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The kingdom of Hironeiden a fine and dandy place to live. Open spaces, nice forests, friendly neighbors to the north and no civil unrest to speak of. Until, that is, a group of soldiers on patrol near the borders discover a hamlet burned to the ground. They chase after the culprits and discover a group of orcs on the run.

From there on it's full out war as the orcs and ogres of Hexter move to invade with their new warlord Regnier at the head of their army while the humans mount their counter offensive. It does not go well.

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is an action/strategy game for the XBOX. It was created by Phantagram, the same studio that would go on to make Ninty-Nine Nights.

Kingdom Under Fire The Crusaders contains examples of:

  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The game has four playable hero characters. The changes in move set and playstyle can be quite jarring.
  • Armor Is Useless: Human soldiers wear metal armor and die just as quickly as anyone else.
  • Annoying Arrows: Archers are definitely useful support units to have but nothing stops the hero characters from continuing to run around slaughtering dozens of enemies after being pin cushoned.
  • Attack Animal: Hexter makes heavy use of them, with their giant scorpions and swamp mammoths.
  • Beast of Battle: Hexter, the orc and ogre nation, uses giant scorpions as seige weapons. They also employee swamp mammoths, which are able to shoot large masses of spores out of their flanks, acting as artillery.
  • Body Horror: The late game enemies are twisted fusions of human, orc, ogre, elf, and any other living species present at the awakening of Encablossa.
  • Complete Monster: Strangely missing. In a game filled with dark elves, vampires, corruption of religious virtue, and other Crapsack World elements none of the characters seem completely and totally without redeeming value. Even the dark god, Encablosa, appears to only be doing what it does, not acting out of any malice.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Advanced units sometimes end up lacking in basic areas. Sappers shouldn't get into a melee fight. Neither should calavry either.
  • Dark Is Evil: Played straight once you learn about Encablossa and Nibel, the gods of dark and light respectively.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: Most missions have extensive inter-character dialog, normally between the hero (play character) and the two lieutenants fighting with them and sometimes conversation with allied units.
  • Drop the Hammer: Rubert and Kendall use hammers in combat. Rubert's is greatly oversizes while Kendall's is functionally closer to a polearm.
  • Easy Logistics: Played straight during combat, your units are comprised of dozens of soldiers, none of whom seem to be carrying any supplies. When you return to camp between missions you can find your troops at their barracks where they, presumably, get plenty to eat and drink.
  • Elemental Powers: Magic spells and lieutenant abilities can be elemental in nature. Lightning and fire are the most common you'll run into.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Encablossa.
  • Exposition Break: Aside from updating your units this is what world map screen is for, especially in the late game when you would have no idea what's going on without Regnier filling you in on events that happened before most of the characters where born.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: The world, as it exists at the beginning of the game, is under the control of Nibel, the god of light, but the nations are still divided and its far from peaceful, especially in places like Vellon and Hexter. And when the age changes to the Age of Darkness under Encablosa it just gets worse. The Age of Light is certainly better than the alternative, of course.
  • God of Evil: Encablossa, as the god of darkness, torments the beings of light whenever the age of the world swings from light into darkness.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Played straight with Gerald, Lucretia, and Regnier all use swords. Averted by Kendal, fights using both a hand mace and a staff long warhammer.
  • Hide Your Children: Played straight with the justification that all of the events where characters are visible on screen take place on battle fields. Possibly averted with Thomas, one of Kendall's lieutenants, the youngest character in the game. He fights on the field along with Kendall and can get the crap kicked out of him (though he usually doesn't, being quite skilled as a fighter and a magician).
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Taken literally. Leinhart doesn't seem to greatly care for his vampiric father, the King of Vellond.
  • In the Hood/Malevolent Masked Men: Regnier has a large brown hood and short cape. However, the hood casts only a partical shadow. The rest is completely covered by layered metal which completely conceals his face, no even leaving eyes holes or any normal facial features to look at. It's impossible to be sure with the hood but it appears that the "mask" is actually the faceplate of a helment from which Regnier's massive horns extend.
  • Immortality Inducer: The Ancient Heart, at least for Regnier.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Gerald. He seems to think of himself as more of a soldier than a 'knight' but he fits the trope.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Kendall, Duane, and Thomas, in that order.
  • Level Map Display: Type 1. Each combat has a map of the available area, used when directing units.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: It is according to Regnier. He seems to have actively sought it out previously and regrets it's loss after the Ancient Heart is destroyed.
  • Made of Iron: Regnier. He traipses around the desert in what amounts to a metal loincloth and a cape and shrugs off whatever comes his way, including Rupert's suicidal final attack with no apparent ill effects apart from annoyance.
  • Medieval European Fantasy
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Regnier, for his in-game world reputation alone. Furthermore, Regnier isn't his real name. Originally Regnier was 'Rick Blood', which probably qualifies as another example.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted, you spend a fair amount of time playing as Lucretia, the dark elf, leading the forces of Vellond, who certainly the bad guys until the god of darkness starts destroying the world.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Leinhart is the Prince of Vellond but he's out in the field kicking ass with Regnier, if you really consider that a constructive use of a noble's time.
  • Obviously Evil: Regnier. He's tall, dark, has horns, wears spiky armor; Essentually the guy looks like Dr. Doom co-playing as Skeletor.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Played straight. Ogres are noticably larger than other units on scene and speak in broken fragments.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: They are shorter and squatter than humans and ruled by ogres. There are no named orc characters in the game but we hear their units deliever some rather dim lines.
    • "I got axe for jou!"
    • "Orc riders... ride!"
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vellond is ruled by vampires and half-vampires are used as their representatives in dealings with other Vellond races such as the dark elves and the orcs.
  • Out of the Inferno: Regnier gets to do this.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Towards the endgame you may begin to experience this as the enemies become tougher and tougher.
  • Player Punch: YMMV, Rubert's death during Gerald's campaign.
  • Playing with Fire: Regnier is capable of igniting himself and his sword as a special attack. The fire spreads to whatever he attacks for a short time afterwards.
  • Point of No Return: It's pretty clear when it's coming, luckily. This is partly because it appears to be the end of the current quest, when you are trying to prevent Walter from destroying the Ancient Heart so you probably aren't expecting to do alot of backtracking after that point anyway.
  • Punched Across the Room: Regnier's combos can end with him delievering a straight punch that will stagger or throw back anyone on the receiving end.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Played straight, differently from other examples. Because the game isn't an RTS the construction doesn't appear on screen but there's nothing stopping you from switching a unit from infantry to cavalry or seige weaponry between missions, even if your in the desert miles from the nearest city.
  • RPG Elements: You are able to select equipment for your leader and two secondary characters as well as the units as a while.
  • Run, Don't Walk: For a squad focused military game there isn't much marching for the foot troops. You can order them to go slower and keep quiet but by default it's nearly a sprint.
  • Saving the World: Eventually becomes the main quest of the game though it begins metaphorically (saving the human kindoms) when the head of the church gives you a mission and gets literal after that mission is completed and the god of darkness starts destroying everything.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Played straight. All of the heroic characters wear complete clothing and full body armor. The villainous characters are all Stripperiffic including full dressed Leinhart, who models what appears to be skin tight leather evening wear.
  • Siege Engines: Human units can employ seige weaponry such as catapults and ballistas.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: On the cynical side with a few idealist characters. The game largely feels more cynical with several characters clearly motivated entirely by their own desires. Good people exist, Gerald standing as a prime example, but these people are often forced or ordered to do unpleasantly pragmatic things. There is a god of light, Nibel, who seems to also be the good god of the world. But it's eventually revealed that Nibel had to basically cheat Encablossa to get the current arrangement of the world, which is then put back on the track to darkness due to human action.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Heavily on the serious end of the scale. Battles are loud and bodies stay on the ground for sometime after mooks die. The plot also takes itself seriously, even approaching Cosmic Horror in the end game.
  • Special Attack: Each commander has two lieutenants who not only have their fighting abilities but can be called on to assist with a signature attack during a fight.
  • Story to Gameplay Ratio: The game falls in the high middle range. While the game has an extensive story, it is often told while playing the game itself in the form of character dialog. However this is intercut with world map "cut scenes" of debate between characters and information exchange which can be quite lengthy and numerous.
  • Stripperiffic: Any female from Vellond, apparently. Basically every female character and model in the game apart from one. And Regnier as a male example.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Do not break the Ancient Heart!
  • The Horde: Basically how the human kingdoms see the orc and ogre tribes, especially after they are united by Regnier into a single organization (the commonwealth of Hexter).
  • The Usual Adversaries: Played straight with humans and elves fighting orcs, ogres, and dark elves. Averted once Encablossa appears and starts making freakish mutated enemies.
  • Trap Master: The player can become one whenever they have access to a unit of Sappers.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Played straight for Hexter. It's not directly mentioned but the ogres and orcs don't look like they smell too great. The same probably holds true for Regnier since he lives with them. Averted for Vellond, where the dark elves and half-vampires seem to find the time to wash up.
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