Overlord: Raising HellPublisher: Codemasters
Platform: Playstation 3
UK Price (as reviewed): £39.99 (inc. Delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $59.99 (inc. Delivery)
We've written in the past about how hype can damage a game's reception and about that creeping fear of dread when an over-hyped game
lands on your desk for review.
The problem is that most games these days are surrounded by some level of hype, however small, and it's becoming more and more difficult to sort out the decent games from the not so decent games. It's not even possible to assume that a game will be good because it's written by a particular developer, since most have a bastard son of a game that they'd rather keep hidden in the basement.
Imagine my surprise, then, when a game turned up on my desk that I'd heard very little about. Overlord
was released in 2007 for the PC and Xbox 360 to reasonable acclaim but despite this appeared to be a game that hovered outside most peoples' game-dars. Even with the addition of extra content in the form of the Raising Hell
add-on, the game still remained a sleeper hit.
So, a year after the original releases, Codemasters and developers Triumph Studios have released a PS3 version, with the Raising Hell
content included on one disc. All that's left to do is find out whether the game is "bad" in the good sense...or "bad" in the bad sense…
Be Evil...Or Really Evil
You play the part of an evil overlord, resurrected by your goblin-like minions to rebuild your tower, recapture your evil domain and generally do mischief to those pesky heroes who keep trying to ruin your evil plans. Think Dungeon Keeper
, but prettier.
You are ably assisted by your horde of minions, who are more than willing to obey your every order, regardless of how despotic it is. Your minion master, Gnarl, also gives help and advice from behind the scenes, where it's nice and safe. Coward.
There are several different lands for you to conquer over the course of the gamee, each with their own standard indigenous fantasy races, including humans, hobbits, elves and dwarves.
Where the extra content from the Raising Hell
missions comes in is mainly in the form of an added-on Abyss to each land that needs conquering too. These abyssal areas are different from most other areas and are filled with more evil and dastardly monsters - but conquering worlds and demonic planes is all in a day's work for any self-respecting evil overlord.
As well as controlling the Overlord, you also get to control your minions in Overlord: Raising Hell
. Normally, they'll just trail along behind you like good little minions, but you can also take control of them by using the right stick.
Taking control of minions allows you to send them to areas that the overlord can't reach to destroy obstacles, attack enemies or just plain old loot and pillage. If they find anything of interest while pooting and lillaging, the minions will use it to upgrade their armour or bring back any gold to you with cries of "for the overlord".
Amusingly, they'll use virtually anything they can find as armour, so it's not unusual to see your minions running around wearing skulls, chef's hats or pumpkins as helmets.