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Warhammer: Dark Omen is a real-time tactical wargame for the PC and the Sony PlayStation and the sequel to Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat. It is a seminal exemplar of a game of the real-time tactics genre. Rendered entirely in a freely rotatable-and-zoomable isometric 3D overhead perspective, the game features terrain, terrain features and buildings, and support for the first-generation Voodoo 3dfx 3D accelerator card effects. The 3D terrain and features are combined with 2D sprites ("billboarding") to render the hundreds of individual units simultaneously on-screen using the limited graphics acceleration technology available in 1998. Dark Omen is based on the Warhammer Fantasy Battle miniature tabletop wargame rules and situated in the Old World in the Warhammer World. The game makes use of the vast background lore of Warhammer Fantasy, creating a storyline that develops over the course of the game through illustrations and voice-acted conversations. First released for PC, it was later released for the Sony PlayStation. An expansion was scheduled and advertised but never released.
The gameplay is unit-oriented battlefield tactics with infantry, cavalry, and archer squads and artillery pieces as well as supporting hero and wizard units. The game freely mixes cannons, flintlock pistols and steam-powered tanks with bows, cavalry and magic.
Units vary in size from individual wizards or monsters to regiments of up to 32 members, and cannot be split up or combined. Units can suffer from psychological effects and can be routed, and individuals in units may be lost but can be replaced between missions unless the entire unit is lost. Units advance in experience as the game progresses, and between battles the player's forces can be brought up to strength, replacing losses, and upgraded by adding armour and equipment using money gained by killing enemies and accomplishing objectives within the mission. New units, including allied Elven and Dwarf units, can also be added at certain points in the campaign, often as rewards for successful completion of critical missions.
While the army can consist of many units, only ten may be employed simultaneously in one battle. Players may choose the initial disposition, arrangement and position objectives for the army as well as unit formation. Terrain and elevation must be taken into consideration for attack and defence. Most real-world medieval or Napoleonic tactics can be employed, including ambushing and flanking (see list of military tactics). Movement likewise reflects historical reality in that units must rotate or "wheel" from the centre or edges when changing facing.
Dark Omen also has a multiplayer component, where both players 'purchase' an army with a predefined amount of money before facing each other in battle, and can choose to play as the Imperial, Orcish or Undead forces.
The game's introduction shows the resurrection of an evil Undead king in lands far to the south of the Empire. Meanwhile to the north within the boundaries of the Empire, mercenary commander Morgan Bernhardt (the main character from Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat) is defending a small Imperial trading post from attack by Goblins, with the help of his former mentor Klaus Zimmermann. The mercenary army is soon recalled to the Imperial capital city of Altdorf in the Reikland where they are told that Orcs are invading the Empire from the south.
After fighting a number of battles against the Orcs, it becomes clear that the Undead are making them flee into the Empire. The player returns to Altdorf to make his report, and is assigned to a series of Imperial expeditions to fight the imminent Undead threat. These campaigns consist of several battles each, and there are a number of occasions where the player is required to choose between alternative paths, with consequences in the battles ahead for their choices.
Eventually, after defeating Undead incursions in Kislev, Bretonnia and within the Empire itself, the location of the Undead Dread King is discovered and the final battle begins. Throughout the game, Bernhardt changes from a mercenary who only cares about money and his next payday to become a true hero willing to lay down his life to save others.
Grudgebringer Cavalry: Taking their name from Captain Bernhardt's powerful magical sword Grudgebringer, these mercenaries form the core of the army known as the Grudgebringers. Led by Captains Morgan Bernhardt and Klaus Zimmermann, they are heavily armoured, highly skilled in mounted combat and ride into battle on potent warhorses.
Grudgebringer Infantry: These warriors are highly experienced and proficient fighters led by Sergeant Gunther Schepke, Bernhardt's second in command. As part of the respected mercenary army known as the Grudgebringers they are completely loyal to their Commander.
Grudgebringer Crossbows: After the events of the Shadow of the Horned Rat, these former outalws have become a respected part of the Grudgebringers force. Led by Willem Fletcher they are armed with powerful crossbows, which have a long range but require line of sight to their target. Although they wield their crossbows with considerable skill, they are not particularly effective in hand-to-hand combat. Only the front rank of crossbowmen may fire.
Grudgebringer Cannon: Led by Wolfgang Schwartzkopf, this machine's crew fires heavy cannonballs which can tear through enemy regiments and light buildings with ease, but is progressively more inaccurate the further it fires. Its enormously long range is only equalled by Orc Rock Lobbers, but it requires line of sight to its target as the cannonball is fired in a very shallow arc. Armour is useless against hits from a cannon.
Carlsson's Cavalry: These warriors form part of the militia commanded by the Border Prince and former mercenary Sven Carlsson, a personal friend of Bernhardt. They are heavily armoured, ride into battle on mighty warhorses and are proficient in combat.
Luther Flamenstrike, Bright Wizard: Returning once more to aid Bernhardt, Luther is still as arrogant as ever. Having spent years studying his art at the Bright College in Altdorf, the Bright Wizard is able to control magical energy to produce spells of flame and heat. Although extremely powerful in battle, Luther does not fare well in hand-to-hand combat. A Wizard may never wear armour.
Helmgart Bowmen: Franz Erikson
Countess' Guard: Charged with the protection of Emperor Karl Franz' cousin Countess Isabel. Led by Captain Heinz Klemper, these halberdiers, like all the Empire's heavy infantrymen, are highly trained and proficient melee fighters. The halberds they wield are heavy weapons which hit with great force. Halberdiers are skilled in combat, but because their weapons must be wielded with both hands they are limited in the amount of armour they can utilise.
Dwarf Warriors: Led by Bernhardt's friend Azguz Bloodfist, they are determined and confident, are immensely strong and resilient although slow on their feet. They will flee in only the most desperate circumstances, and their hatred for Orcs and Goblins makes them even less likely to rout when fighting them.
Flagellants: Led by the Sigmarite priest Eusebio the Bleak, these are men who have been driven over the edge of sanity by some personal disaster or catastrophe, causing them to travel the Empire preaching their nightmare visions of doom. Their madness gives them superhuman strength and resilience,8 and they fight with outstanding fury. Flagellants wear only tattered robes and will not wear armour.
Imperial Greatswords: Like all swordsmen of the Empire, thy are highly trained and proficient fighters. Led by Dieter Schaeffer, the swords they wield are so large they must be swung with both hands and therefore strike with great force. Due to this fact these troops are limited in the amount of armour they can utilise.
Imperial Cannon: Led by Darius Flugenheim
Imperial Mortar: Led by Uter Blomkwist
Imperial Steam Tank: Led by Ludwig von Uberdorf, this machine is in effect a mobile cannon and is very heavily armoured. In battle it cannot be engaged in hand-to-hand combat as it would simply run over any troops in its path. The cannon, which has a very long range but is progressively more inaccurate the further it fires, launches heavy cannonballs which can tear through an enemy regiment with ease. Armour provides no protection against hits from cannonballs.
Outlaw Infantry: These highly trained warriors were once swordsmen of the Empire. However, under the influence of their leader Jurgen Muntz, they have abandoned the cause of the Empire to fight outside the law for greater material gain.
Mercenary Ogres: Led by Urblab Rotgut, these massive creatures stand twice as tall as a man and are far more strongly built. Although they are not particularly intelligent, they are strong and tough and fight ferociously. They are notoriously indiscriminate about who they fight for, as long as they are rewarded. Due to their large and threatening appearance Ogres provoke fear
Vladimir Stormbringer, Ice Mage: Personal advisor to Tzarina Katarin of Kislev, Stormbringer joins Bernhardt's quest to stop the Undead once they invade Kislev. A wielder of Ice Magic, a native form of Magic practised in the northern regions of Kislev, he is able to produce deadly spells of ice and cold. Although extremely powerful in battle, he does not fare well in hand-to-hand combat.
Ragnar's Wolves: These warriors originate from the cold and inhospitable lands of Norsca where they fight under the command of Eric Ragnar, their leader and a personal friend of Bernhardt. Famous for battling Trolls, they ride into battle on mighty warhorses and are skilled in combat.
Wood Elf Glade Guards: Led by Elrod, these tall, agile warriors live in the forests of Loren. They are quick on their feet, are not slowed by difficult terrain and are skilled in combat. Wood Elves are feared by Goblins, giving them the advantage when facing them in combat. Elves will only wear light armour in battle as heavier varieties are too restrictive.
Wood Elf Archers: Led by the Wood Elf Galed.
Knights of the Realm: These Knights led by Bertrand le Grande, belong to the most numerous of the Bretonnian orders of chivalry. After the Dread King's undead forces invade Bretonnian, in search of the Black Grail, they join Bernhardt into battle. Riding on powerful Bretonnian warhorses they are highly skilled in combat.
Grail Knights: Led by Tristan de la Tour they are determined to destroy the Undead Grail Knights, recently re-animated by the Dread King's necromatic power.
Outlaw Pistoliers: These young Imperial mercenaries are fairly inexperienced, but make an exceptional rapid response force. Under the guidance of their disillusioned leader Stephan Weiss, they have abandoned the Empire to fight outside the law. They join Bernhardt's forces with the promise of financial gain. In combat their skills are average but they carry pistols, which only have a very short range yet are powerful enough to penetrate most armour. The pistols require line of sight to their target.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 https://www.mobygames.com/game/warhammer-dark-omen
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/warhammer-dark-omen-review/1900-2531818/
- ↑ http://web.archive.org/web/19980207163013/http://www.ea.com/eastudios/dark_omen/do-home.html
- ↑ http://en.dark-omen.org/campaign.html
- ↑ http://en.dark-omen.org/troops/empire/index.html