The Shattered Kingdom

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Introduction

 

In 1998 the first game in the series, titled Knights and Merchants - The Shattered Kingdom was released. This section is mainly for providing information about this very special game. From here you will find things like screenshots, reviews, version history, fact sheets and a look at the rich development history of the game.

 

The Shattered Kingdom © 1998 Larry Elmore

 

 


 

 

General Information

 

 

Developer: Joymania Entertainment GmbH  
     
Producer: TopWare Interactive AG  
     
Publishers: Denda Multimedia bv. Netherlands
  Forum Multimedia Oy Finland
  Interactive Magic Ltd. United Kingdom
  Interactive Magic, Inc. United States
  JRC Interactive s.r.o. Czech Republic
  Snowball Interactive Entertainment, Inc. Russia
  TopWare España, S.A. Spain
  TopWare Interactive AG Austria Germany Switzerland
  TopWare Programy Sp. z o.o. Poland
  TRAVELBOX-Hungária Kft. Hungary
  Ubi Soft Entertainment France Italy
     
Release Dates:
August 1998 Germany
  September 18, 1998 United Kingdom
  October 1998 Czech Republic
  October 1998 Netherlands
  October 1998 Spain
  October 1, 1998 United States
  October 15, 1998 Poland
  October 30, 1998 France
  November 1998 Hungary
  November 19, 1998 Russia
  December 1998 Finland
  March 1999 Italy
     
Re-releasers: BestBuys Interactive bv. Belgium Netherlands
  Diaspora Games Spain
  Frogster Interactive Pictures AG Austria Germany Switzerland
  GAME4U Czech Republic
  Hemming EDV-Beratung Germany
  Mega Score Portugal
     
Alternate Titles: Cavalieri e Mercanti Italy
  Chevaliers et Camelots : Un Royaume en péril France
  Knights and Merchants: Az elveszett királyság Hungary
  Knights and Merchants: El reino destruido Spain
  Rytiři a Kupci Czech Republic
  Война и Мир (War and Peace) Russia
  나이트 앤 머천트 (Knights and Merchants)
Korean
     
Platforms: Microsoft Windows — August 1998 English Czech Dutch French German Hungarian Italian Korean Polish Russian Spanish
  Mac OS — September 19, 2001 English French German Spanish
  Mac OS X (PowerPC) — July 24, 2002 English French German Spanish
  MorphOS — February 21, 2003 English French German Spanish
  Linux — March 13, 2007 English
  Mac OS X (Intel) — February 13, 2013 English French German Spanish
     
Genre: Real-time Strategy (RTS)  
     
Game Modes:
Singleplayer  
  Multiplayer  
     
Ratings: ESRB: Everyone (E)  
  ELSPA: 15  
  USK: 12+  
     
Media: 1 CD  
     
Homepage http://www.knights.de  

 

 


 

 

System Requirements

 

Minimum Recommended
24MB RAM 24MB RAM
100MHz Pentium 166MHz Pentium
2MB Graphics Card 2MB Graphics Card
DirectX 5.0 or above DirectX 5.0 or above
80-90MB Hard Drive space 80-90MB Hard Drive space
Sound Card Sound Blaster compatible Sound Card
4X CD-ROM Drive 8X CD-ROM Drive
Windows 95 Windows 95
Mouse & Keyboard Mouse & Keyboard

 

 


 

 

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
  • 18 tracks of high quality music
  • Over 35 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
  • 20 missions
  • 10 multiplayer scenarios
  • Two tutorials to teach you how to build up and fight
  • Many different buildings and citizens
  • Supports resolutions of 800x600 and 1024x768

 

 


 

 

Story

 

Thy kingdom is in grave danger. Following many battles, a formerly blossoming kingdom hath been divided into many small principalities and fiefdoms. A captain of the palace guard, thou hast faithfully served thy king for many years. But, alas, pain and sorrow have much aged thy brave sovereign. For rebellious forces under the dastardly leadership of the rogue prince have gathered to bring about his downfall.

 

The king's troops have been pushed back into one last royal province, and the rulers of the other provinces waged terrible, destructive wars against one another. The raging conflict hath laid waste large swathes of the kingdom’s once bountiful provinces. The whole land fell into a state of chaos and now the former royal capital itself is under siege by the armies of the rebel lords. Thou belongest to the last remaining group of loyal king's men, and thou hast been commanded to go to the king's councellor in view of the imminent attack.

 

“Ah, the new herald of our king honours my humble abode with his presence. Pray be seated, good sir. Methinks in my writing desk lieth a bottle of excellent brandy which hath been saved for quite such an occasion as this. The war hath lasted many years now, and ’twould seem that the rebels continue to be blessed with success. Sadly, the first-born son of our king is the leader of these scoundrels.

 

Indeed, might thou ask, how so could this affair last so long? Verily, ’tis a long and sorry tale...
King Karolus reigned undisputed for many a year, and was in troth loved as much by the people as by his own vassals. So just were his laws and wise his rule that his loyal subjects knew not hunger nor worry. Mayhap in the beginning some were unhappy, and, indeed, some baron or other perforce rebelled, wishing to gain the crown for himself. But King Karolus stopped these few afore they could grow strong, and these serpents learned in troth that Karolus was not one to be taken lightly, but was rather of iron will and courage.

 

He answered his enemies with fire and sword, until nary a one was left who would dispute his right to reign. Verily, the land was blessed with peace so that trade and crafts blossomed as never afore.

 

When a new successor to the throne was born, all seemed well indeed. Howsoever, bad omens brought darkness and foreboding at the hour of Prince Lothar’s birth, forcing his majesty to speedily obtain a soothsaying for the young prince. No less a personage than the renowned learned scholar and teacher, Johann von Moorbach, consulted the stars concerning the destiny of the future king.

 

This wise scholar prophesied a future full of promise for the child. Nary a one would be his equal; he would be a tower of strength in battle and would win many victories. His name alone would fill the hearts of his enemies with terror.

 

Prince Lothar had as his teachers the best scholars in the kingdom, and in troth was a willing pupil. In matters of war he had especial talents, whether ’twas bare fisticuffs, the sword or as leader on the training battleground. His tactical wiles were first put to the test against the uncivilised barbarians in the far north. These savages oft-times challenged the borders of our kingdom with impunity.

 

But now it came to pass that a rift slowly grew ’twixt father and son. No one at that time could have foretold that the dark clouds of impending doom were perforce gathering over the kingdom. Prince Lothar was a dutiful son, the pride of his parents and an honourable knight without fear or blemish. Hardly had the young prince escaped the shackles of boyhood, when his father commanded him to govern a small province. I also spoke on his behalf in this matter, albeit unassuming and in all humility. The king, in his wisdom, wished perchance to give his son practical experience in using what he had learned from his books and teachers. ’Twas no surprise when the prince indeed mastered this task with customary ease.

 

In two years, the young prince regent took this sleepy place and made out of it a flourishing town and the most important of trading centres. Abundant harvests and intensive exploitation of raw materials brought riches to his seat of rule, and the result was that he was indeed able to support and succour a large force of militia, which maintained law and order.

 

The prince also commanded that a palace be built wherein he entertained numerous young knights. The finest victuals were served on plates of gold, the best of the wines of the South flowed freely and his noble followers were amused by clowns, players, and dancers.

 

Complete harmony and peace reigned over his land, and the bellicose youth began to tire of his less than active life. His followers, although feted by hunts, jousts, and military practice, became restless as well, their fiery characters craving more excitement. More and more were the knights of the prince becoming involved in disputes with the mercenaries of the neighbouring provinces. On one such occasion a man was killed and a mill put to the torch. Many witnesses stated that the knights were in troth at fault in this dastardly deed, and Baron Gottfried, being the regent of the miller and the dead mercenary, perforce brought charges before the king against these wicked knights.

 

With sorrow in his heart, but without hesitation, King Karolus passed judgment on the scoundrels: death by hanging! A horsed emissary was dispatched to bring the ruling, with the king’s seal, to the prince. Verily, the emissary was never to see the capital again, and my investigations into the matter showed that this man supposedly never reached Prince Lothar’s province. Thou knowest that such emissaries are under the personal protection of the king himself, and the king was deeply angered by this foul deed perpetrated on his loyal subject.

 

He thereupon bade thy predecessor, Hilpert von Rodgau, a fine king’s herald and true, to carry a second decree of judgment to the prince. The king gave Hilpert a half troop of his own finest bodyguard to ensure that justice would prevail in this matter.

 

Prince Lothar treated the king’s herald with much discourtesy, and Hilpert waited many days for an audience. This so sorely tried the patience of the good Hilpert von Rodgau that he, flanked by the king’s bodyguards, forced his way into the prince’s presence. Enraged by this violation of order in his household, he ignored the commands of his king and father, refusing to hang the rogue knights.

 

The calm and prudence of the old herald has now become legend and, in troth, Hilpert used all his wiles to convince the prince of his folly. The prince did not only turn a deaf ear to the herald’s pleadings, but increased the gravity of the matter by even insulting that worthy old man, whereupon the king’s retinue departed for the capital to carry to the king the sorry tidings of his son’s scorn for the royal oath of duty and faith the crown.

 

Upon hearing the news, our king likened indeed to a man struck down. Many hours did he consult with the herald and my own humble personage, ’til at last, sore at heart, he judged that his son should be removed from his post of governor of that province. Yet again was an emissary dispatched to the prince, only to return a few days later with the answer; Prince Lothar refused to give up his privileges and would never leave his new home! Verily, now was the king beside himself with rage, and dispatched an army against his rebel son, to force the prince through military might to adhere to his oath of allegiance.

 

The prince had meanwhile gathered around him a large army of his own, which indeed taught the king’s forces a lesson in military tactics. The king’s general, defeated by a provincial army, returned to the capital. With countenance reddened with anger and trembling voice, the king declared his son an outcast and forthwith an enemy of the realm.

 

With the first blow of the sword in that province, civil war had spread its dark wings over our land, and many barons joined the rebel prince, hoping to gain rich rewards and new lands.

 

Verily, the following years were full of woe for those who remained true to the king. The prophecies of the scholar and teacher, Johann von Moorbach, had indeed proven to be true, but ’twas Prince Lothar’s own countrymen who fell into a state of terror and panic at the mere mention of his name. Those whom the Grim Reaper did not harvest through the cruelties of war or the plundering of the mercenaries were laid low by the plague or starvation.

 

Good herald, thou hast now afore thee an eminently difficult task. Here is the last remaining place of refuge, no further retreat can be countenanced, and no mercy can we expect from our enemies.

 

But be not too impetuous in thy haste to meet the enemy, oh honourable herald! Afore thou goest headlong into battle, I would doth suggest to thee that a ride through this land which still remains to us would mayhap be of great benefit to thee. Of a surety, ’twould interest thee much to learn more about the trading practices and ways of our ordinary people.”

 

 


 

 

Review

 

Knights and Merchants is a real time strategy game taking you back into the middle ages.
When you launch the game, you will get stunned by the amazing graphics and music this game has to offer. There's a single player campaign available and two tutorials, as usual starting with the tutorials is a good idea. In the first tutorial, simply called “Town Tutorial”, you'll build up your town with constant help of messages telling you pretty much exactly what to do. Some things about the economic side are not taught, but the developer might have intended that the player itself would decide how to build up her/his town. The second tutorial is called “Battle Tutorial”. Unsurprisingly, it teaches you the weakness and strength of each soldier type.

 

The main part of the game is the campaign, which consists of 20 missions.
This game might be difficult at the start, but once you get the hang of it, it might turn out to be quite easy. The missions in the game are all really different and in most of them you build up a town and then train yourself an army and crush your enemies. However, there are some missions where you only have soldiers, and these missions are usually referred to as either Battle- or Tactical missions. The point in these types of missions, is to learn how you can defeat an enemy army of greater size.

 

When going trough the missions you'll gain knowledge about building new buildings, which in turn will allow you to produce new items and soldiers. Your enemies are usually a step before you technologically, but if using the correct tactics, this shouldn't cause you a headache.

 

The economical side of this game is planned quite well, with a lot of different resources to stack. I personally, have never played an RTS game with an economy system that is as complex economy as the one this game has to offer.. If you want to produce bread, you'll need to build a farm to get corn, then a mill to make it into flour, and finally a bakery to make bread of the flour.

 

Producing soldiers is also more complex in this game than in your average RTS. You will need to produce piece of equipment the soldier is supposed to use separately. The strongest units, the knights, need a sword, an iron armament, a long shield, a horse and a recruit. Producing all of these wares will take quite some time, so training massive armies in this game isn't so easy.

 

A large part of the game are the serfs. They are people who take wares from one building to another. This is also another example of the unique elements this game has to offer. It is not everyday you see a RTS game with a type of occupation that takes wares from a building to another.

 

Every unit in this game also needs to eat. When selecting an unit, a green condition bar can be seen. If the condition starts running low, it's a sign that this unit is hungry and will soon go get something to eat. The different food types in the game are wine, bread and sausages. All of these need to be produced by your town. Soldiers also need also food, and feeding them is a job the serfs must do. It would be kind of stupid if your soldiers would go to your base and eat, wouldn't it? Soldiers that are hungry are weaker at fighting than normal soldiers. This can be used to your advantage, strike when your enemy soldiers have just reached the point when they get hungry!

 

The battle system is the thing that many people see as a quite major flaw. Personally I don't have anything against it, but there are some problems. Like when you move your soldiers a longer distance, they won't stay in formation. Also soldiers are somewhat hard to control, as each soldier belongs to a troop, and you can only choose one troop at a time. If your soldier moves near an enemy unit it attacks without you commanding it to do so, and you can't stop it from attacking once it has started. One last thing is that if your soldiers get hungry whilst in the enemy base, your serfs will have a long way walking to the soldiers. Some units also have a charge command that makes the units charge at the enemy. There are some problems with it, as your soldiers charge in the direction that they are currently facing so sometimes they charge in the wrong direction.

 

However there are also things that work good. For example, the weaknesses and strengths of units are really well balanced. If a pikeman troop is attacking, knights should not by any means be used, as the attack bonus pikemen have against knights is deadly. Archers are almost a necessary backup for your army, as they are really strong against almost any unit. The weak point of archers are that they die of only a few hits.

 

The sound and music effects in this game are high quality. When you click on a unit, it will greet you, and if you task a soldier somewhere they'll respond. This game also has a CD-Player that normally has about 20 different tracks of quite nice music. Even though it's called CD-Player you can't really play CDs with it as you must have the game CD in the drive.

 

The AI is not really that intelligent and exploiting this to do different kinds of ambushes is quite easy. If you have a single archer shoot on your enemy soldiers, the computer orders a troop to attack you. If you then take the archer to safety behind your army and the enemy soldiers are killed, they'll start sending their whole army on you. Defending is always easier than attacking so you'll most likely win if their army isn't about five times bigger than yours. The computer also has their storehouse packed with food and other items so that they won't run out of food, which gives them a certain type of advantage.

 

Overall, I recommend you to give this game a go. Of course I really like this game so you can't really decide based on this, but whatever you do, it is not a bad idea to give the demo version of the game a shot.

 

 

Summary

 

Graphics

9.5

The graphics in this game are absolutely stunning! They look so alive and all the little animations in the game make them look even better! Other games really have some challenge here.

 

Sound & Music

9.0

The music is another thing that's really nice. It fits perfectly with the medieval theme and you can listen to the music hours and hours without growing tired of it.

 

Gameplay

8.0

Playing the game is really a lot of fun. Building your town and creating your army can really be a nice experience. The battle system could use some tweaks, but it works nevertheless.

 

Value

8.0

20 missions, and that's it. Sounds like a lot? Yeah, you're right. But once you've beaten all of them, the only option left is to start over as no random map mode or official scenario editor is available.

 

Overall

9.0

 

 


 

 

More Information

 

MobyGames
Wikipedia Article

 

 


 

 

Purchase

 

CDAccess.com
eBay.com
Amazon.com