Stronghold 2 is a Real Time Strategy computer game released in April 2005 in which the player develops an empire in the Medieval ages. It is the sequel to Stronghold, released in 2001, also by Firefly Studios.
The game engine was enhanced over the original Stronghold to provide full 3-dimensional graphics. Other changes include new military and peace campaigns and the addition of crime and punishment, allowing players to torture unruly peasants. A number of new characters were also introduced.
In the game, the player plays as a knight who rules over a medieval castle. With his available resources, the player places building or features, including many different kinds of food production, industry, civil, or military buildings and defences. Available peasants automatically choose jobs whenever a building requires one, so player micromanagement is minimal, he mostly needs to set up the various buildings in an efficient way while providing safety for his peasants. Military units are directly controlled individually or in groups, sometimes quite large with sieges or battles involving many hundreds on each side. One welcome addition to the original stronghold is the inclusion of estates, that a player can "buy" with his accumulated honor (gained by popularity, holding feasts, dances, jousting, etc.). Estates are semi-independent villages (without castle fortifications) that produce their own goods that the owner can send through carts to his castle or his allies.
The inclusion of fully 3D-rendered graphics allowed Stronghold 2 to include tower interiors as battlegrounds for units, and the ability to go observe castle inhabitants very closely, which is useful considering the new features of waste & rat management. As in the original Stronghold, players can choose very different styles of play modes: Kingmaker, Siege, War Campaign, Peace Campaign, Freeplay, Custom scenario, and in Multiplayer (Hosted by Gamespy
The story is set in the Medieval ages, Sir William recruits Matthew Steele (the player) as his page. Sir William was captured by unknown enemies but was later saved by Steele. Managing to escape, Sir William and Steele returned to his encampment. Sir William then teaches Steele how to manage his own town and castle (as you progress you can upgrade your encampment with better fortifications) he assigns you two non-playable advisers who guide you through the rest of the game. (1) Tom Simpkins who guides you economically, giving advice such as "build a number of farms to produce food". (2) Constable Briggs who guides you in battle by warning about attacks and advising on strategy in sieges and such. At the time of Steele being taught how to run a successful town, Olaf, leader of the Norse led his army to the lands where people had settled. During that time, Steele has to find a way to escape Olaf's army. After he defeats Olafs troops Sir William then takes him to the castle of Lady Seren aka the lamb, were you then have to siege the keep and free Edwin (aka An English Traitor), Edwin then makes you a knight and gives you some land for the next mission. When you arrive in the borderlands you see that there are many problems there, one being that Sir Grey is under siege, some monks are being trapped by wolfs, and there are many bandits harassing the towns. After you relieve the monks, Sir Grey, deal with the bandits, and assault the Bull, you go back to the monastery, only to find Olaf entrenched in a fortress there. When Olaf's fortress is leveled, you are attacked by Edwin. You track Olaf to Edwin's county. There you kill Olaf, conquer six or more counties, and kill Edwin. Shortly after you move into Edwin's castle, you are assaulted by the Hawk, Lamb, and Hammer. In the midst of battle, Seren changes sides. When the enemy is defeated, you are posed with a choice. Follow the Hawk and the Hammer, or the Lamb and William.
- Matthew Steele, former page of Sir William, aids in the search for the King.
- A very strong lord
- He declares peace with bull when he built a small castle
- Color of troops: Red
- The former master of Matthew, was to be married to Lady Seren, he would do anything for the King. Also the brother of Pascal, strangely, even though they are related by blood, Pascal has a French accent, and William does not.
- William is slain in the Green Path in the siege of his fortress.
- Color of troops: Dark red
Player's advisor, warns when under attack, engages in dialogue, advises when the player does not have enough gold, or what to build.
Player's military advisor, campaign only, warns when under attack. Gives strategies when in battle.
Lady Seren (a.k.a. "The Lamb")
- Was to be married to William, aids in their quest to aid the king.
- Color of troops: Pink
- In the Green Path Seren is killed in the siege of the Abbey.
- In the Green Path, Sir Grey is killed in the battle for Sir Williams castle.
- Senior commander, fought the longest in the war, constantly needs aid when under attack, but also supplies the troops and estates to fight in the war, dies when Lord Barclay shoots him with a crossbow.
- Color of troops: Grey
Leader of a group of monks in the monastery. Helps build things.
Non-campaign character. Presumably the wife of the King.
- Main reason for fighting in the first six chapters, was poisoned by the Hawk, had to run away when the Hawk disbanded the Royal Guard.
- In the Green Path, the King meets his fate in To Capture a King.
- Color of troops: Purple
English traitor. Also a coward, tends to be the weakest character in the game. Edwin has Poor Castle management skills. Works for the Hammer.
Colour of troops: Yellow
Lord Barclay AKA The Hammer
Strongest opponent in the game. Tends to not care about his subordinates, fights to take over the crown. Fights with hammer and uses crossbow.
Colour of troops: Green
Angus McLoud AKA The Bull
Scottish clan leader. Crest is the Scottish Flag
Colour of troops: Blue
Pascal Deverauex AKA The Hawk
One of The Hammer's main subordinates. Responsible for poisoning the King. Brother of William. Fights with Mace.
Colour of troops: Light Blue
The last Viking
warlord. Uses mainly berserkers
and axe throwers. Tends to build a circular wooden fortress.
Colour of troops: Orange, hires mercenaries.
Like Stronghold 1, there are no factions due to the lack of variety within the units. All military units must be purchased with gold and weapons, excluding monastery units and mercenaries.
Most important unit in the game, can easily take on any unit, should he fall, the game is lost. Can ride on horseback
Cost: 5 gold.
Armed with only a pitchfork
, this weak unit is good for finding traps set by the enemy and can be good for destroying wooden walls if not under heavy fire.
Cost: 8 gold, spear
Armed with a spear, the spearman is good primarily for filling in moats
and cutting down wooden walls. From Birmingham
Cost:10 gold, bow, 2 honor.
With good range and accuracy, the archer can shoot down non-armored units with good speed. They are Geordies.
Cost: 20 gold, crossbow
, leather armor, 2 honor.
Slow to move and reload, the crossbowman takes time to move, but is very good at taking down units with metal armor.
Cost: 20 gold, mace
, leather armor, 1 honor.
Fast and strong, these brutish folk are ideal for assault units. Weak against arrows.
Cost: 20 gold, pike
, metal armor, 2 honor.
Overall a useful unit. Faster than swordsmen, tougher than macemen, and relatively strong.
No particular advantages or setbacks.
Cost: 40 gold, sword, metal armor, 8 honor.
Best hand to hand fighter excluding knights, and the lord, these footsoldiers can clear walls and hack down poorly armed units.
Cost: 200 gold, sword, metal armor, 50 honor.
Can ride on horseback, strong, and can easily take on any unit. Great for raiding enemy estates.
Cost: 30 gold.
Required to man any siege device, the engineer can both defend and assault a castle. When left alone near a broken wall, he will bring resources from the Storage to fix it.
Cost: 4 gold.
Brave and fast, these plucky units can provide access to castle walls for other units. Once he puts up the ladder, he will run to the siege camp, or engineer's guild to receive another one. Though very useful, lack armour and can easily be taken down by missile units. Note: Ladders set up on walls can be destroyed by melee units.
The siege camp can be placed on any estates. It offers the same as an Engineer's Guild, along with Trebuchets, Laddermen, Cats, Mantlets, Battering Rams, Burning Carts and Siege Towers. Thus making it an essential part of your attack. They also have reasonably high health and can survive longer than you would think.
Cost: 25 gold, 1 honor.
Armed only with a staff, these monks take off time from their homes to defend their monastery. Very strong, only lacks armor.
Cost: 1 gold, 10 honor.
Armed with a sword, shield and armor, these tough monks can take down their opposition.
Cost: 40 gold.
Comes to battle with a boat and axe, these Celtic
warriors have a specialty to cross water easily on the boats they carry on their backs.
Cost: 60 gold.
With a supply of javelins and a sword, these bandits are invisible in the woods and are suitable for ambushing. Speaks with a French accent.
Cost: 100 gold.
With a limitless supply of axes, these deadly Scousers can hack down any unit with no metal armor. Shorter range than the regular archers.
Cost: 10 gold, 50 honor.
These thieves are not made for combat but for stealing gold from the enemy's treasury. Disguised as a farmer, they can be uncovered by guards. They can also be revealed if the player clicks on them and selects "uncover". Speaks with an English tone.
Remember, watch your farmers for suspicious behavior!
Cost: 40 gold, 2 honor.
Being the fastest unit in the game, these light cavalry can take down siege weapons. Hails from Wales (hence the Welsh accent)
Cost: 80 gold, 2 honor.
These Arabian horse archers can fire on the move, unlike other games of this genre.
Cost: 100 gold, 200 honor.
These specialist elite units are invisible to the enemy at long to medium range, and can deal terrible damage. Has the useful tool of a grappling hook which enables them to climb over walls. Note:(Can not be used in King Maker)
Cost: 80 gold.
Armed with a double headed axe, these Viking warriors deal out tremendous damage and have a good speed.
Free build mode
In this mode, the player is alone on one of the included maps or a map the player has downloaded or created. The land is free of enemies unless wolves or barbarians are included. The map will not feature any more other factions unless a map was created for free mode where there is another faction existing. Also, if the button F1 is pressed, the player can trigger an invasion of any selectable size to test the player's stronghold.
The player can play either the Fallen King campaign or the Sim campaign, depending on his/her style of gameplay. For more details, check the Storyline section.
Technical problems and patches
Upon its release, many players reported frequent crashes, slow framerates(even while playing offline with more than adequate hardware), and overall buggyness. Firefly Studios promised to address the problems in later patches. Soon after, patch 1.1 was released which fixed some issues. Complaints continued, however, until patch 1.2 was released.
On October 28, 2005, a third patch (1.3.1) was released, further fixing bugs and adding similar components to that of Stronghold and Stronghold: Crusader, such as "Conquest Trail".
On September 11, 2007, patch (1.4) was announced on the Stronghold 2 fan site, Stronghold2 Heaven. An additional update (1.4.1) added additional bug fixes. More information on this patch can be found at http://stronghold.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forum/display.cgi?action=ct&f=18,3363,,30
On January 4
, a single player demo was released, featuring the tutorial and a three missions, equivalent to one chapter. The problems were already patched in the demo making it immune to the majority of bugs and crashes which plagued the original release before the patch.