Spellcross is a turn-based strategy game developed by Slovak company Cauldron HQ. It was originally released in 1997 in Czech, with an English release the following year. The game sadly received very little attention due to lack of advertisement and limited availability, and sold poorly.
The game has a rather unique premise. It puts the player in the role of a commander of a modern Earth military under the head of a united humanity, the World Alliance, fighting against an invasion from another world. The Alliance has many familiar names in their unit roster, such as the M1 Abrams and Hind attack helicopter. The invaders, however, known as the Forces of Darkness, are straight out of Tolkien and Gygax. The might of our bullets, rockets, and bombs will be tested against their nimble elves, masterful warlocks, and ancient dragons.
In gameplay terms, Spellcross is quite similar to X-Com. You get a strategic map, showing which areas you control and where you can attack. Areas under your control give you money every turn, which you can use to buy new units, refit/replenish existing units, and do research into the enemy's magical capabilities and new weapons to counter them. When you get into a battle - whether because you attack a territory or yours is attacked - you select which units you want to bring along and enter the tactical map. There, your units get a set number of action points each turn, which you can use to move and/or attack with as you see fit.
What's this about recruiting?
Spellcross allows you to rename your units, on a per-unit basis. In the fine tradition of LPs of games that allow for this, I will be accepting goon-submitted unit names. Each unit consists of 10-100 soldiers, depending on unit type, so for narrative purposes, this will be treated as the submitter being the unit leader. For more details, check the "Enlist in the World Alliance" post.
Please don't talk about things that haven't been revealed during the LP yet. This includes units, maps, plot developments, etc. The exception of this is that I may mention things that we haven't seen yet in non-update posts. Feel free to ask or speculate about these if you're curious.
Table of Contents
Mission 1: Escape
Chapter 1: The First Victory
Mission 2: The First Victory
Mission 3: Orcs Plus One
Mission 4: Eviction Notice
Mission 5: Then We'll Fight In The Shade
Mission 6: Ow, My Skin
Chapter 2: Border Line
Mission 7: No, It Doesn't Have Hobbits
Mission 8: Spear Fishing
Mission 9: Turkey Shoot
Mission 10: Skeleton Warriors
Mission 11: Try Saying "Anti-Tank Arrows" With A Straight Face
Mission 12: Cremation
Mission 13: Orc Recycling Center
Mission 14: The Liberation of Europe
Chapter 3: Bloody Desert
Mission 15: Desert Storm
Mission 16: Saving Major Davidson
Mission 17: Oh Good Gravy, They Have Tanks!
Mission 18: Two Words Combined That Can't Make Sense
Mission 19: Blood For Oil
Mission 20: Stones And Bones
Mission 21: Like Wolves Out Of Hell
Mission 22: The Titular Desert
Chapter 4: In the Eye of the Storm
Mission 23: Just Like Old Times
Missions 24 and 25: The New Guys
Mission 26: Mind Games
Mission 27: It's All Uphill From Here
Mission 28: Zoinks!
Mission 29: Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good
Mission 30: Fireballs Can Melt Steel Tanks
Mission 31: Hell Riders in the Sky
Mission 32: The Art Of War
Mission 33: Turning Point
Chapter 5: Dark Road
Mission 34: The Long Haul
Mission 35: Sixteen Tons
Mission 36: An Eye in the Sky
Mission 37: The Prototype
Mission 38: Bug Hunt
Mission 39: Hellfire
Mission 40: It Came From the Mountain
Mission 41: Angry Birds
Chapter 6: Fire And Death
Mission 42: Ride of the Valkyries
Mission 43: Cleaning Up Other People's Messes Once Again
Mission 44: Dragoth's Moving Castle
Mission 45: Ghost Town
Mission 46: Gray Goo
Mission 47: Would You Like To Know More?
Mission 48: Storming the Castle
Mission 49: A Dance With Dragons
Mission 50: The Enemy's Gate Is Down (Part 1)
Mission 50: The Enemy's Gate Is Down (Part 2)
Chapter 7: Damned Plains of Shammara
Mission 51: Welcome to the Jungle
Mission 52: Pincer Strike
Mission 53: The Destructor
Mission 54: Throwback
Mission 55: Fortress of Mystery
Mission 56: Orc Against Orc
Mission 57: Closing the Loop
Mission 58: Death Valley
Mission 59: Enemy at the Gate
Chapter 8: The Amulet of Hope
Mission 60: Scavenger Hunt
Mission 61: Rip and Tear
Mission 62: Fury Road
Mission 63: Tomb Raiding
Mission 64: Second Verse, Same as the First
Mission 65: Fallen Angels
Chapter 9: Armageddon
Mission 66: Highway to Hell
Mission 67: Ragnarok
Capilarean posted this cover art, which is just too metal not to include in the OP:
The original Czech release of Spellcross included extensive narration and cutscenes that were either heavily abbreviated for the English translation or omitted entirely. Luckily, AnilEHilated found the original cutscenes on Youtube and translated them for the thread's benefit. Throughout the thread, I'll be posting his transcripts at the points in the story where they become relevant (full disclaimer, by the way - I've edited these to fix the occasional typo). Bear in mind, though, that I wrote the narrative for this LP without the benefit of these, so my story may diverge from them at times. You can follow along by watching the original cutscenes here, but they're all in one video, so be careful if you want to avoid spoilers.
Here is the game's introduction:
Oh, I can do that. Not vouching for the quality of the translation, obviously. Note that the whole thing is narrated in an extremely bombastic and pathetic way which I'm trying to keep here.
Let's see: intro:
It was suddenly and completely unexpected: the world just began to awaken to new perspectives of the next millenium when it shook with a wave of environmental catastrophes.
Tidal waves tens of meters in height are whipping the coasts, devastating unprotected cities. Terrible earthquakes and storms finalize the total and utter destruction. (
The apocalypse is coming.
And then the world got flooded by hordes...
(switch to a portal, then skeleton)
The Earth is struck by waves of panic and terror. Under the cover of impenetrable fog, the merciless bloodthirsty hordes advance. The hosts of bloodthirsty (yup, again) inhuman beasts are led by mysterious black-cloaked figures. Their lightning, used as a terrifying weapon, massacres everyone who dares stand against them. Hosts of undead leave their graves and their only thought is to kill. The unknown enemy is determined to destroy everything. Only slowly and with considerable effort do countries of the whole world reveal the enemy's true identity...
(advancing orcs, then fire)
Raiders resembling embodied nightmares massacre the civil populace. Territories are abandoned with millions of people unaccounted for. No one can help them, the roads are flooded by hundreds of thousands of refugees, most countries are in flames: the wildfire of war and catastrophe threatens to devour the entire world.
(a map with arrows, eventually drowned in blood)
The military situation is chaotic. Combatants are hard-pressed to save their very lives, the mysterious enemy uses natural disasters as weapons. Tempests, hailstorms and floods mercilessly obliterate every sign of resistance. Only a few brave souls are trying to fight their way out of the hell of occupied territories to what remains of civilization. And even if they manage to escape, nothing good awaits them...
Chaos rules the world.
The losses of life are uncountable; knowledge of the enemy is minimal: a laconic denomination of the enemy spread around the whole world. They are called "other side". Other side. (He says it in Czech, then repeats in English)
(skip to an APC, then a demonic face)
The first spark of hope shone with the news of founding of the Earth Alliance. News of single battalions facing the enemy and emerging victorious have surfaced. It is time for desperate warriors to turn their weapons on the enemy, it is time to stop retreating. News (third time in a row!) of success from all over the world have started arriving - so far, it's a desperate fight full of frenzied killing (literal but it doesn't realy make sense in Czech either) and the tide of beasts is endless and unstoppable - is there any hope for us left?
(game title flash)
An apocalyptic war on unimaginable scale is starting. The last battle of the world has begun. Only a few were willing to admit it, but it was indubitable: Magic... has returned... to Earth!