King's Bounty Retrospective

Katauri Interactive's remakes may be some of our favorite strategy/RPG titles in recent years, but it's New World Computing's original King's Bounty that's the subject of a new two-page retrospective on Eurogamer. The author discusses the virtues of the Sega Mega Drive version, though a vast majority of his text applies to the PC version, too:
The game's instruction booklet compares it to "chess or checkers", which is a bit like comparing a holiday to "a luxury cruise or fortnight being tortured in the Helmand Province". It's like neither, beyond moving your pieces around on a tiled grid.

Your army, made up of a maximum of five unit types, is limited in volume by your leadership level. You may have 10 cavalry, 50 wolves, 28 trolls, 143 peasants and seven ghosts. Your enemy may have 14 elves, 40 wolves, 62 sprites, 24 ogres and a giant. The depth of the game is figuring out which of your units is best suited to defeating those of the enemy, and manoeuvring your army into place (each unit has a varied number of actions per turn) to ensure the ideal battle.

I especially love the wolves and skellingtons, far more than some of the more powerful recruits from the later continents. In huge numbers, which will become available to you later on, they're a fantastic force. Until you hideously encounter that one enemy type that can take out 60 of them in a single hit. Oh, the mourning.

And it's so involved. Morale plays a key role, and if you have units that dislike each other in the same army, they'll be far less effective. You can garrison units into captured castles, use spells as a key part of both combat and exploration, and see enormous amounts of detail about your character and team.