There's more backstory than the standard 'explore a dungeon and kill the sorcerer' plot of most RPGs. You live in a world where Orcs, Elves, Humans and Dwarves are in a constant war with each other. However, there is a legend that if the crowns of each race could be bought to the Tower of the Watcher, then the war will end.
|Sometimes you get a helpful message in the bar below the
screen. Sometimes you don't.
At the beginning of the game, you choose a character from one of the four races and you also choose a profession from warrior, mage, thief and merchant.
|You can organise your soldiers into a file in order to
get them across bridges and retreat faster.
An innovative aspect of Battlemaster's gameplay is your ability to hire and command a squad of underlings. You can give them formations and orders to suit the combat situation that you are in. It takes a lot of practice since it is a real time game and you cannot pause it and give actions in advance like in Neverwinter Nights.
The levels that you fight through and the options available to you gave me lots to think about in terms of gameplay and strategy. Each level had something different in terms of monsters or how to solve a particular problem. It provided me with a lot of entertainment.
|You can read another
review of Battlemaster
However, massive kudos to the Watcher for propagating a lying legend that if he got all of the crowns then he would solve the world's problems. This means that he has tricked lots of others to do all of his dirty work and then bring him the crowns. That shows real long term thinking and he would get a good mark for diabolical genius.
|The orc could have hired soldiers so he
wouldn't have got into a situation like this.
There is one bug in the game which you can exploit. If you are not hostile towards other races, you are giving the option of parleying with them. This allows you to sell your items and buy any items that you could find on the level, including the crowns of each race. And they don't even cost all that much. So you can complete the game quite quickly with very little bloodshed.
Battlemaster showed me that you can take games further - just because certain aspects are repeated in games does not mean that they are essential. You don't need a completely happy ending (such as in Heart of Ice) or do the game solo or fight a lot (although I think the ability to purchase the crowns is more of a bug).