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One of few action games that offer an excellent mix of action and strategic elements, The Horde casts you in the role of Chauncey, a lowly serving boy who became a knight after saving the king's life from asphyxiation. In the strategic phase at the start of each mission, you must develop your fiefdom by building houses, farms, etc, within time limit. The second phase is when you get to whack the Horde monsters and snicker as they fall into your traps.
What makes The Horde different from -- and superior to-- most other action games is the excellent blend of strategy and action. Success in the game requires that you plan ahead, as the number of houses, farms, and other structures in your fiefdom continue and grow from mission to mission. You must help your village grow (which requires money), while balancing the costs of defending it and paying taxes. You don't get much time to prepare for the next horde invasion, so quick thinking is also necessary. Simply putting up fences around your village isn't going to cut it, as the horde monsters are not as dumb as they look.
Game graphics are excellent for the era (although many people will have trouble running the game on new 3D cards). Nice landscapes will take you from desert, to swamp, to arctic land. The character, enemies, and effects are well done, and the cinematic cutscenes are splendid. The control is where the game falters a bit: it's clumsy, and sometimes confusing in a game where you can't afford such time wasters. But overall, The Horde is a fun, addictive underrated gem. Zany humor and many hidden surprises round off one of the best action old games ever. Highly recommended!
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Horde, The screenshot
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Out of This World (a.k.a. Another World), Gauntlet, Gauntlet 2, Mechwarrior, EVO: Search for Eden