Qt3 Classic Game Club: Sacrifice

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[Editor’s note: Every two weeks, we’ll pick a classic game to play and discuss. Then the choice of the next game will be made by a randomly selected participant from the current discussion. It’s like a book club, but with videogames. We’d love to have you join us. Register for the forums and hop into the discussion! This week’s choice, by krayzkrok, is Sacrifice.]

Pick a game, they said. Make sure it’s a classic, they said. It has to be available for less than $10, they said. What kind of lunatic forces someone to choose from the thousands of classic games out there, many of which they’ve likely never played? Perhaps I should toss a coin? A multidimensional coin with thousands of sides.

Okay, I have a plan. I am going to pick a game that I’ve never played before, one that I suspect many have never played before, one that’s often mentioned in conversations about under-appreciated games, and conversations about games that still hold up today. All the while resisting the temptation to choose Descent? Right then.

My Classic Game Club pick is Sacrifice. Developed by Shiny Entertainment, published by Interplay, and released in 2000 for Windows and Mac, it completely passed me by at the time despite being highly praised for its innovative RPG/RTS hybrid gameplay. According to Wikipedia, players control wizards who fight each other with spells and summoned creatures.

Wait, that sounds awesome! Why did I never buy this?

According to Wikipedia again, it was the first video game to “make full use of video graphics cards that can process transform, clipping and lighting instructions.” You had me at “full use”.

The reason for choosing Sacrifice, aside from all the above, is partly the fault of the previous Classic Game Club pick of Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Despite my fond memories for that game, it just didn’t click with me. I wondered if I might be over RTS games, but then I realized that I need more from my RTS games these days. Sacrifice certainly has RTS elements, but it apparently does something quite different. It does away with all that resource-gathering and base-building nonsense that I’ve never really enjoyed, and it puts a greater focus on the tactical combat. Which reminds me of another favorite game of mine, Ground Control. Furthermore, the creature summoning mechanic and the completely “out there” Bosch-inspired art direction convinced me it was time at last to give Sacrifice a go.

Sacrifice is available from Good Old Games and Steam for the trifling sum of $9.99. It was clearly written with the future in mind, so there are no DOSBOX shenanigans required, and hopefully it should work out of the box. If you can’t stand horiziontal black bars on your widescreen monitor, you can force widescreen support by hacking your registry. It only affects the in-game resolution, in case you get as confused as I was about the main menu remaining resolutely unadjusted. Just for fun, the game also sometimes resets the resolution tweak when you quit the game, so if you really like widescreen you’ll soon get used to retyping those hex values into your registry. I found the best results by setting the desired graphic detail in the options first, and then editing the registry.