Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars Retrospective

Games On Net has published a fairly positive retrospective look on the second chapter of the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise, New World Computing's Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars. Here's a generous snip:
The turn based formula was centered on the seven day cycle, with your castle being replenished with freshly recruited monsters weekly. The trick was to develop your castle fast, so you could command some of the higher level monsters, as these would dominate most encounters. Playing out the week so you could afford to build a Dragon's Tower or the giant-spawning Cloud Castle was almost impossible to resist, to the point where you'd constantly be surprised to find the sun coming up! This is one game that's hard to put down, ranking right up there with contemporary sleep-sappers like Civilization and UFO Enemy Unknown.

Dusting off the disc and firing up Heroes II off after a break of many years confirmed what I suspected: a loooong night was ahead again (several of them, as it has turned out). This is still a seriously addictive game with a reasonable degree of resource management depth and satisfyingly tough turn based combat.

In combat mode you must balance your judicious use of magic, while protecting your missile troops and effectively using your melee troops to inflict maximum damage. There are some really cool critters to play with too: we have already mentioned dragons and cloud giants, but there are also vampires, golems, liches, gargoyles, wizards, orcs, hydras, sprites, medusae and dopey slow ogres too. Some units fly and others have special attack types that can paralyse enemies.

The combat sees you controlling stacks of monsters at a time: a simple, yet clever approach that helps weaker monsters like halflings become devastating, if you can recruit enough of them. You'll need around two to three hundred of the little bare footed ankle biters to take down one weaker green dragon, but it can be done!