What is it with the almost marital binding of fantasy epics and thongs? It would seem to me, a simple onlooker at the bygone middle ages that at a time when every orc, pigman and field mouse was trying to run you through with some form of pointy object or another full body protection would be preferable. Isn’t that how the whole suit of armor thing became popular? But it must just be me because fantasy buttocks are lousy with metallic cheek clenching thongs the same way cars are lousy with wheels and I suppose they know best. Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is no different, with the game’s main antagonist class, the Night-, er, “Dark” Elves skipping about battle with fishing wire and socks comprising their battle gear while the humans all get around like fighting refrigerators, covered head to toe in shining modesty.
Kingdom of Thongs: Night Elves’ Seduction continues the first Kingdom Under Fire’s story, picking up 50 years after and boy have things gone amiss. The religion crazed zealot “Darks” to the east have taken the holy ground and it’s up to you to reclaim it for your completely different, incomparable religious zealot ideals. But hey, it is a crusade after all. Story is about all the game shares with its predecessor, as Fantasy Thongs 2 now incorporates a hack and slash mode with the game’s original RTS roots, making fairly seamless transitions between moving your troops around the battlefield to carving up hotties like a Christmas goose while surprisingly suffering from little to no frame rate drop or lag as several hundred of the girlies dance seductively around your completely non-phallic blade.
Imagine the Total War series, but every time the tiny square of troops that housed your character came into contact with the enemy the game suddenly became Dynasty Warriors with all the same brain-dead enemy A.I. and general characters with stupid amounts of health. You see, the best way to defeat an opposing group of enemies is to find their leader, which is easy with orcs whose general rides a massive pig around the battle and telegraphs his attacks like an air traffic controller but when 90% of the time you’re taking on Dark Elves I would have preferred a little more distinction between lowly archer and general than thong coloration, especially when there can be 50 of the ladies on screen at a time. This leads to a where’s Waldo hunt around the battlefield for the magical health bar that appears below such characters when struck, only to magically dissipate until struck again.
Combat is akin to all hack n’ slashers, press B to not die, press X to not spare lives and throws in the Y button for “special attacks” which are composed of light area knock backs not entirely worth the points that you spend on them. With every tap of X you gain more points at the bottom of your HUD and right around 200 you can either press Y to spin around or press XA or YB to call in support characters for an Aid Attack.
In the game’s first campaign, you play the usual fantasy cast: You play the morally upright main character that climbed to leadership by the blood of his fingernails but is never really in a high enough position to escape following orders of superiors he frequently disagrees with named Gerald. (I swear it’s as though the genre was created by a woman with a love of thongs and men with “ger” in their names). You are followed by the snarky tomboyish second in command whose tough outer exterior is really just a shell around the scared little girl inside (at least it would be if the game ever went that deep into characterization) and the drunken muscle-bound hammer wielder who I’m legitimately surprised was not voiced by Ron Pearlman. Cut scenes are painful to watch as non are pre-rendered and therefore are comprised of the three in standing animation with mouths that work like a cow’s in a field of chewing gum even when not speaking (I assume they continue to do this even during combat) but get the story to where it needs to be, which is easily the most ignorable part of the game.
Although Thong Adventure Zeta boasts a completely ridiculous and un-immersive story with a heavy learning curve the game really does flow. Transitions are smooth, battles are complex and strategic and combat is amusing if not incredibly repetitive. If you can ignore the laughably bad English voice acting and terrible transition from Korean to English dialogue the campaign is very playable, and all together, for a game of its time that broke so many genre rules, Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders really is worth your time if you’re a fan of legitimately good RTS, repetitive hack and slash, or JRPG’s.
Verdict- Playable, even good depending on how much patience you are willing to grant it.