By Brad Cook
As Hordes of Orcs proves, theres a lot you can do with a portal. This tower defense game takes an idea found in such titles as the Warcraft series an open portal allows the bad guys to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world and distills from it basic, yet challenging, gameplay: Stop the marauders as they enter the game map through one portal and attempt to invade a peaceful world on the receiving end of the other. If 20 of them succeed, its game over.
Your defenses include towers and walls you can place anywhere on the map, along with spells that slow their relentless march across the screen. Your supplies of gold and mana fund your building activities and spellcasting, respectively. Mana regenerates automatically, while you receive gold when you kill orcs. Choose from four spells: teleport, which sends all affected orcs back to their starting position; fog, which slows down all orcs for a short period; bait, which tempts all nearby orcs with goodies that keep them from going any further; and weaken, which reduces the defenses of all affected orcs.
Sell your towers if you need some quick cash, and dont forget to upgrade them with stronger defenses as soon as possible. You can even set a specific strategy for each tower, telling it to target the fastest enemy or the first one it sees, for example. There are five types of towers: arrow, fire, ice, lightning, and radiation. Each kind of orc is resistant to a different form of tower, so mix your defenses for optimal results.
So Many Orcs, So Little Time
In addition to open warfare against one or two marauding orc armies, each with four levels of difficulty, you can bring some variety to your strategizing with other gameplay options. In Capture the Flag mode, you must protect a towns treasure chest from being stolen by the invaders; there are three to choose from, each with a different layout.
Maze Defense challenges you to stop the orcs without using walls, and it comes with three options: a basic maze; a grid with room for just size towers; and a map with an island thats the only spot to place towers. Finally, Pachinko, with four levels of difficulty, gives you a grid through which the orcs travel randomly.
Well leave you now to fend off the orc onslaught, with these words from The Lord of the Rings character Gimli to inspire you: Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!
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Check out our systems for your best gaming experience.
- Mac OS X version 10.3.9
- 1.83GHz PowerPC G3 or Intel processor
- 384MB of RAM
- Intel GMA950 or better video card
Seven Decades of Orcs
J.R.R. Tolkiens novel The Hobbit popularized the word orc as a type of creature thats a variation on the goblins found in traditional folklore. He said that he created it from the Old English word orcneas, which appears in the poem Beowulf, combined with another Old English term that derived from the Latin word orcus, referring to an ogre.
A later English word also meaning ogre, orke, appeared in British fairy tales beginning in the early 1600s, and William Blakes 19th century poetry featured a character named Orc, but none of those instances seemed to have much influence on Tolkien. His academic career was steeped in linguistics, with an emphasis on Old English, Norse, and related languages. He drew on that experience as he created the world of Middle-Earth.
Tolkiens orcs were big, brutish creatures who werent hard to trick, a characterization that has often accompanied them when depicted in other novels, as well as various videogames. In Blizzards Warcraft series of games, however, theyre more complex, possessing both sheer strength and a shamanistic side thats in tune with the natural world.