Legion Arena: Cult of Mithras
Using a simple point and click interface, the basic game lets you play as a Roman or a Gaul. Start with a tiny army and slowly build up your force, earning cash for every battle won, which you invest in new troops and equipment. Your soldiers will gain experience, new talents, and better equipment, until you find yourself fielding huge detachments of troops against increasingly tough foes.
Strategic play is boosted by the impact differing terrain can have on your units: light infantry fight best in forests, while heavy units suffer in the woods; horse are great on open ground, but hampered in bogs; and archers fire at longer distances from hill tops. Morale matters too – your forces will flee if they take too much damage too quickly. Planning is essential, because as the game progresses you need to put more thought into strategy and tactics.
The expansion pack provides new battles, fresh challenges, and the toughest enemy yet: the dead. The plot is a little fragile, but the sheer power of the forces you face means you’ll need to exploit every tiny terrain advantage when fielding your forces – one wrong move and you’re finished. It’s challenging and frustrating in equal measure – your enemy really is a tough nut to crack – but you’ll get a real kick when you finally get through a scenario.
Graphics are fairly limited, reminiscent of Myth II: Soulblighter, certainly no match for a games console. Sound effects are good – crashing hooves, screams of pain, swords and drums help put you in the picture. Multi-player games are supported through Freeverse’s GameSmith service, but Legion players are seldom found there, so it was impossible to test.
It has a few faults, but Legion Arena is an excellent and addictive single-person strategy game. The Cult of Mithras expansion pack introduces new levels of challenge and strategy, which should please fans of the original title, and at just $14.95 (though you also need a copy of the original game), it’s not going to break the bank.