Stronghold Crusader demo

You will delight in the castle sieges of this game set in medieval times

  • Vote:
    7.5 (2171)
  • Category:

    Strategy

  • Works under:

    Windows XP / Windows NT / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Trial version

If you've been digging around for the old school castle sim that started a revolution in 4X games, Stronghold: Crusader is a pretty good place to start. From around 2002, the Crusader sequel takes players away from the Europe-like settings of the first Stronghold to the Middle Eastern setting during the Crusades.

The ideological battle of Christian versus Muslim is not as heavy handed as some Internet debates, but the unit structure is great. The campaigns go through the First, Second and Third Crusades while giving a deeper look into the power struggles within the Crusader states that held smaller, undermining conflicts.

With over 70 missions available in the Crusader Trail system against different enemies of your faction, Stronghold: Crusader offers a historic set of battles while giving an excellent taste of what castle management stems from.

A few historic battles within Stronghold: Crusader include the Siege of Antioch, Krek des Chevaliers and the Siege of Jerusalem. Don't worry if you're not an extreme history buff; the game gives you a good bit of information without forcing giant books of learning down your throat at one time.

For the European lord, you can play as leaders such as King Phillip, Lionheart and Emperor Frederick. As the Arabian lords, you can chose between the Caliph, the Nizar, Saladin or even as a Sultan for easy mode.

If you enjoy the demo, know that the full version has an expanded release called Stronghold Crusader Extreme. With new tactical powers, AI opponents and maps, you can enjoy everything in the demo plus an amazing set of new modes.

Don't worry about compatibility problems. Run Stronghold: Crusader in compatibility mode for Windows Vista and have fun. If you want to get the Stronghold: Crusader Extreme version after the demo, be at ease knowing that the compatibility issues are mostly taken care of.

Pros:

  • One of the best castle management games. Stronghold set a standard in the genre, while Crusader brought a wealth of new units and castle elements to manage for amazing depth.
  • Educational. Learning while you enjoy a game is a great passive gain, and Stronghold: Crusades packages the events of the Crusades nicely. Want more? Look up some of your favorite characters and battles, then imagine the events in-game.
  • Great Artwork. The unit detail and landscapes are wonderful. You can get lost in the detail forever, or just as easily miss it the entire time because you're under attack. Slow things down a bit and enjoy the detail.

Cons:

  • Standard combat. Outside of castle management, the real-time strategy combat was just like any other RTS game.
  • Older graphics. A bit unfair to the date of the release, but there is an Extreme version out if you check Softonic.
  • If you've played a Stronghold game before, the enemies aren't a challenge. Of course, harder modes are more of a challenge, but they exploy tactics that can be recognized from other games. This may seem a bit obtuse and applied to any game, but it really does follow the pattern of other Stronghold games. I may be paranoid, but others feel the same way.

If you haven't had a chance to experience Stronghold: Crusader, give this demo a try. Thanks, Firefly!

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Screenshots of Stronghold Crusader demo

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