There are many games I can contribute to my obsession of strategy games in adulthood. Age of Empire, Warcraft, Empire Earth, and yes, even you Starcraft. However, there’s one amazing real time strategy game that everyone has forgotten. A little hidden gem that rests in the halls of video game history. I’m talking about Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
Traditionally, Total Annihilation was a science fiction series set in a futuristic world. The idea to flip the series and set it in a high fantasy world was absolutely brilliant. People loved it! They developed a better story, cut down on the micro management, and gave us heroes with completely opposite personalities. The game was well balanced, giving all factions an equal chance of victory, and all unit models were so unique for the different kingdoms.
Man, this game was something else. It was similar to Warcraft more than anything else. The gamepay revolved around these lodestones that could be harvested to fuel your hero’s mana which was used as a currency to build buildings. The hero unit was the most important unit you had. More so in this game than any other. They had the sole ability to construct building to produce units, build watch towers, use spells, and summon the game’s strongest units. A Dragon!
The game featured four factions for players to choose from. Aramon led by the Mage King Elsin, Taros led by the necromancer Lokken, Veruna led by the sea Mage Kirenna, and Zhon led by the beast master Thirsha. Each kingdom was so wildly different, and led to such different strategies players could use. For example, Kirenna was the only monarch that could travel on water. It made it a nightmare to chase her down in skirmish mode. I would have to wait until I got Air units to track her down. Thirsha was also incredibly unique. The only building she could produce was the lodestone, she had to individually summon each unit in her army. This led to a lot of micro managing, but her units were all power houses.
Strategy obviously depended upon your kingdom, but most of the time it stayed true to the age old philosophy of RTS games. Build your base, secure resources, build defenses, and raise a massive army to wipe your opponent clean. It’s a formula that always works, and never gets old.
If there was ever a games that needed a remake this is the one. There simply hasn’t been anything like it since it’s launch, and that’s an honest shame. Hopefully in the future we’ll see these old strategy games make a come back. With the great Kalypso Media our there buying up old properties, maybe I’ll get my wish one day. Until then, Total Annihilation: Kingdoms will forever be enshrined in the halls of my childhood memories.
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