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Overview

Stronghold 2, the third game in the series from Firefly Studios, it's different from previous titles due to its new 3D engine, greater emphasis on castle maintenence (taxes, happiness, honor systems, etc.) and the function of carrying over a castle from one mission to the next on a map.

The game takes place during the second half of the 11th century in medieval England.

Gameplay Elements

Stronghold 2 is the third sequel of the Stronghold series. This time the game bets more on castle maintenance, making it even harder. Apart from that it has an improved 3D engine. New units and AIs have been added as well as new rules and tactics. Basically you play as medieval lord, who controls his kingdom and tries to keep his people pleased and fight his foes in the same time. In order to keep people's interest in your castle, you have to feed them, protect them, build them houses to live, catch troublemakers, kill the rats who spread diseases and clean the people's poo to keep them healthy. There are a lot more ways to entertain them but all that is achieved by carefully planning the state's economy and policy.

Military units are directly controlled individually or in groups, sometimes quite large with sieges or battles involving many hundreds on each side. One new addition to the original stronghold is the inclusion of estates, that a player can "buy" with his accumulated honor (gained by popularity, holding feasts, dances, jousting, etc.). The estates are semi-independent villages (without castle fortifications) that produce their own goods that the owner can send through carts to his castle or his allies. The new units feature mercenaries who can dual wield weapons and also sail. New thing in the tactics is that the normal infantry can't attack walls anymore. You need to build catapults or other siege equipment in order to destroy your enemies' walls. The more enemy units you kill and the more enemy buildings you destroy, you gain war glory. A brand new resource that let you build statues. The statues have a good influence on people and increase your popularity. Eventually you'll receive a new title. New events have been added - wedding ceremonies, jester parades and etc. The technological tress are a little more complicated however. The game offers two types of campaign (like the original game): a peace campaign and a war campaign, kingmaker mode (similar to the crusader trail in Stronghold Crusader), siege mode (the new name of the invasion maps), skirmish mode, mutliplayer mode (hosted by GameSpy arcade), freebuild mode and a map editor.

Story

The story of Stronghold 2 is told in the form of a storyteller telling a tale at the end of some missions, the story is also told through interactions between major characters in various cutscenes at the beginning and end of each mission.

The story being told by a traveling storyteller.

The player will be put in the role of Sir Matthew Steele, the squire of Sir William, both of them are trying to find out what happened to their King who has fled the country due to an attempted coup d'état carried out by Lord Barkley. During the first mission William infiltrated Barkley's stronghold in order to learn more of the Kings disappearance,after he fails to learn anything Matthew must help Sir William escape Lord Barkley's castle, after which William teaches Matthew the art of warfare and governing and gives him some land near a monastery, during the next few missions Matthew must help the monks with their day to day problems.

From there on in, the player will work for William and help him in his effort to stop Lord Barkley and his ally Pascal Deveraux who is William's brother. Pascal hires a viking lord named Olaf to kill Matthew and destroy his village, after Olaf's berserkers are defeated, Sir William will ask of Mathew to join him in the siege of Lady Seren's castle in order to free Edwin, a lord who has offered lands,gold,titles and most importantly an army to those who free him.

Once Edwin is free he will knight Matthew as well as send him some troops to help him defeat Agnus McCloud thus earning the loyalty of a minor lord called Sir Grey who is in a state of constant war with McCloud. While Matthew is building his castle and army Edwin asked Sir William to follow him under false pretenses and betrays him to Olaf, after which Edwin gives half the gold which he received back to Olaf if he agrees to besiege Mathew's castle this results in Mathew being attacked by both McCloud and Olaf. Once they are both defeated Mathew learns that Olaf has taken William hostage and has ransacked the monastery where Mathew started out, he immediately proceeds towards the monastery to defeat Olaf and rescue William,but once again Olaf escapes.

In the next mission Mathew will have to help rebuild the monastery while defending himself from Edwin's attacks. Once Edwin's army is destroyed Mathew moves to Sir Grey's estate in order to hunt down both Olaf and Edwin, Matthew defeats and kills Olaf and spares Edwin.

Characters

Stronghold 2 characters
Sir Mathew Steel, was a squire to lord William, but he rose in rank as he helped the kingdom. He is the player character. He values his bond with William, and helps him in whatever way he can, namely he helps by searching for the king and defeating his enemies. He is often guided by either William, or his constable.
A Noble Lord
Sir William is an honorable and loyal knight, serving his king, country and people. He does what he believes is right, even fighting against difficult or hopeless odds. William took in Mathew Steel as his squire, later on he would give him a title and land. Through out the game William is searching for the King, who has fled the land, while at the same time keeping ambitious lords, who covet the throne for themselves, in line.
At one point, Sir William turned over his duties to his brother Pascal, because he had to go to battle. Pascal in return betrayed his brother by poisoning the king and disbanding the royal guard, forcing the king to leave. It is because of this that the King thinks William to be a traitor.
The Hammer
Lord Barclay is the opposite of Sir William. He is an evil and tyrannical lord, willing to do anything to gain more power. He is mistrustful of others, and it is suspected he hatched the plan to commit a coup d'etat alongside the Hawk. Lord Barclay serves as the game's main antagonist. He is often shown as merciless, even killing the man who serve under him, he believes that only the ruthless have the right of power.
Barclay attempted to kill William and Mathew when the duo went to his castle to search for the king.
The Lamb
Lady Seren Wynne is a lady of the realms. She is first introduced when William and Mathew siege her castle in order to free Edwin Blackfly who has promised lands, title, wealth and an army to those that rescue him. She has been accused of witchcraft by Edwin, and at first she poses as an ally of Lord Barclay and The Hawk, however, as it turns out, she has always been loyal to the King and William.
At one point she was to be married to William, however that was not meant to be, despite this, she still loves William.
The Hawk
Pascal Deveraux is Williams brother. He has a French accent, so it's possible that they were separated, or that he is his half brother. The Hawk works closely with Lord Barclay to overthrow the king. Pascal was the one who took over William's duties, poisoned the king and disbanded the royal guard, forcing the king to flee.
Eventually, he is killed by Mathew and William, who believes that Pascal has brought eternal shame on their family.
An English Traitor
Lord Edwin Blackfly is an ally of Barclay and Pascal. He is first introduced as Lady Seren's prisoner. He promises lands, titles, wealth as well as an army to those that rescue him. Seeing as how Mathew and William needed men badly, they decide to siege lady Seren's castle and free Edwin.
Later on Edwin betrays William and his squire, by handing William over to Olaf Grimtooth.
Edwin is a coward, a thief and a cheat. He treats his people very badly, either by killing them when they fail at their tasks, or by extorting money from them. When Mathew and William attack him, he pleads for mercy.
Olaf Grimtooth (to the left)
Olaf Grimtooth is the last viking warlord. He often raids the English countryside, he is also a mercenary and his services are highly sought after. Lord Barclay hires him and his berserkers at the suggestion of Pascal Deveraux. He fails to kill William and Mathew several times.
Olaf enjoys battle very much, but underestimates his opponents. Olaf is eventually killed by Mathew.
The King
The King is the ruler of England, he is poisoned and is forced to flee the country, which leads William, Mathew and Lady Seren to search for him. While he is away, enemies of the crown attempt to take control of the throne. Due to Pascal's betrayal, he believes Sir William to be a traitor as well.
The king eventually resurfaces, and sees that William is loyal, after which he takes the fight to Barclay and Pascal.
The Bull
Angus McLoud, of the clan McLoud is a Scottish warlord. although not necessarily evil, he aligns himself with Barclay, against Sir William and Mathew, as well as Sir Grey whom he fought against for many years. Angus has a heavy Scottish accent, and seems to honor and respect his clan, if nothing else. He is defeated by Mathew Steel, and decides to run away, as dying in that battle would be pointless.
Angus is killed by the King after he assaults the King's camp. He promises that his clan will take revenge on them.
Sir Gray, killed in battle by Barclay
Sir Grey is an ally of the King, William, Mathew and Lady Seren. He has fought for his lands against The Bull for many years, and has seen a lot of bloodshed. While he is willing to help William and Mathew, he withdraws his troops after he learns that they are outnumbered 1:3, saying that he won't allow his man to commit suicide.
Eventually, Sir Grey is killed by Barclay.

The Bishop - The bishop is a minor character, only found in the campaign when Barclay and Pascal try to force him to sign an edict, making them kings.

Constable Briggs - a man o' war sent to Mathew by William, Constable Briggs advises Mathew in the art of war, often appearing to report sightings of enemies.

Tom Simpkins - Mathew's advisor, he instructs Mathew in almost all areas. He reports when they are being attacked, the state of various industries, food stocks etc.

The Queen - The Queen is not seen in the campaign, she is an AI character in Kingmaker mode (custom battle).

Units

Units can require one of several things. Gold, honour, armor, weapons or engineers. Gold is self-explanatory, honour is acquired by the lord during feasts or dances, criminals in torture devices also bring honour, and so do jousting tournaments. Armor and weapons can be produced by a specific craftsman, fletchers produce bows and crossbows, smiths produce swords and pikes, etc. For a weapon or piece of armor to be made, certain materials are required, spears need wood, as to bows, leather armor requires leather and swords and metal armor require metal, obviously.

Once the player has the gold, honour, armor and weapons he can recruit troops from their designated recruiting spot ie. barracks, mercenary outpost, war camp, engineers guild etc. The player will also require idle peasants that serve as recruits. Some units do not require weapons, armor or honour, but every unit needs gold.

Units have several stats like, armor, attack, speed, range. The more powerful a unit, the more it will cost.

Column Head
Lord
Lord - A lord is the ruler of a castle or land. Each castle has one, and so, in order for another lord to gain control over it, he has to kill the currently ruling lord. Lords have excellent armor and a great attack, but they are very slow moving unless mounted, and you can only have one.
Armed Peasant
The most basic unit. Armed peasants are the weakest unit in the game. Even in huge numbers they'll be easily destroyed by higher level units. They wield pitchforks, so the player won't need to produce any weapons or armor to recruit them, just gold. Their only use is being thrown at the enemy in an attempt to disarm any traps.
Cost
Gold: 5
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Spearman
A spearman is the first real soldier the player has access to. They're much stronger than the armed peasant, but aren't strong either. Spearmen can actually destroy wooden walls. Obviously, they'll require spears to be recruited.
Cost
Gold: 8
Honour: None
Weapon: Spear
Armor: None
Archer
Archers are the first ranged unit, and the first valuable unit as well. In large numbers they can even lay waste to several swordsman or knights. Other than that, if they are placed on walls or towers, they're range will increase dramatically, making them great defensive units as well.
Cost
Gold: 12
Honour: 2
Weapon: Bow
Armor: None
Crossbowman
Crossbowmen function as archer with shorter range but a higher attack, higher armor and higher hitpoints. Their range is short, but if placed on walls or towers, like the archer, they'll gain a dramatic boost to their range. Putting them on towers and walls is perhaps the best use for them.
Cost
Gold: 20
Honour: 2
Weapon: Crossbow
Armor: Leather
Maceman
Macemen are the first offensive melee unit a player can recruit, while not as strong as knights or swordsman, in large numbers they can destroy quite a few enemies. They use a mace in one hand and a shield in other.
Cost
Gold: 20
Honour: 1
Weapon: Mace
Armor: Leather
Pikeman
A pikeman is the spearman's big brother. Pikemen are a higher quality unit, they use pikes as well as metal armor, making them very strong defensive units, due to their slow speed however, they aren't the best suited units for assault.
Cost
Gold: 20
Honour: 2
Weapon: Pike
Armor: Metal
Swordsman
They are professional warriors, they use a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. They have great armor and attack, but are among the slowest units in the game. Still, with the ability to withstand many hits, they can reach their enemies, and then annihilate all who stand before them.
Cost
Gold: 40
Honour: 8
Weapon: Sword
Armor: Metal
Engineer
Engineers are the most versatile units in the game. They man the various defensive or offensive siege equipment, from the oil smelter that pours down hot oil on the heads of enemies trying to climb the walls or ram the gates, to using powerful catapults and balistas.
Cost
Gold: 30
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Catapult
Catapults fire rocks, they are particularly effective against buildings, walls and towers. 2 engineers are required to man a catapult. Catapults can be recruited from war camps.
Cost
Gold: 200
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 2
Trebuchet
Trebuchets act like long range catapults, using only a few of these mechanical wonders can bring entire walls and castles down in a matter of minutes. Unlike catapults, trebuchets can not be moved once they are unpacked, an 4th engineer is needed (along with the 3 operating the trebuchet) to move it.
Like most siege equipment trebuchets can be recruited from war camps.
Cost
Gold: 200
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 3
Fire Ballista
Ballistas are siege engines most efficently used against infantry. Like catapults and trebuchets they can be recruited from war camps.
Cost
Gold: 150
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 2
Siege Tower
Siege towers, they are used as a means to allow your armies to climb enemy walls. There are large and small siege towers, the larger ones allow archer to fire upon enemies as the siege tower closes in on the walls. Once it does, the player can order his man to use the siege tower to gain access to the walls.
Can be recruited from the war camp.
Cost
Gold: small 150, large 250
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 4
Battering Ram
Battering rams are used to destroy enemy gatehouses, they can take a lot of damage and require 4 engineers.
Cost
Gold: 150
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 4
Cat
A cat absorbs ranged damage and protects your troops, great when approaching castle walls and fortified positions. Requires 2 engineers.
Cost
Gold: 100
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 2
Burning Cart
Burning carts are loaded with pitch and hay, and can be lit on fire creating an inferno that swallows both enemies and buildings. However, they are rather weak, and enemy archers can take it out before it reaches its destination. It requires 2 engineers.
Cost
Gold: 100
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 2
Ladderman
Ladderman, as the name implies carry ladders. They position the ladders alongside enemy walls which allow your troops to climb over the wall. Ladders can be pushed off the wall by enemy melee units, so ordering your ladderman to put the ladders on parts of walls that are unguarded is a good idea.
Ladderman are fast, but can be killed quickly by archers, they are also the second cheapest unit in the game.
Cost
Gold: 4
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Mantlet
Mantlets are miniature cats that are used with the same purpose, although a lot cheaper, they only require one engineer. They are very vulnerable to melee attacks.
Cost
Gold: 10
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineer: 1
War Hounds
War hounds are vicious, starved dogs, put in cages. Once released they'll attack the nearest person they see, they will also attack your own men. War hounds are automatically released when enemies get close to them.
Cost
Gold: 200
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Mangonel
Mangonels are catapults mounted on your towers. They can be devastating when firing on enemies in close formations, or when firing on enemies passing through a narrow pass. Unfortunately they can also do damage to your own men or walls, due to their inaccuracy. Two engineers required.
Cost
Gold: 100
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 2
Ballista
Same as a fire ballista, only mounted on a tower. Requires 2 engineers.
Cost
Gold: 100
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Engineers: 2
Fighting Monk
Fighting monks are religious warriors. They are great in melee but lack any armor whatsoever. They can be recruited from a monastery.
Cost
Gold: 25
Honour: 1
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Warrior Monk
Warrior monks unlike their fighting brothers use a sword instead of a staff and have a shield. They are great warriors, and can be recruited for an extremely low gold cost, the lowest of all units, they will require an honorable lord however. They can be recruited from a monastery.
Cost
Gold: 1
Honour: 10
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Assassin
Assassins are specialist and mercenary units. They are invisible to the enemy at medium-long ranges, and have grappling hooks to scale the walls, which allows them to capture gatehouses easily. They require a huge amount of honour to be hired though. Like all mercenary units they can be recruited from the Mercenary Post.
Cost
Gold: 60
Honour: 200
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Thief
Thieves, like assassins, are specialist units. They aren't frontline fighters, instead, they are used to steal gold from your enemy. They disguise themselves as peasants and go to the enemy treasury where they steal money for you. They can be discovered by guards. They can be recruited from the Mercenary Outpost, like all mercenaries.
Cost
Gold:10
Honour: 50
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Berserker
Nordic warriors, used by Olaf, they use rage in close combat and deal great damage, they are lightly armored however. They have a charge bonus that is highest in the game, in other words, they'll deal the most damage on their first attack on an enemy. They can be recruited from the Mercenary Outpost, like all other mercenaries.
Cost
Gold: 50
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Axe Thrower
Axe throwers are, like the berserkers, Nordic warriors. In the campaign they can often be seen in Olaf's command. They use a devastating ranged attack, but have a rather short range. Like all ranged units, if you put them on walls or towers their range increases. As mercenaries, they can be recruited from the Mercenary Outpost.
Cost
Gold: 100
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Pictish Boat Warrior
Pictish boat warriors carry, as the name implies, small boats on their backs, which they can use to travel over water or moats. Recruited from the Mercenary Post.
Cost
Gold: 40
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Horse Archers
Are one of the three units that use horses, along with knights and light cavalry. They are the only mounted ranged unit. They also have the great ability of firing while moving.
Cost
Gold: 60
Honour: 2
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Light Cavalry (Hobelars)
Hobelars are the fastest unit in the game. They can quickly attack ranged units as well as siege units. Recruited from the
Cost
Gold: 40
Honour: 2
Weapon: None
Armor: None
Outlaw
Outlaws use two weapons, a sword for melee and a javelin they throw at their enemies at close range. The javelin is a devastating weapon, and a few outlaws can kill a lot of troops quickly using javelins, they aren't quite as good in melee. They also have the ability to hide in woods, making outlaws the perfect ambush troops. Recruited from the Mercenary Post.
Cost
Gold: 60
Honour: None
Weapon: None
Armor: None

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP
  • Processor: 1.4 GHz Processor
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • HDD Space: 2.5 GB
  • Graphics Card: 32 MB
  • DirectX: 9.0c

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