By Team Digit | Published on 01 Jun 2007

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Putting the "evil" back in, well, "really evil"

It's easy to see why Dark Lords don't like heroes too much. Apart from the goody-two-shoes attitude, their penchant for destroying your favourite Dark Tower can get quite irksome,we'd imagine.

Overlord starts with your resurrection into a now ruined Tower, complete with broken throne and stolen Source of Power. Now you must exact your vengeance upon the seven heroes that did this to you and re-establish the Dark Kingdom they were kind enough to dismantle. The background isn't special, but like all good stories, it's the delivery that counts. Overlord doesn't take itself too seriously, and throws away the larger than life style of other fantasy games, preferring a cheeky nod to all the fantasy fiction we've read thus far. The seven heroes, incidentally, have succumbed to the seven deadly sins-the gluttonous Halfling, the lazy elf, the Paladin who surrounds himself with harem women and so on.

Of course, no evil overlord must do his dirty work himself-such rubbish is for heroes. You must command your horde of minions to do your dirty work (viz. Looting, pillaging, sheep-killing, Halfling-pounding, general carnage, etc.) for you on your various quests, sub-quests and side-quests. They come in four varieties-the brown ones are the strongest and are adept at the pounding and thrashing bit, the red ones control fire, the blue ones can swim (the others die in water) and heal the rest of the gang, and smiting begins.

Controlling your minions is quite intuitive-use the mouse to point, click, and they'll be off, destroying everything in sight, and using what they can as armour, weapons or helmets. To follow complicated paths, guide them-tricky, but not too bad. On the consoles, or if you're using a game controller, you'll be doing this with the right analog stick-definitely less stressful.

We even encountered some graphical glitches-the Overlord model would vanish sometimes-but since this is preview code that will still take a month or two to go retail, we'll forgive it. Apart from the minion-moving issue, nothing else about the game's control system hampers enjoyment, and that's a good thing.

And there's plenty of enjoyment to be had. Just walking the vast, beautiful environments watching your minions turn them into wastelands has evil grin written all over it. You can establish your dominion by being evil ("So he kills our sheep, but at least he give us food", the villagers will say), or by being really evil ("My, he's really evil", they'll say).

Overlord looks awesome, is fun to play and is full of attitude. It quite obviously takes a poke at The Lord of the Rings-the Overlord looks much like Sauron, the minions are somewhere between Gollum and the orcs, and the Halflings are just evil Hobbits. Other references to LOTR culture are peppered throughout the game as well. Overall, this promises to be a very refreshing game and is a must-have for any adventure game junkie with questionable morals.

Rating : 8/10
Developer : Triumph Studios
Publisher : Codemasters
Distributor : E-Xpress Interactive
E-mail : sales@e-xpresindia.com

Team Digit

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