The Horde is a hybrid action-strategy video game developed by Toys For Bob and published by Crystal Dynamics in 1994. It was originally released on the 3DO platform, but was soon after ported to the SEGA Saturn console and computers running DOS-compatible operating systems. It was an unusual hybrid of action and strategy game for the time. It also featured full-motion video sequences featuring a number of actors including Kirk Cameron as Chauncey and Michael Gregory as Kronus Maelor. Video sequences were reduced to slideshows (with full sound) in some versions.
The game was bundled with the RealMagic MPEG playback card as a demonstration of the card's abilities to play back full motion MPEG video via the card's hardware decoder, at the time software MPEG decoding was not viable due to the lack of processing power in processors of that period.
The player controls a servant boy, Chauncey, who was raised by a herd of wild cows. In a fortunate mishap, Chauncey prevents Winthrop the Good, King of Franzpowanki, from choking on his meal and is rewarded with a plot of land upon which he may build a self-sustaining town. However, the land is under constant attack by "The Horde." The Horde consists of a number of destructive and hungry red monsters referred to individually as Hordlings.
The game is played in alternating timed phases. First is a "build" phase in which the player develops a town with the resources at his or her disposal. This includes constructing buildings and walls, setting traps, chopping down trees, and landscaping.
Then comes the "action" phase, where the player must defend the town from an onslaught of Hordlings with a huge sword, Grimthwacker (given to the player by the King), and various magical items. These items are powered by Chauncey's ATM card ("Automated Transfer of Mana"), which converts gold into usable magical energy. Hordlings occasionally drop money when defeated, which may be retrieved and used. However, the main sources of income are cows and crops, which are also sought by the Hordlings.
At the end of the action phase, the season has ended and the player receives a report on how well the town has been managed. The player turns a profit by protecting the town's resources. The player will then receive messages through a crystal ball from King Winthrop the Good, Kronus Maelor (the "Evil High Chancellor"), or the FNN ("Franzpowanki News Network"). With the exception of certain comic relief messages, these can have direct influence on every aspect of the game.
After four seasons, Kronus Maelor requires Chauncey to pay taxes. The player then has the opportunity to save the game and buy special items for the next year. As the game progresses, the player eventually eliminates the Horde presence in a given region and is tasked by the king to move on to another territory. Each new location features the challenges of different terrain and new breeds of Hordling, as well as extras such as unorthodox ways to get items (these could be viewed as side-quests).
The initial 3DO version of the game had a "feature" wherein it deleted all other saved files to make room for The Horde's save file. The publisher eventually recognized this behavior was generally disliked by players, and offered to replace discs with a copy of the game that prompted before deleting other files.
- 'The Horde' at MobyGames
- Sega-Saturn.com review
- The Horde for Saturn at GameSpot
- Fan-made Collectible Card Game
- Review by Matt Brown for Game Bytes Magazine
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