Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim

I wish I could say I discovered Majesty nine years ago when it was released on the Mac and the PC. A mix of Dungeon Keeper and Age of Empires, it takes the standard fantasy RPG trappings and mixes them in with the interface and controls of an RTS. The end result is a blend of real-time base building on an overland map combined with heroes you recruit who level up, buy potions and learn new skills -- all without ever taking a direct order from you. A departure from the god-like power we expect from RTS games, these heroes are completely autonomous. The best you can do is place a bounty on a wandering Medusa and hope someone can be bothered to head over and deal with it.

Rather than micromanage your way to victory, you play the role of gardener trying to create the right conditions for your units to thrive. Drop a library so your mages can learn to spells, a market so your heroes can buy potions and even a blacksmith for them to buy better equipment if they have the coin. You have your own goals going into a given scenario, but often the biggest hurdle is just fighting off the hordes of enemies long enough to give your heroes the time and space they need to gain experience and buy new gear.

The primary joy in playing comes from watching as a given hero ventures out into the world and spends his first few battles running away before finally coming into his own. If you really want to foster some advancement, you can cast spells (with the right research and buildings) like lightening bolts and invisibility to increase their survivability. Of course, casting spells costs money, so building your kingdom and giving your tax collectors plenty to do is essential. Finding the right ecological blend of complimentary units also makes a difference as a cultist hero walks the lands planting poison plants that your rogues can use to make their weapons more deadly.

Majesty holds up surprisingly well considering its age. I’ve been playing on Windows XP and aside from a couple crashes and editing the registry to reduce the scroll speed, it’s been great. The interface is a bit large but it’s intuitive enough and even gives you a small window for tracking heroes while you build your kingdom. The original never got a ton of attention back in the day, but clearly there was enough interest in the brand as 1C Company is working on a sequel scheduled to come out later this year. You can grab the original Majesty along with the expansion from GamersGate for $9.99. Read on for more screenshots!

Comments

Majesty was awesome. I might be totally wrong here, but the gameplay was somewhat similar to The Settlers game. The Settlers, especially Settlers 3, was awesome too

Looks interesting, this is one I missed out on completely.

Never played this sadly, but it looks very cool. I'm looking forward to the sequel. I may get this from Gamersgate once I've worked through my pile a little, I'm on something of a forgotten gems trip atm.

Sold.

Damn I hate cheap games in the age of digital.

*shakes fist at gaming gods*

I really enjoyed this game, the concept was awesome. I do remember the later levels being absolutely punishing in difficulty though, I never could complete the game. Maybe I should fire it up again now I'm a bit more seasoned.

This really brings me back. I too remember some of the campaign missions being a bit of a mess (don't think I ever did beat the last one), but the game mechanics were so interesting and different and flat out fun that I still have very fond memories of it.

Here's hoping that sequel finally comes out and lives up to the original.

I'll be sending a bill to Certis for my lost productivity due to staying up past my bedtime.

I'd never even heard of this before, but love the concept and liking the execution so far (though sure wish I could get higher resolution). It's a more interesting take on something that Hinterland was getting at...

Tips for anyone firing this up:

- Make sure to level up buildings.

- To get heroes to do stuff you need, select the palace, then select Rewards, then Attack Flag or Explore Flag...

Just dug out my original Majesty disc from the closet. I thought I was the only person who ever played this back in the day

Played this one back in 2000 when it came out and loved it. Might be up for a revisit now, though I wonder if Vista will give it more problems than XP.

Yes! I remember this being a great game way back when, though I too recall the last levels, and the expansion being pretty difficult. The sequel looks pretty good... adding that one to the watch list.

- To get heroes to do stuff you need, select the palace, then select Rewards, then Attack Flag or Explore Flag...

Or just double click on an enemy or an open area on the map you want explored. Then you can select the flag you planted and increase the bounty on the left side of the screen.

IMAGE(http://www.burrillstrong.com/wordpress/photos/trogdor.png)

Just look at the Majesty...

This is one of my favorite PC games of all time. Seriously. I love the point and click mechanic and the campy things the heroes say and do are just plain fun.

Yep the expansion missions are sometimes just crazy. I love the skirmish mode where you set the sliders and then jump into a kingdom to fight your way to glory.

While the remake looks all 3d and stuff I would totally go for a 2d remake revamped for newer machines. It doesn't need to be 3d.

Seems like you can find used copies of Majesty for the Mac via Amazon, etc. But there doesn't seem to be anywhere to download it.

I discovered this game 3 years ago and liked it a lot. I too thought that Hinterland was trying to head in this direction from the previews, and was a little disappointed to find out that wasn't the case.

I am greatly anticipating the sequel coming out later this year.

I have this and the expansion tucked away in my gaming closet. I'm going to hunt them down and reinstall. Thanks for reminding me of this gem.

Does the game run on Vista or is it XP only?

I don't think I've heard of this one. Sounds cool.

I just bought this game for the 3rd time a few weeks ago and was going to post about it. I love this game. Definitely a different take where you don't actually control the heroes you have to entice them!

Mmm, loves me some Majesty.

Thanks for the pointer on slowing down the scroll speed! I had given up on ever playing it again.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Does the game run on Vista or is it XP only?

I'm interested in this too.

I'm disappointed by the people who have never played Majesty. Next you're going to tell me that you never played Freespace 2, Grim Fandango, Planescape Torment, or Silent Storm.

Majesty is a classic, although the difficulty curve is just ridiculously steep at the end. Also, I'm not particularly optimistic about the sequel, although that's probably just me being jaded after it was canceled twice already.

- Alan

I just dug up my Majesty Gold CDs, installed on Vista and ran it with no problems.

I set the scroll speed to 4--anything more zipped the screen around too fast.

regedit wrote:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cyberlore\Majesty]
"ScrollSpeed"=REG_DWORD:00000004

You can copy the text in that quote into Notepad, save it as a .reg file (for example: MajestyScroll.reg), then double-click the file to change the value in the registry. The value is hexadecimal. The default value is 00000020, which is much too fast on modern computers.

I got the game when it first came out :-p

I liked the early game where I was under less pressure and could carefully build up a successful economy and watch the game play. It kept me involved with trying to keep up with the various enemies through the indirect means and building at a pace I could keep up with.

It got tough later when you were forced to get directly involved with your magic, while worrying about the structures you built as some gave benefits with bad side effects. The worse was the golem attack level where it began to feel like an rts without enough control to affect the battle as I wanted it. I began just clicking the lightning bolts continuously while desperately trying to get enough money to keep it up. Blue dragons were a pain as well.

Still, a great take on strategy games that works well in a slower vein. I look forward to a sequel, and I hope they don't lower the difficulty too much, as its not as much fun winning a level when you feel they just gave it to you.

Itsatrap wrote:

I'm disappointed by the people who have never played Majesty. Next you're going to tell me that you never played Freespace 2, Grim Fandango, Planescape Torment, or Silent Storm.

Oops... if it'll run on Vista, I'll have to pick this up...

Majesty does indeed work in Vista... I have it and the Northern Expansion installed on my computer currently. It's a great one; a true diamond in the rough.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Does the game run on Vista or is it XP only?

Ran for me on Vista...I did get several freezes though that forced me to restart my machine. Fortunately, you can set the game to auto-save every X minutes (or every X something, anyway).

Itsatrap wrote:

Next you're going to tell me that you never played Freespace 2, Grim Fandango, Planescape Torment, or Silent Storm. :P

Freespace 2: Playing through Freespace 1 still (think I got both 1 & 2 at GOG recently, though I had played some Freespace back in the day), though a bit stuck on a tough mission (and playing on Hard). Very much looking forward to getting to 2 and being able to try out fan content in addition to the campaign.

Grim Fandango: No, never played, not very tempted due to puzzly foo, but certainly heard great things about it.

Planescape: Torment: Bought it, have played a few minutes, definitely intend to get through it at some point.

Silent Storm: Definitely want to play it, been on my Amazon list for a while, but it's $90 bucks...:( Hoping it'll become digitally available at a good price.

Look at that. I post this as a Classic Game of The Week and all of a sudden we have four new videos of the upcoming sequel. Coincidence? Probably.

Itsatrap wrote:

I'm disappointed by the people who have never played Majesty. Next you're going to tell me that you never played Freespace 2, Grim Fandango, Planescape Torment, or Silent Storm. :P

No on the Silent Storm, yes to the rest.

And apparently Certis has some influence on the gaming world. What can he do to get Dragon Age to come back out this spring? Hmmm . . . .

Majesty was a great little game. I wish more computer games would explore the sort of "executive-level" gameplay used in Majesty and Dungeon Keeper.