What is best in life? This is a question that has plagued philosophers and scholars for countless centuries, until a very wise man gave the perfect answer. What’s best in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women. These eloquent words reached Vile Monarch and this quote inspired them to create the RTS game Crush Your Enemies. This is an RTS that is made for people who want fast paced action. Today’s modern barbarian is extremely busy and simply does not have time for complicated menus that force manages building materials. Nor will there be any spending twenty minutes inputting complex commands to the various combat units. This cuts out some of the tedious aspects of battle strategy, allowing the player to cut straight to the pillaging and savage mayhem.
This is not to say this game lacks a strategic component. On the contrary, decisions made with how the units are directed has everything to do with victory. Bad decisions made early on in battle will result in being at a disadvantage that will be near impossible to turn around. Crush Your Enemies just has the strategy streamlined so well that an RTS experience is delivered at a pace more comparable to an action game. Other RTS games may drag out a single battle for well over an hour. In the land of Generia, fifteen minutes is considered a lengthy skirmish.
It has been said before it is not the length of a skirmish that matters but how it is used, and this statement applies here. These short battles are meant to capture the essence of a horde of barbarians invading enemy territory and, as the title suggests, crushing them. The basic simplicity of the game is actually deceiving at how deep the level of required strategy can reach. The controls are extremely simple, everything can be done with the mouse through clicking and dragging. Different units play different roles and knowing how to play to all of their strengths is crucial.
A partial explanation of these is peasants are essentially cannon fodder. In large numbers they can do some damage but a comparable sized mob of just about any other unit will slaughter them. The thing peasants are most useful for is holing them up in a shelter where they can bang like rabbits, er, I mean, recruit more people and send them to barracks to train them to be useful units. Generia has the fastest accelerated academic programs out of any school in existence. Whenever a unit enters the barracks they instantly become the new unit. Warriors are melee powerhouses and a group of them can cut peasants and archers to ribbons quickly, provided they can close the distance in the case of the latter. Archers work best if they can occupy a watchtower and rain death down anyone foolish enough to draw near, but throw them into a melee and even peasants can beat them to death.
The primary objective for the majority of the game is to crush all enemy units in the level. There is some variety to this formula. An early level named after a Jimi Hendrix song (ok, Bob Dylan but who doesn’t prefer the Hendrix version?) can be completed simply by surviving an enemy attack for three minutes. However, for completionists there is an optional third objective to crush your enemies, and with some patience and strategy this defensive battle can switch to an offensive invasion. As hinted at above, the levels are named after hard rock and heavy metal songs, which include artists such as Iron Maiden and Tyrant.
A great thing about this game is it does not take itself seriously. Humorous dialog occurs between battle, sometimes taking the form of the barbarian chieftain being disgusted with his son and his ineptitude when it comes to knowing what is best in life. Conquering breweries rewards the player with mugs of ale after each battle, because let’s be honest, if alcohol wasn’t fueling these barbarians they would be a rather boring, quiet bunch of chesthair farmers. The battles themselves are incredibly violent. The best way to describe the clash of opposing forces would be a brawl from an old Looney Toons cartoon that includes blood and dismemberment. Boss monsters are uniquely weird. One might expect to do battle against an ogre, or a dragon, or some more traditional fantasy monster. That would be too generic, even for a land called Generia. One of the more memorable boss battles is against (drumroll…… wait for it) a Giant Death Snail. Why is the boss a Giant Death Snail you may ask? A better question is why not a Giant Death Snail? How many other games include a face off against a headbutting Giant Death Snail? These barbarians will crush the snail’s shell and feast on jumbo escargot for weeks to come. Kudos must be given to developers for making credits worth watching. In addition to including a metal song, they give thank you to the world’s greatest actor, governor, and bodybuilder.
The single player portion of this game offers numerous hours of strategic mayhem. In addition, there is also the multiplayer mode where you can pit your barbaric strategy against a friend, where the winner can drink from the loser’s skull. Disclaimer: Hardcore Gamer does not suggest anyone drink from the skull of anyone that loses a competitive gaming match or assume any legal responsibility in the event said skull beverage event happens.
Crush Your Enemies is currently scheduled to crush its way onto Steam this summer. With simplified gameplay, deep strategy, fast action and a ridiculous sense of humor, Crush Your Enemies’ preview build shows great potential to satisfy the bloodlust of anyone who wants to experience a fast paced RTS.