Heroes of Might and Magic III for Linux
Tested on a Matrox G400-based, 500MHz PIII system with 128MB RAM, this game performed flawlessly. I suspect that it would function quite well on a much lesser system as there is no requirement for 3-D acceleration, and the calculations for combat and movement really shouldn't be that complicated. Loki's recommended minimums for the game are 32MB RAM and a Pentium 133. You'll need an OSS-compatible sound card, as well as an X server capable of doing 800 x 600 in 16-bit color. The install footprint is highly customizable since the installer allows you to separate out all the major components and leave in any of the scenarios, sounds, graphics, music or videos on the CD if you like. This allows Heroes III to take up as little as 5MB to as much as 350MB of your drive's real estate. Depending on how much data you leave on the CD, you may need more than the recommended minimum 4X CD-ROM drive; running the videos from such a slow drive might cause some rather nasty stuttering/rebuffering. As usual, Loki recommends at least any of the 2.2 kernels or above for their game ports.
There are some small problems with the default install. For instance, the version of Heroes III that Loki ships doesn't do full-screen mode by default (or at all as any user other than root from what I could tell). However, Loki's single upgrade patch is only about 1MB and fixes many small bugs, including the full-screen mode problem, and is highly recommended to be applied over the default install before playing. Interestingly, this patch also includes hooks to AAlib, the ASCII Art Library, which supposedly allows truly desperate Heroes III players without X to get their fix from the console in glorious ASCII detail. Additionally, Loki is also offering a beta version of their Heroes III map editor for Linux, which allows you to create your own Heroes III adventures. They are also offering a free 17MB demo of the game from their web site, http://www.lokigames.com/.
Plain and simple, this game is exquisite: turn-based gaming at its finest. The interface makes sense, even if you've never played an RPG-type game before, and the quality of the workmanship, attention to detail and overall polished feel of the game makes everything seem to work the first time, the right way. Although the game is rather complex, it's straightforward and more importantly, fun to learn. Heroes III is one of those games that you sit down to tinker with and end up leaving your desk eight hours later because you have to go to bed sometime. Highly recommended for penguins of all ages.
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