|Celtic Tales: Balor of the Evil Eye|
|Release Date:||: 1995|
|Game Modes:||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Platform(s):||DOS, Windows '95|
Celtic Tales: Balor of the Evil Eye (ケルトの聖戦, Keruto no Seisen, translated as "Holy Battle of the Celts") is a role-playing strategy game inspired from Irish mythology. It is a part of Koei's Imagination series.
Stieg Hedlund designed the game while Eric Heberling provided the music score.
The ancient island of Eire flourished under the watchful eye of the goddess Danu. Its inhabitants were blessed with prosperity and grew in number as time passed. However, a race of hostile giants called Fomors invaded the island to claim its riches for themselves. Led by their commander Balor, they senselessly attacked settlements and terrorized the people into submission.
Those who survived the onslaught formed independent tribes to stay alive, though none of them had the strength to fend off the invaders alone. To save Eire, Danu beckons a hero among the various tribes to unify the land and defeat the Fomors.
At the menu screen, players may start a new game, open a previously saved file, or observe a gameplay demo. To begin the game, select one of 9 different rulers to serve as the player's avatar; up to 3 more can be added for multiplayer mode.
The primary goal of the game is to become High Ruler by uniting 18 different tribes through diplomacy or conquest. Once this has been achieved, it will be possible to challenge Balor directly. The game will prematurely end if the player's ruler is defeated in battle or 70 years have transpired.
If players choose to quit their current progress, they may assign the computer to play the game for them.
During the turn phase, the player can issue a series of commands to manage their domain and relationship with other factions. Commands are made by relegating them to champions who are limited to one task per month. Some are carried out instantly while others take months to end.
Exploration takes place on a rotatable isometric map filled with interactive elements like terrain, objects, and buildings. The presence of certain objects determines which commands can be made by the player. Buildings provide a host of personnel-related options ranging from the transfer of goods to the recruitment of freelance champions. Items are also obtained this way.
Provinces are necessary to gather enough resources needed for land development and tribal diplomacy. Each one is given a turn to act within a single month. The more provinces a tribe owns, the more turns and prestige they have over neighboring factions. Information on explored provinces can be viewed using the council option.
Paying tribute to other tribes and trading with them is a safe way to earn their trust and not be attacked from all sides. Should a tribe's approval reach a certain level, they may agree to join forces with the player and eventually become a real part of their group. Alternatively, players may find it easier to take their territories by force, though this makes subsequent negotiations much more difficult in the long run.
Each year, tribes will be required to give a portion of their total resources to the Fomors. Refusing is not a viable option unless the player has a champion strong enough to drive them back. The year itself is divided into four seasons with distinct events taking place. Also included are random occurrences to complicate gameplay experience.
By ending the turn phase, the game will switch to the interactive phase and execute previously-made commands including diplomacy missions and provincial skirmishes. Battles typically last for a week, with each day consisting of 4 turns (morning, afternoon, evening, and night). However, a battle campaign may end abruptly if one side runs out of grain to feed their troops. Saving will not be possible at this time.
In combat, an army must nominate a battle chief before it can deploy any of its champions to fight; both sides have a maximum capacity of 10 champion units. The attacking side is symbolized by a boar while the defending side is represented by a stag. While defenders are usually scattered and unprepared for attacks, they are given the option of fleeing or retaliating before the battle begins. Turn orders are decided by the dexterity and ability levels of each unit. Battle-related commands include offensive maneuvers, defensive actions, spell casting, and even unit communications.
A battle ends if the opposing chief is captured, one side is completely routed, or the attacking army retreats due to lack of supplies. When a tribe has no more provinces to escape to, their champions will automatically be captured once the leader falls. Captives are normally recruitable, though some may resist out of loyalty for their tribe. When this happens, players can choose to release or exile them.
- Morrigan - Leader of the Findias tribe. Starts out with 2 territories (Mullinavat and Raven) and 5 champions.
- Medb - Leader of the Sligo tribe. Starts out with 3 territories (Connaught, Clifden, and Ahascragh) and 6 champions.
- Sinnan Og - Leader of the Falias tribe. Starts out with 1 territory (Bandon) and 3 champions.
- Manannan - Leader of the Fionnaidh tribe. Starts out with 1 territory (Tralee) and 6 champions.
- Angus Og - Leader of the Airceltrai tribe. Starts out with 2 territories (Taghmon and Naas) and 7 champions.
- Calatin - Leader of the Bri Leith tribe. Starts out with 1 territory (Delvin) and 3 champions.
- Finn - Leader of the Fianna tribe. Starts out with 1 territory (Nenagh) and 8 champions.
- Lugh - Leader of the Rodruban tribe. Starts out with 1 territory (Tara) and 2 champions.
- Cuchulainn - Leader of the Eas Aedha tribe. Starts out with 1 territory (Cobh) and 4 champions.
- Chief Balor - The fearsome leader of the Fomors, he serves as the main antagonist of the game. His Evil Eye can devastate even the strongest champions in battle.
- Goddess Danu - A maternal deity who watches over the people of Eire. While unable to directly intervene with mortal affairs, Danu gives the player her blessings and bestows them with items if they prove themselves worthy of becoming High Ruler.
- Goddess Skatha - A war goddess of the Dyfedh tribe, she helps champions realize their full potential if they accept her offer to train them.