Definitely one of the best fantasy games ever made, Fantasy Empires is an incredibly addictive fantasy strategy game that combines real-time tactical combat, numerous strategic options, and brilliant graphics and sound effects into an unforgettable gaming experience.
Set in the D&D world of Mystara, Fantasy Empires is similar to SSG's Warlords and SSI's earlier Sword of Aragon. Combat is, however, real-time; although the arcade portions will be fairly acceptable to most wargamers who dislike frenetic action games. You begin by creating your character, as well as up to 4 opponents. Gameplay is split between the strategic map, where you can cast spells, select diplomacy actions, build several structures to train different unit types (similar to Master of Magic), and the close-up tactical view screen where you can see and control your armies in battle. You can also use spys to wreck havoc on your enemies. One of the best features of the game is the "Dungeon Master" -- a computer-controlled wizard who will give you advice and general remarks during the game, in a surprisingly well-done digitalized voice. As in RPGs, your characters and units grow in experience as you progress through the campaign, earning you access to more powerful spells and buildings.
Overall, Fantasy Empires is simply a must-play for all fantasy wargamers. My only gripe is that because you must conquer EVERY territory to win the game, later stages can become a long, boring waiting game of attrition. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs