Heroes of Might and Magic Quest for the Bone Staff
Game Info
Playstation 2
ESRB Rating
Animated Violence
The Good

• Character and monster design fairly decent
• Battles easy to pick up

The Bad

• Loading times for button actions
• Battles are mostly slugfests
• Story? What story?
• Rest of graphics are underdeveloped


For those who don't know, HOMM:QFTBS is a spiritual remake of the Sega Genesis game, Kings Bounty. In this version for the PS2, you are commissioned by the Queen to find the Bone Staff before the king dies (or something like that). In your search, you must recruit troops, fight villains, siege castles, and even rent a boat to get from one place to another. While gamers can play as one of four character types (knight, paladin, barbarian, sorceress), each with their own attributes, all of you time will be spent fighting with the troops you recruit.

The one thing that HOMM:QFTBS does have going for it is the fact that the character and monster designs and animations are fairly good. Most of the rest of the graphics are fairly dated, and would have only been acceptable on the PSOne a few years ago. The animations, while decently done, can get a bit repetitious after a while. Since most of the character classes only have one or two types of attack, their attack animations get monotonous quickly.

Much like the character animations, the sound effects get old and overused quickly. Unless you change out the type of armies under your leadership often, you'll be hearing the same sound-effects over and over again. Also, the music is uninteresting, at best. After and hour into the game, you'll be turning the volume down and putting on a CD of your own.

HOMM:QFTBS starts off with a good idea - recruit up to five different armies (consisting of anything from peasants to knights to vampires) and attack other groups of creatures. On the 5X5 grid, you take turns moving your teams about and hacking it out until one group falls. Each team is represented by one character, symbolizing the total HP and attacking ability of that group. Therefore, it is possible for a group of 100 peasants to kill 4 Dwarves. Possible, just not pretty. The real crutch is that the most of this game just consists of building up enough people to overwhelm the enemy. Since there are so few actions that you armies can do, most battles just turn into slugfests. There are some strategic aspects in the game, but just not enough to make the player change tactics halfway through.

Another sore spot is the overabundance of loading. When the game starts, you're trotting around on a pretty large world map going from one place to another. But, if you want to enter a town or settlement, expect a couple seconds of loading. While this itself is not totally bad, when the player wants to see the map by hitting the R1 button, or to see his character's stats by hitting L1, expect a few seconds while those respective screens come up. Unless you're just standing around, letting time pass you by, expect to have to load.

HOMM:QFTBS is not a horrible game. It did escape the horrid F grade that was looming over it's head. The character designs and animations can only take it so far. Without any decent story to carry this game along, it just becomes monotonous after a while. If you're up for something "strategy-lite", then at least rent this. It isn't worth $50 on any given day.

- - Vane

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