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Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde is a 2003 real-time strategy video game developed and published by Jaleco for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles. It was released in North America for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 on November 11, 2003 and on the GameCube on December 16, 2003, and later in Europe on March 19, 2004, July 16, 2004 and March 11, 2005 for the Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2 respectably.
Set in a fantasy world, the story follows the tale of a civil war between goblin clans after their creator and master is killed. The gameplay is a combination of real-time strategy and light action where players gather resources and build up their horde of goblins while also being able to take direct control of certain units.
Goblin Commander is a hybrid genre with much of the gameplay revolving around real-time strategy while incorporating elements of action gameplay. Players take control of a number from five different goblin clans, each with their own unique units and designs with the objective of harvesting resources to build up their horde and warring with the opposing player clans. Through a top-down perspective user interference, each player begins with one clan shine for every goblin clan under their command and only one Hall of Titans, the former for recruiting and upgrading goblins and the latter for special “titan” units and turrets. The clan shrines are in a fixed location and if destroyed will have to be rebuilt. There are two kinds of resources to gather for purchases and upgrades: gold and souls. Gold is found throughout the map by locating treasure chests and destroying structures, both the terrain and foe’s. Souls are harvested through either defeating enemy units or capturing souls wells. Additional structures are located elsewhere on the world map and must also be captured for use. These include the Observatory for a greater line of sight, revealing unexplored areas of the map and the Alchemist Shop for purchasing rune magic to be used for their own benefit or against other players.
There are five different goblin clans in total; Stonekrusher (grey), Hellfire (red), Stormbringer (blue), Plaguespitter (green) and Nighthorde (purple). Each clan focuses on either combat or ranged orientated goblins, for example the Stonekrusher can recruit light, medium and heavy combat goblins but only just light range. They also have special goblins with their own ability such as the Hellfire scout for line of sight and the Stonekrusher drummer for healing other goblins. Additional units include a clan’s unique titan that is large beast that have a variety of high damaging attacks but only one can be control at a time, and turrets that can be built across the map to automatically fire upon foes. Every time a goblin is recruited, it joins up with its clan’s horde that is controlled as one unit, for example a player with three clans would have three hordes. Hordes can also be ordered follow other hordes and titans. The light action part of the gameplay involves players taking direct control of a horde or titan in a third person view and attack other enemies directly.
The game supports two modes, a single-player campaign where the player partakes in a series of missions with set objectives, slowly throughout gaining the command of the various goblin clans, and a two-player skirmish mode where two players can battle one-another via split-screen choosing the map and clans in advance.
Set in a fantasy land of Ogriss far away from the other races, a human sorcerer named Fraziel set out to create what was currently only known as the “Great Machine”. In order to build his device he conjured servants, goblins, forming their own clan under each moon. First was Grommel (the protagonist) of the Stonekrusher clan under the white moon Froxx to serve as miners in the deep caves. Second was Grax of the Hellfire clan under the red moon Heelinx to harvest wood in the forest. Third was Faine of the Stormbringer clan under the blue moon Trist to channel lightening in the mountains. Fourth was Syst of the Plaguespitter clan under the green moon Phoust to farm in the marshes. And fifthly was Naxus of the Nighthorde clan under the purple moon Farthis to scavenge ancient battlegrounds.
Fraziel was making progress with the Great Machine until it was sabotaged causing it to explode, caving in the mines and causing Grommel and the Stonekrusher clan to flee to the forests. Moments after, Grommel finds Fraziel as crawls out of the wreckage, where just before he dies gives own last cryptic word: “brother”. Grommel then leads his clan out into Ogriss to attempt to know who or what killed his master, possibly one of his other four clan chieftain “brothers”. In the forests he first encounters Grax of the Hellfire clan who along with the other goblin clans believe Grommel to be responsible and so become hostile. Through a series of battles Grax is defeated and the Hellfire clan rally around Grommel. Grommel later does battle with the Stormbringer clan in under Faine in the mountains and Syst of the Plaguespitter clan in the marshes, gaining command of both clans in the process.
Upon returning to the caves with all the other clans, Grommel confronts the last of his brothers; Naxus of the Nighthorde clan. It is revealed that the Great Machine was to produce bombs to steal the souls of all of Ogriss’ creatures, allowing it’s controller to remake the world in his own image. Naxus sabotaged the machine to kill Fraziel and take it for himself to create a world of chaos and darkness. With the help of all clans, including part of the Nighthorde clan, Grommel battles his way through the caves in order to stop Naxus sending the bombs from the now active machine through the Moongates, ancient teleportation devices. When Grommel finally corners Naxus, he leaves through one of the Moongates leaving one active bomb among the hundreds of others. Grommel however narrowly throws the bomb through the same Moongate as Naxus where it explodes, presumably killing him. After defeating Naxus, all the clans rally around Grommel with the intention on finding purpose now that the Great Machine is destroyed.
|GameRankings|| 75.98% (GameCube)|
|Edge||5 out of 10|
|Game Informer||8 out of 10|
|GameSpot||6.7 out of 10|
|GamesRadar||10 out of 10|
|IGN||8 out of 10|
|Official PlayStation Magazine (US)||5 out of 10|
|Official Xbox Magazine||8 out of 10|
Upon its release, Goblin Commander received an average to generally favourable reception with an average critic score of 75.98%, 69.31% and 68.94% at Game Rankings for the GameCube, Xbox and PlayStation 2 respectfully.