Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Release: 3/21/00 (original) 3/21/12 (Gold HD)
I played hours upon hours upon hours of Majesty when it was first released. I liked strategy games, but I never really got my head around the military strategy aspects (still haven’t, actually), and Majesty allowed me to build stuff and give some vague orders and still succeed.
Every now and then, I take a big old detour down nostalgia highway, and when I discovered that the game had been updated to work on newer operating systems and given a little bit of a face-lift, I bought it to see how well it held up.
I remember having … issues … getting it to run on Windows 7, but it does just fine on Win 8 as long as you don’t try to increase the resolution. It plays with only minor graphical glitches at 800 X 600, but higher resolutions slow the whole thing to a crawl.
The Gold HD version available on Steam comes with the Northern Expansion pack, which gives you a fair amount of quests of varying difficulties, plus a free-play mode. Some of the more difficult quests require you to complete multiple other quests before they will unlock.
This game is quite different from most real-time strategy in that you have absolutely NO direct control over your units. You construct buildings for different kinds of units and recruit them, and then? They pretty much do as they please.
What you can do, however, is set bounty flags. Want to see what’s in a blacked out corner of the map? Double click into the darkness to set an exploration flag and decide how much it’s worth to you to get someone to wander over there. Want to kill off a troll or demolish a wolf den? Double click to set an attack flag, and offer up some gold to see if you can entice the heroes into doing your dirty work. If you change your mind, you can cancel your bounties, and if you need to offer more cash to get the job done, you can do that too.
The downside of not being able to control your heroes is this: they will make stupid decisions. They will die. They will get loaded in the tavern while a giant rat tears the shingles off the roof. But for me, at least, that’s part of the fun.
The story is not particularly deep, but it doesn’t really need to be. There’s some voice acting, and while I’m not sure I’d say it’s really good, it is really memorable. I can still parrot the dying words of an elf and my brother-in-law knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, the Steam release is for Windows only. Desura offers the Linux version, and Mac users might be able to track down a boxed copy on Amazon or EBay. Mobile versions are available from Hero Craft for multiple platforms for a couple of bucks.