eGames.com's Swords and Sandals: Crusader is a mix of fast paced arcade combat and RPG strategy.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Characters
- 3 Plot
- 4 Chapter 1: Lion of Phaetor
- 5 Chapter 2: Swordhand of the Knight
- 6 Chapter 3: Baron of Wishful Drinking
- 7 Chapter 4: Heart of Tempered Steel
- 8 Chapter 5: Thawing of the Frost
- 9 Chapter 6: Age of Beasts
- 10 Chapter 7: The Scourge of Eddengarth
- 11 Chapter 8 Harvester of Souls
- 12 Chapter 9: The Battle for Phaetor
- 13 Strategy and Tactics
Featuring particle weather and spell effects and a huge variety of army and game types, Swords and Sandals: Crusader takes off where Swords and Sandals 2 ended, as the battle against the undead Emperor Antares intensifies.
The game features eight leaders to fight against, each with unique armies and powerful new colossi, a Campaign mode with 41 missions across 9 chapters and leveling up crusaders up to 50 levels with powerful new spells, army upgrades and battle skills.
The upgrades available throughout the game are limited to certain levels as the story progresses (starts at Level 3, and progresses 1 level per Chapter). The improvements offered are:
- Mercantile: Ability to manage your treasury. Every point you add to this skill gives an extra 10% income each turn.
- Armourer: Improves the quality and toughness of your melee troops' shields and armor. For every point added, your Light, Heavy and Cavalry troops' Health will increase by 1.
- Weaponsmith: Equips your melee with more powerful and vicious weapons. For every 2 points added, your Light, Heavy and Cavalry troops' Damage will increase by 1.
- Heal Army: For every point added, you can heal a wounded soldier's health by two points during battle. Using this ability costs 50 Command Points.
- Offensive Tactics: Improves your melee soldiers' fighting technique and skill. For every 2 points added to this skill, your Light, Heavy and Cavalry troops' Attack will increase by 1.
- Summon Critters: If you don't want to lose valuable soldiers, let the critters of the world do your dirty work for them. Each point you add to this skill will summon more and more critters to rush your enemy with. Using this ability costs 100 Command Points.
- War Drums: Powerful tool to demoralize the enemy. Each point added to this skill saps 20 command points from the enemy leader during battle, and reduces the enemy army's morale when the drums play (morale reduction does not work against the Death Imperium).
- Defensive Tactics: Improves your melee soldiers' ability to survive on the field. For every 2 points added to this skill, your Light, Heavy and Cavalry troops' Defense will increase by 1.
- Raise Dead: The dark powers of necromancy allow fallen warriors to be raised from the dead. For every point you add, 4 Light Infantry troops can be summoned to fight again as ghosts, up to a maximum of 50 Light Infantry troops. Those who survive are kept after the battle is over.
- Leadership: Each point invested in this skill adds 10 Command Points to your starting and max values (minimum is 100). It also grants you the ability to boost your army's morale by one Leadership point. High morale means more damage in attacks. Using this skill during battle costs 50 Command Points.
- Airstrike: Devastating aerial attacks from your airborne forces. The higher this skill, the more airborne forces are summoned, and the more damage is done. Using this ability costs 100 Command Points.
- Archery: Adding points to this skill ensures your archers pull their weight on the field. Each point increases your archers' Damage by 1.
- Fear: Conjures up a powerful phantasm to strike despair into your enemies. The more powerful this spell, the higher the morale of your enemy needs to be, before they flee in terror (does not work against Death Imperium). Using this ability costs 100 points.
- Colossus Mastery: The Colossus is far and away the most powerful unit in your force, but it is even more fearsome under a powerful master. Adding 2 points to this skill increases your Colossus's Health by 50 and Damage by 1.
- Siege: Attacking and defending castles can be very costly to your army. Increasing this skill means you lose less troops during a siege, and can knock down castle walls faster.
- King Lionel IX of the Kingdom (Good, Noble & Measured) - King Lionel of Phaetor is a wise, fair man, who seeks to bring peace and stability to the lands of Brandor. Beloved by his people, his rule is just, his mercy great and his courage unquestioned. The Kingdom and its allies now stand in the way of their greatest threat, the undead Emperor Antares, and his most feared Death Empire.
- Bors the Mighty of the Sons of Frost (Neutral, Belligerent & Measured) - In the grand spirit of "Let's make do with what we have..." did the Sons of Frost appoint Bors the Mighty their leader to conquer the world. The blue-skinned Sons of Frost are a nation of a hundred barbarian tribes, exulting in battle and the call of adventure. A shrewd opportunist, but poor tactician, Bors seeks to take advantage of the chaos sweeping the land. He sees the south as a land ripe for the picking, a realm of weaklings to be relieved of their wealth and farmland.
- Arglaxx of the Beast Force (Evil, Savage & Aggressive) - Arglaxx was once Battle Master of the Arena at Eldor Hath until Emperor Antares was toppled. Fleeing to the lands of Taj Brandhir, in the south, he quickly rose an army of animals, mercenaries and vicious beast men, seeking to take advantage of the chaos in the realm. Arglaxx is a fierce fighter, great tactician and inspiring leader. If he has a fault, it is his overconfidence and the unpredictable nature of his simian troops.
- Lord Celen of the Iron Republic (Neutral, Pragmatic & Defensive) - Lord Celen Helmgard is a brutal and violent man, once an ally of King Lionel. In a recent coup, he seceded from Kingdom rule and established the Iron Republic, under the socialist pretences of equality and community. However, the republic under Celen's stewardship has become as self-serving and bitter as Celen himself, traitors scrambling over barren lands and limited resources. He seeks to overthrow both the Kingdom and the Empire.
- Sir Belgrave of the Templar Church (Good, Pious & Defensive) - Commander of the armies of the Templar Church, Sir Belgrave Rhykier is fearless in battle, honorable to a fault and a powerful Knight. He lives and fights by a strict code of honor. Drakondier is a Kingdom ally, a solid and stalwart champion for a unified Brandor, free from tyranny and slavery. The Templar Church is the spiritual heart of the realm, and if it falls, many believe all hope is lost.
- Baron Wolfgang of the Free States (Good, Wily & Measured) - Baron Wolfgang, General of the Free States of Braxis, is a charming rogue and a skilled politician, although his struggles with the bottle are well documented. A dear friend of King Lionel, he is a loyal and trustworthy ally of the Kingdom. A bold and brave, if somewhat unorthodox, leader, he fights to defend the basic rights of freedom for every citizen of Brandor.
- HeChaos of the Legion of H (Evil, Tyrannical & Aggressive) - What superlatives can possibly be added to the legend of the nefarious HeChaos the Scourge? He is a madman and a tyrant, in control of a legion of fanatical supporters. More than once has he waged war on the realms, and though he is vastly overconfident, his underhanded tactics have seen a great many cities fall in his wake. The Legion of H is loosely allied with Antares and the Death Empire.
- Emperor Antares of the Death Imperium (Evil, Ruthless & Measured) - The terrifying Emperor Antares was once ruler of the mysterious southern lands. He was defeated in combat at his arena, but dark magic has allowed him to rise from the dead, his only apparent goal to destroy all life on Brandor. Antares commands a soulless fighting force made up of gladiators who died in combat in his brutal colosseum. The undead never retreat from battle, fear nothing and will not stop until Antares's dark plan is realized.
The action takes place in the land of Brandor, a land that is rebuilding after Emperor Antares's constant sieges, shortly after the emperor had been slain by the protagonist of SaS2. One plot disadvantage is that the story is not linear, but leader-centered, this way, the real plot is presented in the first two chapters, second half of the third, and the last two chapters (we will instead present all plots at once, guiding ourselves after the chapters).
'With a mighty blow, the Emperor Antares was slain.
The impossible had become the possible. A man, a gladiator without fear, slew the dark tyrant two years ago to this day. With his defeat, his Colloseum collapsed into ruin in the dark lands of Eldor Hath. Long feared and hated for his enslavement and tyranny, his death sent a wave of joy across the realm of Brandor.
No longer would innocent men be sent to their deaths in his Colloseum, no longer would his merciless attacks on the southern lands terrorize the people of the realm.
Or so it was thought.
Our story begins far to the north, where good King Lionel, noble lord of the Lion Kingdom overhears rumours of skeletons rising from the grave and great armies marching across the moors at night. Donning his battle armor, he seeks to learn more.'
Rumours that Antares is back reached King Lionel's ears who, after efforts of augmenting and preparing an army, goes on a journey to find out more. (because, as mentioned in the game, Emperor Antares had been defeated with a lot of effort and many allies in the past, and Lionel needed to know if to rally everyone againist Antares again)
After sieging Taj Brandhir and interrogating Arglaxx, who seemed to prepare Antares's comeback, King Lionel heard the four words that confirmed all of his suspicions: 'Emperor.....Antares.......has........returned!'.
The Beastlord's word echo long into the night. Antares has returned.
The news is dire. Antares waged war against the Kingdom many years ago, and it was only with the combined might of many allies that he was defeated. How he has returned from death is a mystery, but it does not bode well. King Lionel, unfamiliar with the dark arts of necromancy, seeks council with his allies the Templar Church. Upon his arrival at the Holy City of Drakondier, however, Lionel walks into a storm. High Marshall Galrin, head of the Templar Church, has died and the knighthood has erupted in chaos as rival factions and families fight for control of the Church.
Our story continues with Lionel's childhood friend, Sir Belgrave Rhykier, an ambitious knight, as he makes his claim for power.
Thousands and thousands of skeletons pour from the catacombs.
For now, thankfully, these skeletons are confined to the pages of the books Sir Belgrave has discovered. As he and King Lionel pour over the tomes seeking clues as to Antares' whereabouts, our story turns to the east and the port city of Braxis, center of the Free States.
Somewhat incredulously, Baron Wolfgang, notorious rogue and drunkard and former prisoner in Antares' arena, has risen to General of the Free States. Due to long peace in the realm, the Free States have enjoyed great prosperity.
Until now, that is. HeChaos of Eddengarth, an old rival of Wolfgang's, has started stirring up travel in Free States lands. Baron Wolfgang sobers up and springs into action.
The traitor flees into the night.
With King Lionel's attention focused squarely on the south, one of the Lion Kingdom's most influential lords, Celen Helmgard, has attempted to usurp power in his absence.
Although his coup is thwarted, Helmgard is undeterred. Gathering many loyal followers, he flees Phaetor in the night and vows to start a new Republic, free of the archaic constraints of the monarchy. This is where our story continues.
The last of the snowflakes evaporates into the morning sun.
With the winter over and the great mountain pass of Suul's Gateway clear, Bors the Mighty and his Sons of Frost army begin their slow attempt to return to power.
Little more than a few dozen families, the clans of the Sons of Frost have been decimated by Kingdom forces and have waited long to exact their vengeance. Gathering his most loyal warriors to his side, Bors begin to plot.
Arglaxx looks out into the shiftless deserts of Taj Brandhir.
Again and again his Beast Force has been defeated by superior Kingdom troops. The Iron Republic has become a formidable enemy, and the Sons of Frost have risen in the north. Two years have passed since Arglaxx fled to the desert lands after delivering the corpse of the slain Emperor to the dark priest at Eddengarth. Due to the vast incompetence of HeChaos, it was many months before Antares could be resurrected. The delay has set the campaign back greatly, key battles have been fought alone and without the support of Antares and the Beast Force is deeply wounded.
Our story continues with Arglaxx receiving battle orders from Antares. Finally, the dark wars have begun.
The Scourge of Eddengarth paces back and forward, fuming silently.
Betrayed by both Arglaxx and Emperor Antares, the Legion of H now stands alone. No stranger to treachery, HeChaos is particularly devastated by the fact he didn't get the chance to betray the Emperor first. Unravelling a large campaign map in the war room, he gathers his few sane generals and begins to plot his revenge. First Arglaxx, then that fool King Lionel, and finally Antares must fall.
If a darkness must return, HeChaos figures, it should be my darkness.
The fallen gladiator stares out across the moor with lifeless eyes.
At his side, numbering in the thousands, are the re-animated souls of those who died in combat at the Arena of Eldor Hath. For years and years, men bled and died under the cruel sun for the entertainment of the masses, but upon death they could not rest. For Antares has risen them from their tombs. His purpose is simple, to destroy all life on Brandor and move on to the next world.
Our story shifts in focus again as Antares continues to sweep across Brandor and moves in on the heart of the Kingdom at Phaetor.
Lionel, Belgrave and Wolfgang ride out of Phaetor.
Lionel's cunning plan to move the strength of the Kingdom allied armies to the more defensible Phaetor at the expense of Drakondier and Braxis has proved your salvation. Although the battle still stands on a knife edge, still there is a chance of victory. Archangel Sandalphon still. Three great armies of the Kingdom are now one. They ride to defend their people against the great and terrible threat of Emperor Antares.
Your enemies are numerous and strong. Cruel Lord Helmgard, Bors the Mighty and Arglaxx circle the city like vultures, their armies strengthened by hundreds of lawless mercenaries taking advantage of the chaos in the realm. HeChaos, whilst greatly weakened by Antares, still seeks vengeance against the kingdom. And Antares himself rides to meet you with the sold of a thousand gladiators at his command and pure hatred in his soulless eyes.
The Battle for Brandor will be decided this day. For the Glory of Suul, for the free peoples of Brandor, for valor, put on your sandals.
For you are crusader.
Strategy and Tactics
Invest a lot in Fear.
Also, the Raise Dead spell is a VERY effective way to keep your light infantry soldiers and protect your provinces from sieges and attacks.