Once Upon a Knight

Review

posted 11/5/2003 by Randy Kalista
other articles by Randy Kalista
One Page Platforms: PC
Most of the envelope pushing comes from a milk-based economy. Whereas timber and gold may propel your adventures through Warcraft, liters of milk does it in OUAK. It is the only resource that gives the woodbutchers (your builders) the strength to construct those misshapen buildings. Milk also pays for many other things like building upgrades, knights, archers, and even more cows. A wizard’s tower may cost a whopping 400 liters of milk to make (however much a liter is—sorry, I’m American), there is no numeric indicator on your HUD telling you how much milk you currently produce. You’re simply left with a ‘barrel of milk’ graphic on the right-hand side of your screen that will invite your best guesses on the percentage you’ve used up. (Whoops; only have a quarter of a barrel left. Guess I’ll have to wait on that addition to the outhouse I was hoping on.) Milk must spoil quickly in game land as well, so you’re unable to stockpile this singular resource. That makes for some gruesomely slow construction times.

Your cast of characters range from a charming young lad known as a Cowherd (which should be cowherder), archers, woodbutchers, warriors, spearmen, knights, priests and priestesses, and wizards. A pretty run-of-the-mill lineup. But—oh, get this—you have a Mother-in-Law unit to conduct saboteur missions, and the flying unit in the game is a witch. I’m talking Wicked Witch of the West here. And the mother-in-law is armed with a rolling pin that apparently gets your woodbutchers working double-time. Ah. The sidesplitting humor is just too rich. Round up the usual suspects for enemies: skeletons, minotaurs, werebears, werewolves, and giants; enter Valtamond, the nerdy wizard that kidnapped Prince John in the first place; then add wolves and bears for enough bloody hack-n-slash to send P.E.T.A. in an uproar (the first chapter of the game should have been titled “Bad Shakespeare Versus the Unlimited Number of Wolves”.)

Rewind a little. The RPG side begins the moment the prince was banished and the evil lord Valtamand took control. “Knowing that only bad things lay ahead for the kingdom and its people, Gallus began to search all of the weird, wonderful, magical places and torturous voids to bring the prince back to where he truly belonged. His efforts did not go unnoticed. The dark forces responsible for the prince’s disappearance learned what [the] magician priest was up to and quickly put an end to his dealings by making him disappear as speedily as they had the prince. Witnesses to this deed protested loudly, calling for all true heroes and valiant warriors to find and rescue the magician. After all, he was a man known as a friend to the royal family, and the guardian of the faith, for hundreds of years. Only eight potential rescuers were found. All were entrusted with the task of finding and setting Gallus free.”

Here, your RPG hero selection lets you choose from the knight, barbarian, Amazon sorceress, spearman, sorcerer, archer, and priestess. Personalizing your character is limited to giving them a name and choosing the color of their loincloth. As you level up, you’ll be able to apply percentage and skill point bonuses to a handful of abilities.
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