each other and it always takes a few seconds for them to get around each other, using bigger troops will make this problem more severe.

 

When fighting, you instantly loose all control of your melee soldiers, meaning that you're unable to order a retreat command. Quite an interesting game design decision and it limits the battle tactics that can be used in the game. If you are to succeed in battle, archers are really a requirement as they are the ones who do the most damage on the battlefield whilst also being the weakest. Basically your melee fighters should mostly be used for protection against enemies trying to get your archers, whilst they concentrate on killing your enemies. Winning a battle without archers is very though in this game.

 

Despite units having different attack, defense and hit points amounts in the game, the true stats are never displayed in the game, but the soldier icon gives you a clue of how strong they are and how much they will endure. However mounted soldiers have more hit points than normal foot soldiers as well.

 

The rock-paper-scissors system used in pretty much every RTS also holds up in this game even though archers might be slightly too powerful. There are cavalry, infantry, archers and then spearmen that specialize in taking out enemy cavalry. The siege weapons are good at killing most classes in the game, but they also break of a few arrows making it a risky decision to take them into battle with enemy archers.

 

The artificial intelligence, or the AI in the game is sadly probably the weakest part in the package and can be described with a single word: terrible. He will cheat in every single mission in the game, that is he has unlimited amounts of food and most raw materials, though luckily the raw materials needed for soldier production are somewhat limited. So is there any difficulty in the game at all? There sure is, but this has been done by giving the AI a huge advantage against you by e.g. making him have access to more advanced soldiers than what you have or by making him have a ways larger army than you do at the start of a mission. Still, the same tactics that work in the second mission can pretty much be used in the last mission, which is quite sad.

 

Most of the time the AI has a pre-built base (thank god!), but in some missions the AI tries to build a base by himself, which usually leads to a terrible layout and the streets are always blocked by citizens trying to reach a certain destination. It seems like the AI doesn't really know either when to stop building as he just goes on and on with constructing his base. Sometimes he clears old “useless” buildings out of the way and builds a new one in its place. Sadly, it seems the AI occasionally thinks his storehouse is a useless building effectively making him unable to build anything anymore.

 

One major letdown with The Peasants Rebellion is that the AI is not capable of using most of the new features at all. He doesn't build any of the new buildings in missions where he builds up automatically and there is not a single mission where the AI has a town hall or a siege workshop. There are a few missions where the AI has a few of the new mercenaries at start, but that is as far as the potential of the new features is taken.

 

The game consists mainly of two campaigns, “The Shattered Kingdom” and “The Peasants Rebellion”. The first campaign remains virtually unchanged from the original game, saving for the addition of the new units and buildings new to the expansion pack (more on those later). Basically the story is that King Karolus, who is the leader of the kingdom has a son, Prince Lothar, who seeks to lead the kingdom. However, his means of leading the kingdom are something that his father cannot accept as he sees them as tyrannical. Prince Lothar, having a strong will to lead the kingdom, then forces most of the provinces to wage war against his father, King Karolus, and you, as the captain of the palace guard, are given the responsibility of leading the people of King Karolus to victory against the in their darkest hour.

 

The mission design is really good and the missions work well offering a lot of variety in their looks, but the bad AI does kill a lot of potential the missions have. But let that not distract you as the there is a decent plot that is unveiled by occasional pre-rendered 3D cutscenes and briefings with voice acting in-between each mission. Certain missions also have messages that get sent to you by your “scouts” or other sources providing a more interesting experience. A big plus goes to the fact that the briefings are written in a slightly Old English style making them considerably more interesting. There are 20 missions in the first campaign, of which a few are solely battle missions whilst most require you to build up.

 

The new campaign The Peasants Rebellion, is not half bad either but there is no real story backing up the campaign, instead it seems to be just a series of random happenings eventually making up a campaign. Unlike the last campaign, the mission design here uses quite a lot of copying from other mission and there are no cutscenes save for one playing once you finish the campaign. The voice acting during the briefings isn't nearly as good as last time and the messages sent to you during a mission are written in plain and mostly bad English. Whilst it doesn't completely kill the campaign, it does make it a lot less interesting than it could have been, sadly.

 

There is also another game mode resembling a skirmish mode where you can play missions that are not part of a campaign. These are mostly maps that were multiplayer missions in the old game and have now been given a single player version. Unfortunately the AI is doing the build up by himself in all of these missions killing the challenge of taking him out. But if you're of the type who enjoys building your town in the game, you'll like these missions as they give plenty of room for you to do it.

 

Okay okay, the AI is bad and all, but isn't that where multiplayer comes in? One could assume so, but unfortunately the multiplayer component of this game is pretty much broken. You can play it, but more often than not the game goes out of synch but still keeps running, only thing being that completely different things are happening on your screen than on the screen of your friend making the game quite unplayable online. Even though there is a saving and loading option in the game, it doesn't work at all as once you try to restore a saved game all game settings will be corrupted and players will be unable to join. There was a matchmaking service for the game but it has now been shut down due to inactivity.

 

And sadly, the multiplayer bugs are not the only bugs roaming about the game, but luckily a number of patches have been issued that eliminate a good chunk of these. Still some bad bugs like the already mentioned multiplayer bugs remain, making it a less fun experience to play the game than what it could have been.

 

For being 2D graphics, the game has really good looking graphics and coupled with the hundreds of smaller animations that are constantly playing in different parts of the game it feels quite alive. But as 3D is taking over, 2D graphics are really not too hot anymore and they are already three years old as you should know by now. But the graphical style is kept intact with the predecessor so it gets a plus for consistency.

 

The music is mostly the same as in the previous game with a few new tracks. For whatever reason a good number of tracks were removed from the game, including my favorite track of the original game. And the music is now also played from your hard drive from highly compressed MP3 files making the quality noticeably worse than it was in the original game. There is no CD audio at all this time! So much wasted space that could have been used to make the game sound a lot better, but the music is still listenable and does bring back memories from the previous game despite the lower quality.

 

In the end, the game is not bad for what it was trying to do but should really have been released two years earlier as there was not that much new content to play around with. If you enjoyed the original, then there's no reason not to try Knights and Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion, but if you disliked the first game you should stay away from this one as well.

 

 

Graphics
7.5

The graphics in this game look kind of outdated and that is because it is almost like a re-release, but they are still good 2D graphics and they can beat a lot of other 2D games.

 

Sound & Music
8.5

Even due to the fact that the music is old, you'll never grow tired of listening to the music in the game. It fits perfectly and the sound effects are also a small but nice feature.

 

Gameplay:
8.0

Granted the gameplay might not be that good by today's standards and some small updates could have made things a lot better, but Joymania decided to leave it untouched.

 

Value:
7.5

The game really takes some time to beat but once you have done it there really isn't much to do left. A random map mode could have been good or at least a map editor.

 

Overall

7.5

 

 


 

 

More Information

 

MobyGames
Wikipedia Article

 

 


 

 

Purchase

 

GOG.com (works with Windows Vista [64-bit], Windows 7 [64-bit] and Windows 8 [64-bit])
eBay.com
Amazon.com
ImpulseDriven
Trymedia
ZuXXeZ