BC Kings Review



Warcraft meets the Flintstones in this unique take on Real Time Strategy gaming.

Fortifications

I love Real Time Strategy games but think this genre of game should be renamed "Build and Kill". EVERYONE I know who plays these games ignore war strategy and win by building massive settlements that can create huge armies that crush their foes by numerical superiority.

BC Kings is a Build and Kill.. I mean Real Time Strategy game that's set in prehistoric time with features that include dinosaurs, bone armor and cave men. As with other games of this genre, you go on missions that require you to change resources into fighting units by creating buildings and developing technology. The ultimate goal is to destroy your enemies.

The game starts with a few easy tutorial levels that show you the basic game controls and introduce you to the two heroes. If you've played any RTS games, you'll find the controls very familiar. With each new level, you gain the ability to create new buildings that will produce new units and technologies.

Bonesmith
Bonesmith allows
new units and
technologies
The buildings follow a typical RTS pattern of houses for population, a main hall to produce workers, barracks for infantry, stables for cavalry units, religious temples, workshops and so on. BC Kings put a "cave man" feel on this by making the cavalry units "dino riders", the workshop a "bonesmith" and having catapults are hauled around by dinosaurs. Buildings can be used to either create new units or to upgrade your technology. Technology upgrades mean better weapons and armor as well as the ability to create new units.

Defensive structures can also be built. Walls with gates can create an enclosed fort to keep your enemies at bay while watch towers expand your view of an area and attack any enemies in the area. The gates of your fort automatically open when one of your units goes near it allowing them to enter or leave without your direct interventions. This can cause trouble if you place your infantry or cavalry units too close to the gate since they will charge out to engage any enemies that attack and let them in your fort. It really defeats the whole purpose of building a fort in the first place so keep your infantry and cavalry away from the gate.

Bone Mine
"Bone Mine"
Send workers here
to collect bone
Gone Fishing
Workers fish
to get food.
You'll find your building programs quickly grinding to a halt if you don't provide a constant supply of resources. In keeping with the prehistoric nature of the game, your main resources are Stone, Wood, Food and Bone. To collect any of these resources, send a worker over to a source of needed material and click on it. The workers will collect the resource and return them to the Keep until you give them another task or the resource runs out. You can build a camp next to the resource and gathered items will be delivered there instead of at the keep. Since your workers won't have to walk all the way to the keep, they will not be as exposed to enemy attack and collect resources quicker.

Most of the resources are obvious. Sending your workers to trees, animal skeletons or piles of stone will collect the appropriate resource. Food is a little more variable since you can get food from berry bushes or from fishing.

Workers can also find food by killing a mammoth. A single worker will lose a battle with a mammoth so take several when hunting.

Kill the mammoth Start the harvest Group Effort Picked Clean
After the mammoth is down, you can harvest the meat in the same way other resources are harvested. After all the meat is gathered, only the bones remain which can also be harvested.

Mammoths can also be used to create extremely powerful military units. Select a spearman and have him catch the mammoth to create the Mammoth Rider. You'll have to balance your need for food with your military needs.

The military strategy is similar to other RTS games. You must create a good mix of cavalry, infantry and ranged units to do well in battle. You can assign hot keys to groups of units to make control of them easier but once a large battle begins, complicated battle plans become difficult to perform. It's best to stay with the basic battle rules; protect your ranged or shooting units with infantry, keep your hero alive, and have a bigger army than he does. You can set how aggressive you want your troops to be but they have an annoying habit of wandering off to attack the enemy when you want them to stay in a certain place.

Mammoth v Mutant
A Mammoth Rider
attacks a Mutant Spider
You're first enemies in the tutorial levels are the "Boneheads" which are another caveman tribe. After you've learned the basics of the game, you meet your main enemies which are the mutants. Mutants?? I found that a little strange but at least it's easy to tell your guys from his.

Mutant Pod goes up in flames
A Mutant Pod goes
up in flames!
As you can guess, the mutant army consists of many strange creatures that get their resources from acid mines. My favorite is the giant spider with the human skull! Since you never get to play the mutants, you don't know the full extent of their military units. Their fortifications look different from yours but act in the same way; watchtowers shoot at you and walls keep you out. Buildings on both sides catch fire to show damage and can be fixed by workers. If the damage is too severe, the building is destroyed.

In many of the quests, you'll reveal secret doors that you must go through to win the level. Some are merely passages to different part of the same map while other reveal entire new maps with even more secret doors. Action only occurs on the map that you're presently playing on so you don't have to worry about leaving one map and coming back to find that your troops were slaughtered in your absence.

If all this weren't enough, BC Kings also offers multi player games over local area networks. Players are limited to being human.

Victorious

BC Kings has certainly not redefined the real time strategy genre but has created an excellent example of it. A variety of military units along with really bizarre enemies make for lively and engaging combat. New units and technologies on both sides require constant adjustments in combat technique and help to keep the game interesting. For real time strategy fans, BC Kings is a must!


This is how I rate BC Kings:

Cost - REALLY cheap for a game this size!

Available Platforms - PC Only.

Gameplay - Challenging and captivating!! If you like Build and Kill games, you'll love this.

Graphics - Could be better but certainly adequate. My main complaint is the night games are too dark.

Originality - A great copy is much better than a lousy original. In the case of BC Kings, you'll find that units, buildings, and technology look different but act the same as with other RTS games. You'll quickly forget that issue once you experience the great game play. If you love this genre of games, the lack of originality won't be a problem.

Strong points - Great RTS action.

Weak Points - No really ground breaking features and the night scenarios were a bit too dark.

Boredom/Frustration Ratio: 1/1 - The great gameplay of BC Kings produces a near perfect balance that makes victory difficult but never impossible.

Overall rating - 10

Conclusion: BC Kings is a great game that fans of Real Time Strategy games will love. Great gameplay with challenging missions will deliver a huge amount of gaming enjoyment at a very low cost.

Download BC Kings from The Shareware Genie and try it for one hour free. The price has been reduced to $9.99.