Stronghold Crusader Extreme Review
Stronghold Crusader Extreme box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Firefly Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: GameCock 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 3, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

There are plenty of different resources such as metals, wood, and food which can be turned into a variety of items. In order to turn the raw materials into processed items, you will have to create some "value-added" industries. For instance, a mill will turn the harvested wheat into flour. A bakery will then turn the flour into bread, and so on.

Stronghold Crusader Extreme screenshot

As with all economic sims, balance is the key. Materials used to expand your empire must also be used to protect it. Weapons such as swords, spears, and crossbows can be made from woods and metals. You will start out with an army of peasants and eventually graduate to controlling 10,000 professionally trained and outfitted units. That's ten times more than the original version. It's a lot of units to control, and they look terrible onscreen. What you can expect is a lot more mouse action, as you send commands to the various units when engaged in warfare. There is no shortage of combat in this game, whether you are under siege or aggressively attacking a rival's castle; there is a lot to keep track of. Not only do you have to manage your stronghold (castle) and the surrounding villages, but outposts have been added to the mix. They hold various units in strategic locations throughout your kingdom.

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To help simplify things in battle, there is an onscreen strategy meter that will assist you with some special attacks. The meter fills during play, and you can choose to use a little or a lot of it depending on the situation you're in. Using only a fraction of it will release an arrow assault on your opponent. The more juice you use, the more destruction, or the more help you will get, such as reinforcements. You won't unleash a screen-clearing nuclear explosion, so in that regard, it's not totally unrealistic. It's more like being assisted by other high-powered generals and their units.

Not only is Stronghold Crusader Extreme dated in terms of graphics and sound, but the interface is also slow and cumbersome. Fortunately, the game does load fast, and there is plenty of action during battles. Still, this is not an easy game to wrap your head around. The original title is very popular and still continues to sell, but it's a game that clearly had its day. The addition of the "Extreme" elements is not going to win over many new fans. And it's doubtful it will appease those looking to rekindle their romance with the original. Sometimes even a facelift can't help some games grow old gracefully.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.2
Graphics
Ugly, pixelated, dated graphics have not been updated from original.
2.3
Control
Clunky, ancient interface makes micromanagement more of a chore than need be.
2.1
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Very little voiceover work. Mostly text-based communication. Music is lightweight.
3.3
Play Value
The original game is good, but the Extreme version is unnecessarily difficult.
2.2
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Stronghold Crusader Extreme's gameplay is a seamless combination of city building and real-time strategy.
  • Put yourself in the armor of a fearless warlord during the Crusades and as sovereign of your own people, your goal is to "Lead, Conquer, and Expand".
  • Defend your kingdom against invading forces with new tactical powers like commanding reinforcements, bombardments, and healing.
  • New maps also allow for brand-new, more ambitious conquests.


  • Screenshots / Images
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