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ANTIHERO from VERSUS EVIL

  
  

A rather superb single and multiplayer turn-based strategy game for the discerning gamer about running your own Dickensian style Thieve's Guild and outsmarting and out-stealing your opponents. On the way you can indulge yourself in a little bribery, the occasional blackmail and even the odd assassination as you rise to the top! Slowly build up your army of Urchins then go out on the town Scouting, Searching and Burglaring etc sometimes attacking your opponent's Crew.

ANTIHERO is played in turns and each Character has little dots over their head (Urchins don't) that let you know how many actions you have. Once you have used them you hit the end-turn button and your main character returns to their Home. When it is your next turn you can move in one Action to any of the buildings or adversaries (who sometimes block your path and so you have to fight them) and Scout or Burgle them; some houses can be Burgled twice in succession and loot gained each time.

In the Campaign game, which is what I am playing (there are also Skirmish and an Online playable choices), the streets are misty when you first step out into them but clear quickly revealing pathways on which you can travel. Every two or three turns generally opens up new paths leading to different areas and eventually to your opponent's Guild Hall. Necessary buildings are marked clearly as are all the required off map buttons that allow you to tinker with your character. Play is simple and fast, just do all you can in a turn and wait for the computer opponent to take their turn. The game uses what I would describe as Modern-Retro, meaning that they have the Retro style but not in the pixelated quality of most of the others released in the recent avalanche of Retro games; think Galaxy Defenders versus Space Invaders.

  
  

Your character begins with only one Urchin who they can send off Scouting while they themselves take on the more rewarding task of burglary, stealing as much gold as they can. To get more Urchins into your gang you have to buy them and you need more than one because they are quitelikely to fall foul of your opponent and even more likely are going to be needed en masse to Scout some of the larger and more Noble houses.

If you have played the brilliant dungeon delving game, GUILD of DUNGEONEERING, the style of the characters will be familiar to you, although here they are found in bright colours and with more detail. I, personally, love GUILD of DUNGEONEERING. I think it is unique, has excellent style, is funny, addictive and highly reminiscent of my early Dungeons & Dragons playing days when I hadn't a clue what I was doing but still enjoyed running round waving a wand or a sword at butt-ugly monsters. 

ANTIHERO is very much like GUILD of DUNGEONEERING but on a much grander scale and with perhaps more depth in plot, characters, and generally overall. ANTIHERO is innovative, clever, strategic and a lot of fun to play solo. I have yet to play it multi-player and I'm not sure if it's a game for me that should be played as such, unless perhaps you had a friend on the computer next to you and you were playing together, then I think I would enjoy having another person intruding in my adventures.

There are lots of places to discover and visit, and many directions to follow up, down and across the map. In many ways it's like a boardgame version of a very simple role-playing game. You have options but quite often your mind is made up for you if you wish to travel a particular route. If an opponent's Thug for example blocks the path you have to fight them or find another way round, the latter losing you valuable actions. As you progress so you go up in experience levels and gain all manner of additional skills and equipment as you do so, very much like most fantasy games on the PC and consoles - I believe this is also available (or soon will be) for Android devices - the more you succeed thye better you get.

There are several good things to point out about ANTIHERO: It's fast, it plays great solo, it's an inexpensive purchase (about $15.00), it's fun, it can be played with friends and it can be played in short bursts of time depending on what is available to you. There are no real bad points, although I suppose the way the characters move on the map and fight or do any action could be considered grey areas when weighing Pros and Cons. For players who like diverse, somewhat silly but ultimately challenging fantasy adventures.

    

    

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015