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It is a time of war. The clangs of swords ring loudly in the air, the crackle of magic echoes in the distance and hideous cries of foul creatures haunt the dreams of even the bravest of warriors. Yet for those willing to become mercenaries, it is a profitable time indeed.
Your name is Morgan Bernhardt, leader of the Grudgebringer cavalry and mercenary for hire. Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat is a real-time strategy game that has you commanding hired troops in a series of increasingly challenging battles — over forty in all.
The game is played from a bird's eye view of varied 3D terrain as you issue orders through an icon-driven interface. Your goals are to become rich from your exploits and add to the notoriety of your army by battling evil on behalf of wealthy nobles.
Practice the control scheme on lifeless targets within the Training Ground or go straight to the Campaign, where your initial mission is to protect the town of Schnappleburg from enemy forces. After completing this mission, a number of choices will be available to you.
You'll be able to add more regiments to your army, pick from a list of subsequent missions and decide which regiments to bring into the next battle, keeping in mind that each regiment costs a certain amount of gold to support it. After all, your men aren't risking their necks for free!
Battles consist of two phases: deployment and real-time fighting. Deployment allows you to position your regiments within an area designated by white flags. This involves turning them to face certain enemies, issuing orders to attack, move (including setting waypoints and patrol loops) or simply hold ground.
Combat involves charging the enemy, using magical spells (if available) or firing long-range weapons, such as arrows or catapults. Of course, line of sight and terrain will influence how successful your attacks are, and the emotion level (fear, hatred or frenzy) as well as the experience of your troops will also play a significant role. Each battlefield can also hold various magic items that may help in future battles.
In total, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat offers over 25 different troop types, 20 spells and nine characteristics for each regiment: movement, weapon skill, ballistic skill, strength, toughness, wounds, initiative, attack and leadership ability. In order to save campaign progress, players must have a memory card with at least one block free. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide