It was the year 2000 and a younger version of me found a copy of a game called Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim on sale at a TJ Maxx, I convinced my parents to buy the game since it read on the box that it worked on Mac. When I got home I popped the CD into my Power Macintosh G3 that I had upgraded the RAM and hard drive in, and started to play the game on the lowest settings that allowed the game to run at the slowest crawl possible. Of course back then this didn't deter me in the slightest, I mean, the games I was use to playing up to this point on my Mac were Spaceward Ho!, Panzer General, and Civilizations. Back then I never did beat the game, officially anyways, and it was only recently I was able to return to this childhood entertainment to give it another shot. However can a game developed 19 years ago still be that good? Especially one that was on sale at a TJ Maxx for a fistful of dollars? Surely not, right?
Since I now own a PC of my own, and I knew that there existed a version of Majesty called the Gold Edition, I went to GoG and downloaded the full 667 MB file for the low low price of $5.00 as it was on sale. Now the gold edition included an expansion and DLC not found in the base game, so not only was I looking forward to revisiting my childhood but also checking out this new content Ive never seen before. Of course this isn't 2000 anymore and my PC was fully capable of running the game at its top settings, making things run smooth and fast, so fast in fact that I actually found myself lowering the speed of the game to better construct my kingdoms.
For all you Majesty noobs out there let me lay it out for you. The main campaign of Majesty is a map full of quests, most are locked at the beginning and only become available after beating certain quests. Selecting a quest gives you bit of background story behind your task for the quest, read to you by a very Sean Connery sounding actor. Once you note your objectives, you're thrust into your starting kingdom for that quest. Usually starting you off with your castle and a handful of other buildings, like a market, an inn, a blacksmith, and maybe one of the various heroes guilds. Your job as the king is building up your kingdom, protecting your citizens, and exploring the surrounding areas. To accomplish this you have a vast number of buildings at your disposal to construct, each with its own unique purpose to serve. The market is your main source of revenue, and is also the place you can research healing potions and other artifacts your heroes can buy. The blacksmith allows your heroes to upgrade their weapons and armor, the inn gives them a place to rest and retreat to in a pinch, the guard towers ward off low level enemies and offer a place for your tax collectors to deposit their collected gold. Managing your coffers can be a bit of a chore at times, but once you see a flow of income start up it's usually not about to stop unless you're not careful.
Outside of kingdom buildings that help you earn income, buff heroes, and deal with pesky enemies, you also have your heroes guilds. There's quite a few to be had but not all can be built, each quest is a decision as to which branches to take. As a start you can almost always build a few base guilds, like the warriors guild, the rangers guild, the rouges guild and the wizards guild. Warriors are tough but need to get in close to deal damage, and their guild has a feature that allows you to quickly summon all the hired warriors back to the guild. Rangers will freely explore the map and earn XP by doing so and are good ranged attackers, their guild is also able to be broken down and moved at anytime. The rouges are a bit of a necessary evil as they will often steal from your own kingdom, but their guild will allow heroes to poison their weapons and allows you a fast way to collect all the taxes in the kingdom in an instance for half of the collected gold. And the wizards are as weak as they come but dish out some of the most powerful damage with their spells, their guild also allows you to use spells yourself for a price and allows heroes to enchant their weapons. And these are just the base guilds, this is before we talk about the temples and the branching paths you can take.
Much like guilds, temples also hires heroes to aid your kingdom, but they are all religious buildings and don't generally like one another. Want to build a temple of Krypta and hire Priestesses who summon skeletons to patrol your kingdom for enemies? Well then you can bet you won't be seeing any Healers from the temple of Agrela. Interested in taming the local wildlife with Cultists from the temple of Fervus? You can bet the stone-skinned Monks of the Dauros temple won't appreciate that. And when it comes to Elves, Dwarves, and Gnomes, you'll need to pick one of the races you best think will be useful in your current quest, as the two you don't choose from will turn their noses up at you. Elves can only be hired two per bungalow, but with them come gambling halls and elven lounges for free. Dwarves are builders and attackers, plus their settlement is also a defensive building and you get access to a more powerful version of the guard towers called ballistas. And Gnomes are weak fighters but they build things like the wind, and their cheap to hire and more of their hovels will appear for free as you build allowing you to hire more Gnomes quickly. In the end what paths you take will depend on your play style and how you wish to approach the objective.
Now as the king you don't actually control your heroes or your citizens, they are free to go about their business as they please. So to help you direct them you are given flags to set. Attacking flags cause heroes to seek and destroy the target, explore flags will make heroes plunge into the fog of the map, and defend flags that rally heroes to a location or unit to defend it or them. Setting a flag doesn't immediately cause heroes to jump for joy however, as you'll need to offer up some of your gold as an incentive. The larger the amount, the more risks the heroes will be willing to take, including loss of life. Heroes are units with personality, they act accordingly to their level and won't generally go outside of what they are capable of. So even if you put a $2500 attack flag on that dragon wrecking shop on your marketplace, the heroes might just ignore it out of fear for their own lives. If you're like me though, you'll often just let your kingdom run on autopilot. Heroes will level up over time as they skirmish with enemies and explore their surroundings, their various voice lines providing an often amusing bit of background noise.
Not all quests allow you to autopilot things though, and sometimes you'll be sweating bullets as time limits are introduced and stronger enemies often wander into your main kingdom. The main campaign played out mostly as I remembered, basking in the nostalgic glow of the game, and I was even able to make it pass the couple of quests I couldn't win before allowing me to move on to this 'Northern Expansion'. Sadly I found the original quests to be far more entertaining, as this expansion didn't introduce any new hero units and only a few new enemies to kill. The quests themselves were kind of similar to the original string too, so there wasn't much diversity there. Still, for what I did play, I enjoyed. Only rarely did I become overly frustrated, and that was only due to my own play style interfering with me accomplishing a couple quests easily.
Majesty Gold HD Edition gets a 7.3 out of 10