CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on July 28, 2016
What did you want to be when you were a kid? An astronaut? A fireman? A doctor? Well, I suppose every kid’s gotta have a dream. After seeing Conan the Barbarian, mine was to crush my enemies, see them driven before me and hear the lamentation of the women. Hey, I never said I was a normal kid! And now, after years and years of waiting, two of those three wishes have come true! It is time to unleash my inner Barbarian and see my enemies being driven before me. And although I don’t hear the lamentation of the women just yet, it is still time for Crush your Enemies!
Created by Polish developers Vile Monarch and published by Gambitious Digital Entertainment, Crush your Enemies is an old-school Real-time strategy game with a few twists and a cartload of humor and puts the player into the blood-stained ox-skin boots of Brog, barbarian chieftain extraordinaire. Brog and his barbarian horde are roaming the land of Generia, doing what they do best: pillaging, burning and killing. Of course, the people of Generia will not take this lying down, so they decide to put up a fight. Or at least, the Generian forces are. In-between battles, you are being addressed by their leader, the less than awe-inspiring Prissy LeFop or, as Brog calls him, Prissy LePoop. Mister LeFop doesn’t seem to worry in the slightest about a murderous horde of barbarians roaming across his lands. Time to show him that he’s wrong, right lads?! WRAAAAAAAH!
As the game starts, We’ll see Brog in conversation with Prissy LeFop, which ultimately leads to your first battle (because, as we all know, negotiations were never a barbarian strong point). The game field is divided up into a number of squares. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some turn-based waiting game! No sir, it’s an all-out blood-frenzied game of war. Attacking your enemy is a simple matter of clicking on your own troops, then clicking on your enemy’s troops, and lastly, deciding how many of your men to send into the fray at once. Of course, being a Barbarian, you might seem to think that going all-in is always better. But a bit later on, the game will prove you wrong! All of a sudden, you will come across a level where the enemy’s forces are all gathered around a small hut. As long as they’re on the same square as the hut, they keep multiplying or, in the eloquent words of our Barbarian friend, “banging like rabbits.”
This is where the game incorporates a sense of tactics to its gameplay. Pretty soon, you’ll have a hut of your own and can make your forces swell to your heart’s content. But there’s a catch; you can’t have more than 50 people in any given group, so you should divide your forces cleverly to achieve maximum numbers. As I’ve said earlier, a regular playing field is divided into multiple squares. Each square has its own texture and color, depending on its state. Orange means that that square is yours; if the enemy wishes to cross it, they’ll first have to change it to their own color. Green means that this square is in the hands of your enemies, so you’ll have to turn it orange if you want to cross it. A grey square is in nobody’s hands and (if changed to the right color) can be used by both sides to slow the enemy’s march. There are other squares that do different things. For instance, a square filled with rocks forms an impenetrable wall, while a purple colored swamp square will considerably slow your progress.
The game becomes increasingly more challenging as more other troops come into play. As you start your campaign, you’ll have little more than your basic troops: the Simpletons. But later on, other classes join the fight; for instance, the Warrior. This blade wielding character is far more powerful than your average simpleton and a small group of warriors can easily make mince-meat out of a much larger group of simpletons. These Warriors can be trained in a so-called Warrior Hut. Just send a number of your simpletons into one of these huts and PRESTO… Warriors ‘o plenty! Of course, if you have a Warrior Hut, so does your enemy, so the best thing to do is to destroy the enemy Warrior hut before moving on to eradicating them. You could also try to destroy the multiplying hut in order to stop them from creating additional forces. If you destroy an enemy’s hut, you can rebuild one of the same type in the same spot, but in your own color. So now, instead of your enemy generating more troops, it’s you who’ll do the banging… eeehm, generating! So you see, every time you are presented with a new ability, you should change your strategy accordingly. Just sending your men headlong into any battle is the perfect recipe for a swift and crushing defeat!
In-between mission, you’ll witness more conversations between Brog and other members of the cast. When these conversations end, you’ll get a good look at the world map. On this map, every battle you’ve finished is shown, together with a rating. A rating?! Yes, a rating. You can earn three additional point in every mission, each point earning you additional respect. And, as we all know, respect is everything in the Barbarian world. Hell, some villages will not even let you fight them if you haven’t earned enough respect. So, how do we earn this respect? Well, by fulfilling additional conditions like: Crush your Enemies in less than 1 minute, or Crush your Enemies with more than ten survivors on your side, or even: Crush your Enemies after taking all his land. Each of these ‘side-quests’ grant you one point of respect, represented by a severed head. Certain battles require you to have a certain amount of respect before you can even think about starting them. So always make sure to check out these additional challenges and, if at all possible, complete them too.
One of the coolest features of Crush your Enemies is the enormous amount of humor that is incorporated into the game. There is no actual spoken dialog that makes any sense. The characters just go: “Nahahaa blablabla woo blabloobloo”, while a text at the bottom provides subtitles to the conversation at hand. Just watching this alone is hilarious. Combine this with some really funny written dialog and cool loading screen texts like “Loading Hobbit Porn” or “Writing Offensive Tweets” and it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to everybody’s face. Unless you don’t have a sense of humor, but at that point, your life sucks anyway… Anyhow, just trust me when I say that I laughed out loud while playing this game; it’s really fun! And, because even the most funny thing on earth can take a while to complete, Crush your Enemies comes complete with a nifty little feature: the ability to speed up time! So when you’re waiting for your men to multiply to a certain number, or things are just going to slow for your taste; just press the Shift button and things will go at a much more rapid pace.
Crush your Enemies’s 16-bit art style is perfect for the short and hilarious skirmishes the game seems to be made up out of. I would like to point out that the game’s soundtrack positively, absolutely and seriously KICKS ASS! There’s nothing like an up-tempo rock beat to listen to while you smash your enemies into a bloody pulp. The combination of really cool audio and video, together with the easy to learn control scheme makes Crush your Enemies a thoroughly enjoyable game that will easily fill numerous hours of your time. This game is, on all accounts, a classic RTS game, just without the endless waiting! So if you absolutely don’t like the genre, you’re shit out of luck. If you do like the genre however, you’re guaranteed to have countless hours of fun, bashing away in the campaign missions. I'm not that big a fan of the RTS genre, but I had a lot of fun playing through the campaign missions of Crush your Enemies; it's just that good of a game! And if single player isn’t your cup of Mead, you can always go online and battle one of your friends, or a total stranger for that matter. So you see that it doesn’t matter what you do; pillage a nearby village and set up your own brewery, steal your enemies’ lands or smash their troops to a bloody pulp; everything is a just lot of fun when done Barbarian style!