Orcs Vs Everything: Crasleen – Drums Of War Demo

By Adam Smith on February 19th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

I used 'kicking k' instead of 'curly c' in the filename and couldn't be bothered fixing it

Crasleen is a city and its walls are besieged by orcs and necromancers, who are (probably) blasting out a sixty five minute Phil Collins drum solo while they prepare their plan of attack. The slightly ponderous translated text, including the in-game manual, doesn’t bode particularly well, but this is a turn-based tactical game of small-scale combat. That is to say, it’s my type, no matter how rough some of the detail might be. I spent an hour with the demo this morning and, once you get to know what Crasleen is really all about, it’s quite the charmer, even if it does occasionally say the most inappropriate things: “…there is an account side where to deliver a blow…” There sure is, Crasleen, there sure is.

What Crasleen is trying to communicate is the notion of flanking and attacks from the rear. It will, it wishes to assure you, take account of such things when blows are delivered because it takes its commitment to tactics seriously.

The first mission in the demo, on the orc side, isn’t the best of introductions. The player has control of one character, the orc hero who must be protected throughout the campaign, and two other friendly units fight and die under AI control. The best thing that can be said is that it’s a basic opening, allowing the player to grapple with the controls, but the controls are simple enough. Left click to select or to act and right click to bring up more information.

Mission two is much more entertaining. Along with the Orc Lord, control now extends to a few necromancers, vampires and death knights. Those are the kind of fellows that allow for all kinds of triumphant tactical tinkering. Necronamcers can raise fallen enemies, freeze people and water alike, and blast lightning bolts out of their fingertips. I assume they use the time-honoured tip-technique anyway – for all I know they might be firing them out of their every orifice. The birds-eye view leaves much to the imagination.

That view does provide a sensible view of the battlefield and even though the graphics won’t convince your console-kissing friends that your PC actually is the most powerful gaming machine on the planet, they are clear and uncluttered for the most part. Along with the artifacts and potions that can be equipped between battle, units have their own special abilities, which occasionally combine with elements of the battlefield. A knight can charge, pushing units back into fire or water, necromancers can create alternate routes by freezing rivers (the ice eventually breaking) and siege machinery can be claimed and turned against the enemy.

If you’re willing to put up with the gently fumbled translation and don’t mind hanging out with a gaggle of greenskins for the umpteenth time, Crasleen’s demo is certainly worth the small download and quick playtime, with only four missions available. I’ve even replayed the first three a couple of times. The full game is due Q1 2013, so there shouldn’t be too long to wait if your interest is truly piqued.

Here’s a direct download for the demo.

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23 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    But I’m reliably informed that Orcs Must Die.

    • tobecooper says:

      When my spies told me Of Orc and Men, I laughed at them, and had them flogged.
      All in all, I believe it was a good decision.

  2. Discopanda says:

    I quite like that word “necronamcer.”

    • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      He speaks the names of the dead.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Necronomer.

      • Adam Smith says:

        Chapter four of Skeletor’s autobiography: Necronominative Determinism And Me.

        • Low Life says:

          I really don’t like that guy Skeletor, he keeps pushing his necronormative ideologies down other people’s throats.

          • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            Your kind of discrimination is unwelcome here, sir! What a necromancer does with a consenting corpse is none of our business!

        • Premium User Badge Rhygadon says:

          Aha, I detect a fellow New Scientist reader!

          Nicely turned end to the necromancer paragraph, by the way.

      • zbmott says:

        Necroboner.

      • Geen says:

        I have a degree in necrocomiconcomiceconomics: the economy of the Comic-con comedians of the dead.

  3. CKScientist says:

    It looks a lot like Battle for Wesnoth.

    • prinzipi0 says:

      exactly… but its russian

      (maybe some wolf riding putins in it)

    • Tukuturi says:

      I was going to say the same thing.

      Wesnoth was a lot of fun, and it helped me graduate to playing Warmachine on a tabletop with meat-people. I may have to check this out.

      • InternetBatman says:

        It might be nice playing wesnoth on a smart table against other people. I too like it a lot. It has its flaws, but what game doesn’t?

    • Premium User Badge psepho says:

      I got a Wesnoth vibe too. Far and away the best strategy I have played on iPhone.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I love that game. It has a similar X(-)Com-ness to it in that you tend to get attached to units, and of course the dice rolling. “90% Chance to hit, how the hell did you miss!!?!?”

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Indeed to the point where I wonder why I would play this when I could just play Wesnoth. But then again, I put in hundreds and hundreds of hours on Wesnoth back in the day and made a lot of the multiplayer maps.

  4. Jorum says:

    linky to download of the file product no work

  5. Tukuturi says:

    Does anyone want to come over and play Master of Monsters on my Sega Genesis?

  6. Peter Milley says:

    So how’s the AI?

  7. Rawrian says:

    Do orcs speak with Russian accent?