capsule review

Conquer Online

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Conquer Online

He who would wield a huge flaming sword must first kill a lot of pheasants. Just to be clear, that is 'pheasants', not 'peasants'. At least, this seems to be the basis for the free MMORPG Conquer Online, where the initial stages of the game feature your character slaughtering an endless supply of extremely vicious birds which lurk just outside the city gate. These birds leave behind silver coins, halberds, healing herbs, and arena tickets. (You need to collect 6 of the latter for a quest; in an hour of bird-killing, I found only one.)

The game is played in a three-quarter view, third-person, perspective. Motion is accomplished by clicking on the square you wish to move to. Click on an enemy to attack it, or a merchant to trade with it, or a random passerby to see if he will offer you a quest. At least at the early levels, combat is purely automatic--click a target to attack it, and special abilities will randomly go off. Kill enough pheasants, and you go up a level. You need to kill a lot of pheasants, though--by sixth level, I could not find much else to kill except turtledoves and flying roosters, which had the same graphic but slightly different names.

The Web site and the game are somewhat marred by clumsy translation, though never to the point of incomprehensibility. Character classes include the usual archetypes of warrior, healer, and destructive caster, with some odd names--what are Trojans doing with Taoists, one wonders?

The game is free to download and play, but players will be tempted to spend money to purchase 'Dragonballs,' powerful items which can upgrade your gear. Since the game allows free-for-all player-versus-player, any other player can eviscerate you at any time if you're not near a guard. There is an obvious incentive to make sure your weapons and armor are up to snuff.

--Ian Harac

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Conquer Online

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