|Myth II: Soulblighter|
Official 1998 North American release box art featuring Soulblighter (center), a Berserk (left) and a Ghol (right).
Myth II: Soulblighter is a 1998 real-time tactics computer game for the PC and Macintosh developed by Bungie. It is a sequel to Myth: The Fallen Lords and second game in the Myth series, release on November 30, 1998. The game was later released in 1999 with an expansion entitled Myth II: Chimera, along with the first game in Myth: The Total Codex. The game was later ported to Linux by Loki Software. An additional game entitled Green Berets: Powered by Myth II set during the Vietnam War was powered by the Myth II engine in 2001.
The features include an improved graphics engine, new multiplayer maps and units, along with an all new story and campaign. The story takes place after the events in The Fallen Lords, with Balor’s former ally Soulblighter once again bringing conflict to the lands of Myth.
Like the previous installment, Myth II is a real-time tactics game where players are given a pre-determined selection of units with their own strengths and weakness, without the option to recruit any further units later in battle, emphasizing the tactics aspect of the gameplay.
In both single and multiplayer games, players can utilize units in different way such as combat formations and special abilities and making use of terrain. While some units from the previous Myth retain their special abilities such as the Dwarf satchel charge and Journeyman healing, other past units like the Bowmen are able to fire a secondary fire arrow that can set the targeted area aflame damaging nearby units and can use a knife as a last resort when in close combat. While some other units for both the Light and Dark sides aren’t present in Soulblighter such as the Forest Giants and Myrmidons, new units are made available such as Dwarven Mortars and the Myrkridians, previously only mentioned in The Fallen Lords. The previously Dark Trow are also made available for use by the Light, being classed as unaligned.
The single player campaign is only playable from the perspective of the Light, through a series of both linear and non-linear laid out levels, with end of level stats and individual unit kill counts and prevalence still present, along with the option to play cooperatively in multiplayer through online or local network.
60 years after the Great War and the fall of Balor the Leveler, the remaining armies of The Province led by Alric have managed to restore their lands, with the once fallen city of Madrigal now standing as the capital. The forces of the Dark are only a few scattered remnants, however, the fate of Balor's general - Soulblighter, remains unknown.
The story is then told through a series of Journal entries from a lone soldier who is part of a small contingency of The Legion led by Commander Crüniac. While on a routine patrol and passing through the town of Tallow, The Legion is asked to investigate reports of grave robbing. At first little is thought of the matter, likely the work of wild dogs looking for a meal, but Cruniac agrees to look into the matter. The Legion continues it's patrol until they reach the town of Willow Creek, where they saw smoke rising from the town. Originally believing to find the town being raided by bandits, they discover it is actually swarming with undead ghasts. After clearing the town and barely saving a mere handful of villagers from the undead's clutches, The Legion were informed that brigands had taken some of the villagers hostage at an old cemetery. Launching a rescue mission, The Legion was able to save the hostages from both the brigands and from ghasts rising from their graves. Back at Willow Creek, one of the village elders named Rurik revealed that he had information about who was behind the graverobbing.
Plans were made to escort Rurik back to Tallow but during the night, Willow Creek was attacked again. The Legion fends off the increasing attacks, now more disturbing when Soulless and Ghols show up along the outskirts. Leaving some men behind to protect the vllage, The Legion escorts Rurik back to Tallow. Evading ambushes from the undead along the way, they arrive at Tallow where Rurik reveals to the mayor that the instances of grave robbing lead back to Keep Kildaer, ruled by the sinister Baron Kildaer.
A plan is made to deal with the Baron and his minions and after linking up with some reinforcements, The Legion head to the keep. Encamped on the outskirts, The Legion bear witness to a massive army of Thrall marching out of the gates. Cruniac believes they are heading for Tallow and sent a runner to warn the town. At dawn, The Legion makes their move and lay siege to the Keep. Fighting their way to the Keep, the drawbridge was raised, denying them entry, However, Cruniac had an ace up his sleeve. The dwarven pathfinder Jari, son of the legendary pathfinder Balin, infiltrates the keep and sabotages the drawbridge mechanism. Crüniac’s forces storm the courtyard and gain control of the outer regions. The Narrator praises Cruniac's tactical skill in his journal. Cruniac then suddenly attacks one of the guards they capture, nearly strangling him to death. However, this seems to release the guard from a mind control enchantment. The Guard then reveals that inside the keep were secret passages that the Baron will use to evade them. Cruniac leads a detachment inside the keep to hunt down the Baron, fighting room to room before trapping the Baron and executing him for his crimes.
This victory was short-lived, however. The runner returned bearing grave news. Tallow and every other town east of the CloudSpine and west of Forest Heart had been razed by the undead and now they were returning to the keep. Cruniac then orders The Legion to fall back to the Cloudspine, to Gonen's bridge. He and some men will stay behind to raze the keep to deny it to the enemy. Phrased up as Cruniac puts it, "Leave it for the torches, lads. And make haste for Gonen.".
In this pursuit, Crüniac is seen running like hell back to The Legion calling for an immediate retreat. When his Sergeant, Garrick, caught up to find out what was going on, Cruniac collapsed. Upon examination, Cruniac had been holding his guts in with his shield. Cruniac died soon after, his last words were of the color guard who died trying to save him even though Soulblighter had delivered the killing blow. This was news beyond anything they could have thought possible. Soulblighter, the most terrible of the Fallen Lords and Balor's right hand man, had returned. Garrick retrieves from Cruniac's belongings during his quick buriel a Journal taken from the Baron’s library, the Journal of a soldier who fought in the Great War sixty years prior (being the same who narrated the plot in The Fallen Lords). The Legion narrowly manages to escape Soulblighter's forces, crossing Gonen's Bridge and destroying it to impede the enemy from following them. It is agreed among The Legion that they had to get to Madrigal as soon as possible, but it would take months to get there on foot. However, there was a World Knot located on the other side of the Cloudspine, the same one that The Legion's predecessors had destroyed during the Great War. Luckily, The dwarves were able to repair it and The Legion eludes Soulblighter once more.
King Alric is informed of Soulblighter's return upon The Legion's arrival and so he immediately sends the Seventh Legion to Scales, to hunt down Soulblighter's army and destroy it before it could get any larger. Alric assumes that Soulblighter is searching for a man known as The Summoner. The Summoner had been foretold that he would resurrect the Myrkridia in The Total Codex. Alric sends a detachment of The Legion to Covenant's great library to recover the Codex, hoping that they could use it to find The Summoner before Soulblighter can. Upon arrival, it is clear that Soulblighter already had his forces in the city intent on the same thing. The Legion manage to defend the library long enough for the Codex to be recovered and then hurriedly fled the city via it's World Knot and escaped death's clutches for a third time.
Weeks pass, and it is clear that Soulblighter had eluded the Seventh Legion and could not be stopped for some unknown reason. The cities of Scales, Covenant and Tyr had all fallen to him. A report from survivors from Tyr bring a foreboding message. One of them had been brought before a woman afflicted so much by injury and age that he had turned from her repulsed. He then promptly had eyes gouged out and left with a message, telling Alric that his nightmare had just begun, and was then released to stumble of the city. Alric was unsettled by this message and he ordered what was left of the West's forces to head to the city of Tandem in the north, gathering as many men as they could along the way. Alric led a rearguard at Madrigal to make sure that no one is left behind. It was at Madrigal that the reason for Soulblighter's invincibility was discovered. The Myrkridia, nightmare incarnate flesh-eaters from a time long past, had been resurrected and set loose on the world once more. Suffering appalling casualties at the Myrkridia's claws, Alric and his surviving men manage to escape with the ship Deliverance. During the retreat, Alric saw an old enemy. Standing in the horde and gloating over her victory was Shiver, one of the Fallen Lords.
The situation was grim. Soulblighter had returned, resurrected the Myrkridia and Shiver and had razed most of the west with little opposition.
Alric and The Legion arrive at White Falls, where Alric plans to hold Soulblighter at bay while the Free Cities of the North prepare for him, only to find that the fort there had been captured by Soulblighter's forces. A beach invasion is quickly launched to recapture White Falls and within the hour White Falls is back in their hands.
Seeing how Soulblighter now had an advantage over the West, Alric came up with a plan that will fight fire with fire. He proposes finding the avatara Myrdred, better known as the fallen lord The Deceiver after Balor turned him to his will. Although he did fight alongside Balor during the Great War, he held no love or loyalty to the rest of the fallen. His constant clashes with his rival, The Watcher, was evidence enough.
An expedition from The Legion was sent to find The Deceiver, meeting up with the Journeyman, Twelve Motion Jewelled Skull, who would guide them to where they think The Deciever is located, somewhere on the Cloudspine. It was decided that it would save time if they cut through the Ermine, the fir'Bolg's homeland. However, during the night the expedition was attacked repeatedly by the Ermine's other inhabitants, the bloodthirsty Bre'unnor who had intentions of sacrificing them to their god. The Legion was able to fend off the constant attacks and managed to survive the night before heading off to the Cloudspine.
The Legion braves the perilous trek up the mountains northernmost pass, The Stair of Grief, as Twelve motion guides them to a specific spot on a frozen river. Twelve motion explains of what happened to The Deceiver at the end of the Great War. The Deceiver was pursued here by the remnants of the West's armies and was plunged into the raging torrent of melted snow and ice brought upon by the eruption of Tharsis. The Deceiver had been swept down stream while his scepter, the focus of his power, sank to the bottom. The Deceiver had since been frozen in a half-death in the river that now formed into Angurvedal Glacier, clinging to life through sorcery alone with no power left to free himself. It is hoped by Alric that he was revived and his scepter returned to him that he would join their cause. However this plan was under jeoperdy as scouts had reported hulking figures lurking about in the storms. Plans are made, setting up ambush sites throughout the pass to give Twelve Motion enough time to recover The Deceiver's scepter. The Legion engages Soulblighter's forces, now augmented by the hulking savages know as Mauls, and stall them long enough as Twelve Motion finally recovered the scepter. The Legion makes a hasty march away from the enemy to Angurvadal Glacier, The Decievers icy tomb.
However, as The Legion struggles thorugh the horrendous blizzards and storms, there was another unexpected party on the mountains. Scouts reported of an odd group of men lurking about on the glacier. From their description, Twele Motion recognised them as the Warlocks of the Scholomance, allies of The Deciever and collaberators of the Fallen Lords. Now The Legion knew for certain that The Deceiver was here. Soulblighter's forces had also arrived on the glacier, despite the horrendous weather and the best efforts of The Legion at covering their tracks. It was unlikely that he was trying to enlist The Deciever into joining him and was likely going to have him executed rather then let him be a threat. The Legion comes up with a cunning plan to revive The Deciever. The Berserks would lead Soulblighter's minions right into the Warlocks' clutches and sneak through the ensuing chaos to The Deciever. The Deceiever is revived and he transports The Legion and his Warlocks away from the battle.
The Deciever had brought The Legion to the Twelve Duns and to the trow city of Rhi'Ornin. The Deciever claims to be held in high regard by the trow as a being of 'Furor Poeticus' and believe he can win the trow to their cause. The trow, on the other hand, believed that humanity was not a race worth fighting for, owing to their defeats against Connacht during the Wind Age and The Legion during the Great War, but they agreed to aid them for one year if The Legion could defeat them in a game. The Legion accepts the challenge, which was a game of holding the majority of six flags planted around the city, and won, winning the aid of the trow.
The expedition travels south and they rejoin the rest of The Legion, and their comrades were surprised to see the trow accompanying them. Garrick, The Legion's new commander after Cruniac's death, informs them of events back in the west. Shiver and her army attacked White Falls as expected and they held her at bay for more then a month until the seventh legion, who had manage to make it north, flanked her from behind and their combined forces decimated Shiver's army, causing her to retreat. The victory was shortlived as Shiver returned with an army of Myrkridia and, despite their best efforts, White Falls fell to Shiver. Now Tandem's fall was inevitable.
King Alric had decided on a new course of action. The Legion must capture the ancient ruins of Muirthemne. The reason for this plan is unknown as the ruins held no strategic benefit, but The Legion goes ahead with the plan. Scouts report that a great number of Fetch and Myrkridia led by the shade Herod were roaming the city, likely to deny anyone a place of refuge. The trow are sent towards the city, rendezvousing with dwarven mortar troopers who parachuted into the city and they proceed to the city wall, doging incoming cannon fire and fighting roaming myrkridian packs. Reaching the walls, the dwarves demolish a weakend section and allowed the trow to advance and wipe out the occupying horde, killing Herod in the process and more dwarven troops parachute to secure the city.
Upon securing the city, Alric revealed the reason for this decision. He intended to find the Ibis Crown of the Cath Bruig and, with it's immense powers, be able to defeat Soulblighter once and for all. The Crown was thought lost when Balor destroyed Muirthemne a century ago but it was revealed to be hidden somewhere in the Mausolium of Clovis. Although entering the catacombs was tantamount to a death sentance, a band of volunteers chose to enter the crypt. The party encountered many dangers in the catacombs, foremost being the ghosts of the dead who protect the crypt from intruders, but they were finally able to recover the crown and also uncovered Balmung, a powerful magical sword and one of the Artifacts of Power.
A ceremony was then held in the ruins of the place as Alric was crowned as the new emperor of the Cath Bruig Empire. The Journeymen, after a hundred years of self imposed penence for being absent during the fall of their city, threw down the tiles that hung round their necks and swore fealty to their new emperor. The Journeymen were no more and the Heron Guard, the elite warriors of the empire and the emperor's bodyguards, were reborn. but in typical fashion, an army of Myrkrida arrived to reclaim the city and the Heron Guard were given their chance of redemption. After a long and brutal battle for the walls, The Legion is victorious.
Meanwhile, The Deceiver led a contingent of troops to Forest Heart. He is searching for a shard of the Tain, shattered by the Avatara Murgen when Soulblighter used it on The Legion during the Great War, with the intent on entering its maze of caverns to hunt down the Summoner who had been slowly ressurrecting the Myrkridian race. It turned out that Soulblighter found The Summoner in the town of Strand, the Narrator's home town, and instead of simply searching for him, Soulblighter tortured and killed nearly every soul within days march of that ill fated city. After several days of searching without success, many of The Legion were thinking that they would never find it but The Deceiver dismissed them, claiming that he could hear it calling to him. The Legion encounters Soulblighters minions in Forest Heart, no doubt guarding a shard. The Legion finally finds one after battling their way through the ancient forest and they enter the Tain. The Deceiver and The Legion navigate thier way through the caverns, not fully whole and filled with voids of emptiness after being shattered, fighting their way past Giant Spiders and Soulblighter's forces. They eventually find the Summoner, at the Skull Platform where the Myrkridian banner once stood, and executed him. Now the Myrkridia could no longer be resurrected and Soulblighter's edge was gone.
Unfortunately, in what can only be described as a poorly thought out attack, The Deciever teleports himself and The Legion right into Soulblighter's camp. Despite literally having the element of surprise, The Deciever and The Legion are captured and imprisoned. The Deciever himself was imprisoned within a magical elemental constructs' claws. The Legion are locked up in crude prison cells with other soldiers of the West. They learn that Soulblighter had crushed all resistance in the West and he was moving to retake Muirthemne. Soulblighter was busying himself with torturing captives while The Legion pondered how to escape. Their salvation came from an unexpected source. The shade Phelot, the one who had decimated the town of Avon's Grove during the Great War, sets a cell of Legion troops free. These troopers managed to set free the rest of their comrades and other prisoners held captive. They manage to release The Deceiver and they all confront Soulblighter. Soulblighter doesn't appear to be concerned with this, even mocking The Deceiver, and The Deciever promptly engaged Soulblighter. Not expecting The Deciever to be as, if not more, powerfull without his link to Balor, Soulblighter flees the area in his murder of crows. The Deciever however manages to shoot down one of the crows, crippling Soulblighter and ridding him of this power.
During their escape from the prison, The Legion stumbles upon a large assembly area. Mountains of satchel charges, likely pillaged from Stonehiem, herds of Wights and barrels full of razor sharp shrapnel littered the area. Not planning to let this discovery go to waste, The Legion destroys everything in this area, much to the accompanying dwarves' delight, denying Soulblighter of much of his resources.
The Legion met up with some of their comrades stationed at Lesotho Dam, with The Deceiver bragging about his victory against Soulblighter, brandishing the dead crow like a trophy. Alric and the rest of The Legion were busy engaging Shiver far down river and Soulblighter intends on destroying the dam to drown them all in a massive flood. The Deciever leaves to warn Alric, commanding those present to defend the dam. The Legion repels the attacks, preventing Soulblighter from wiping out everything down river in one stroke.
Shiver, having been beaten by The Legion, fled into the maze of ravines south of Silvermines, sending armys of Thrall meant more as a distraction then a threat. The Deceiver in the mean time had been screaming for Shiver's blood and so he and an elite group of heroes were sent to finish her off once and for all. They encountered Shiver, who mocked The Deceiver as being 'Alric's lap dog'. The Deceiver counters with a witty remark and Shiver retreats further into the ravine, sending wave upon wave of thrall and myrkridia upon them. They fight their way through the maze, causing much destruction before they cornered Shiver and whats left of her Myrkridian army. Shiver, having all she could take from The Deceiver, orders Phelot to deal with him. But in a twist of fate, Phelot revealed to be allied with The Deceiver all along and he annihilates Shiver's army while The Deceiver enages her in a climactic battle. Shiver is destroyed by The Deceiver's magics but she left a final treacherous surprise for him. The Deceiver was then killed in a savage backlash of energy from Shiver's death, sealing the fate of the two Fallen Lords.
Alric and The Legion engaged Soulblighter and his army and have now cornered him at Tharsis. Alric, with the Ibis Crown's magics empowering him and Balmung's lightning bolts eradicating undead and myrkridia alike, Soulblighter is pushed back to the base of the volcano. Alric and Soulblighter face off in a ring of fire, taunting eachother on the subject of loyalty before duelling. Alric and Soulblighter fought hard and brutal but in the end, weakend by his defeat against The Deceiver, Soulblighter fled into Tharsis. Knowing that he would not be able to survive, Soulblighter plans a last suicidal feint against Alric and the Light by shattering the Cloudspine mountain range, an act that would cause widespread devastation over the land. Soulblighter, like Balor before him, 'seeked not to conquer but to destroy. To be master of the unthinking dead and their blasted lands'. Alric, knowing full well that Soulblighter isn't finished yet, led a band of troops into the volcano to kill Soulblighter once and for all. Navigating through the hellish volcanic interior and fighting any of Soulblighter's minions that are left, they eventually track Soulblighter down on a ledge over the core, known as the Eye of Tharsis. Soulblighter, channeling his spell, defiantly and possibly insanely claims that he had killed the whole world. Alric corrects him, stating that he had only killed himself. Alric counters Soulblighters spell with one of his own and breaks the ledge Soulblighter was standing on. Soulblighter went falling into the Eye of Tharsis, burning into ash, disintergrating in the molten magma and causing Tharsis to erupt once more. Alric and his men narrowly escape Tharsis' eruption but now the war was over.
Soulblighter was dead and now the Fallen Lords were no more.
The journal writer/narrator concludes that man once again rebuilds his land and speaks of the cycle of the Leveler, that he is never dead, but only returns as a different form every millennium. Soulblighter, however, was not the Leveler as he tried to force to cycle at his own peril and as a result might have even broken the cycle. Whether or not this outcome is true is still unknown.
In 2000, Bungie was bought by Microsoft. Take 2 had owned 19.9% of Bungie, and in the purchase, Take 2 was given the rights to the yet to be released game, Oni, and the Myth Series. At this time, Bungie open sourced the meta server code.
After Bungie.net was shut down, in March, 2002, the remaining players flocked to the new PlayMyth.net, which was run by Blades. There were other alternatives, such as Mariusnet, a server reverse engineered during the TFL era, which supported both games, or Game Ranger a mac game matching system.
On October 2nd, 2007, PlayMyth.net was taken offline, and Mariusnet became the main online server for Myth. On June 2013, Mariusnet experienced technical issues and a new server emerged. GateofStorms.net became the main online server for Myth II.
Sometime in 2003, a group of Myth players/modders with an inside connection to Take 2 were able to strike a deal, signing a contract, they were able to get ahold of the Myth 1/2/3 source code, in game models and rights to continue to update the game, and not give out the source code. The group of people included Clem, Blades and SomeLoser.
The group, along with the mapmaking group, The Underdogs and their Magma Project joined forces to form "MythDev" and released a few updates to Myth II. Later on, MythDev had internal struggles and fell apart, forming two smaller groups.; Project Magma, and FlyingFlip.
Myth II Installer bugEdit
Due to a short beta testing time, Myth II was produced with a bug in it; this bug would, if the user was using a PC, with the hard drive with a certain name, it would erase all the contents of the drive. Having found it before it actually shipped, Bungie decided they had 3 options. A) Do nothing. B) Issue a recall. C) Or send people to every store and replace the CDs that were bugged. They ended up deciding to admit to it, and go with option C. This cost them around $800,000, nearly the cost it took them to develop the entire game.
|PC Gamer US||88%|
Myth II continues to have a supportive fanbase. Although Bungie no longer develops the code, they have released the code to a limited set of programmers for continued development. While the game is over a decade old, new releases are still being developed, and hosted at The Tain.