The highly anticipated sequel to the best-selling Stronghold, Stronghold Crusader HD throws you into historic battles and castle sieges from the Crusades with fiendish AI opponents, new units, 4 historical campaigns and over 100 unique skirmish missions.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (826 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 31, 2002

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Recommended By Curators

"The highpoint of the castle-building series mixes economy with siege warfare. Some minor UI issues, outdated animations, but great game regardless."
Read the full review here.

About This Game

Journey to distant Arabian lands renowned for brave warriors and fearsome weaponry in Stronghold Crusader HD. The highly anticipated sequel to the best-selling Stronghold, Crusader throws you into historic battles from the Crusades with fiendish AI opponents, new units, 4 historical campaigns and over 100 unique skirmish missions.

Story

Relive the historic Crusades as Richard the Lionheart and the Saladin, Sultan of Syria. Lead a determined group of Crusaders, forged by centuries of barbaric warfare, amidst the haze of the desert heat then fight for your freedom as the mighty Saladin.

Stronghold Crusader HD features several campaigns documenting the First, Second and Third Crusades, as well as conflicts within the individual Crusader states. Battles such as Nicea, Heraclea, siege of Antioch, Krak des Chevaliers and the Siege of Jerusalem all feature, as do the Crusader Trails from the Stronghold Warchest and Stronghold Crusader Extreme.

HD Edition

With new high resolution graphics you have more control over your soldiers than ever before. The new HD battlefield view allows you to zoom out and play in real-time, with the whole map on one screen. Advance on the castle gates while flanking the enemy from behind, feign retreat and lead your foe into a deadly trap or just sit back and watch the destruction unfold.

Both Stronghold Crusader and Stronghold Crusader Extreme are included in Stronghold Crusader HD. Extreme plays exactly like the original Stronghold Crusader, only with a few additions. The unit cap has been increased from 1000 to a staggering 10,000 troops, special Tactical Powers such as the Arrow Volley can be used and new buildings make their appearance alongside the Crusader Extreme skirmish trail.

Features
  • Join the Crusaders or the Saladin’s forces in 4 historical campaigns.
  • Fight through 100 unique skirmish missions, each one more challenging than the last.
  • Design and build your desert fortress, with a working economy and brutal killing zones.
  • Command new units with unique abilities, such as the stealthy Assassin and nimble Horse Archer.
  • High resolution graphics allow you to view the entire map on a single screen.
  • Steam Cloud support for saved games.
  • Updated for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 compatibility.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8
    • Processor: Pentium® III 500 mhz
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 64MB DirectX 8.1 Compatible
    • DirectX: Version 8.1
    • Hard Drive: 850 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 8.1 Compatible
    • Additional Notes: GameRanger software will be installed for mutiplayer matchmaking support
Helpful customer reviews
112 of 134 people (84%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2014
"This game requires skilled engineers to play, m'lord!"
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
58 of 66 people (88%) found this review helpful
163.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2014
Feel the satisifaction of building your own castle while at the same time demolishing someone else's.
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39 of 42 people (93%) found this review helpful
40.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
*****
5 out of 5

The gaming equivalent of heaven.

Stronghold Crusader is a castle building strategy game. Whether you like castles or medieval times is irrelevant, if you like strategy games you will adore this game.

Coming off the successful 2001 hit Stronghold, Stronghold Crusader removes and improves elements of its predecessor to galore the public with a map editor and a skirmish mode, however for newcomers a game tutorial is sadly not available.
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30 of 32 people (94%) found this review helpful
18.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 10, 2014
This is a long review, so if you want a brief summary of why I recommend Stronghold Crusader skip to Results and read from there.

Firefly Studies strikes again with the best Stronghold game in the series. Stronghold Crusader is a brilliant game that mixes Castle Simulation with RTS combat, and resource management.

Story:
As the title depicts Stronghold Crusader takes place in the Crusades. You play through the Asia minor, The Middle East, as Europeans and Arabians alike. The story takes place across four campaigns where you start your journey as Emporer Alexus of the Turkish Army commands you to take ahold of Asia Minor. You spread European influence across the land, but it is short lived as the Salidan rises to power and destroys the settlements of the Europeans and claims back the lands. Unfortunately for him the crusades were not over, and the Germanic armies arrive deploying castles across Asia minor as they claim lay to the holy lands. Stronghold Crusader takes place across the first to third crusades and then creates an alternate reality that is the post-crusade wars that pit you against your worst nightmare: The Rat, The Snake, The Pig, and The Wolf.


Campaign:
Stronghold Crusader has four campaigns which teach you how to play the game from the basics to the most advanced.

The Call to Arms
Call to Arms offers five basic missions which although simple are in fact challenging in their own rights. The first mission encompasses basic castle siege, the second basic defense, the third resource management, the fourth resource massing, and the final one a more complicated castle siege. This campaign is a great way to start into the Stronghold Series as it introduces the elements of gameplay in an interesting way that keeps you entertained. Typical tutorials are rather uninteresting, but Call to Arms changes that by providing dynamic missions that introduce the game with diverse scenarios.

Saladin’s Conquest
After the conquest of Call to Arms you pick up the campaign as Salidan who is retaking the land stolen by the Europeans. All the missions in Salidan’s Conquest are sieges; these involve taking castles from the enemy. All of Salidans missions are rather simple, yet offer diversity in how you conquer your foe. You are limited on units and must use unique units to push through the enemy defenses.

The Kings Crusade
After the Salidan has kicked out most of Europe the quest continues as the third crusade picks up and its up to the Europeans to hold off their fortresses from the Salidans onslaughts. The Kings Crusade mostly focuses on castle building and defense, similar to Mission 4 of The Call to Arms. Each level provides new features which give you a better mechanism to defend you castle and equip you against an ever stronger foe until you eventually must siege castle and rebuild it from the ground up.

Crusader States
The campaign begins after the third crusade and is a fictitious rendition of what we expected after the Third Crusade ended. You play in the Middle East as lord’s squalor over various lands and it is up to you to defeat your foes. Your mission through the Middle East pits you against the foes of the past: The Rat, The Snake, The Pig, and The Wolf. The further you get into the campaign the more enemies you get pit against.


Gameplay:
Stronghold Crusader is noted as being the best Stronghold game; it took what was good from the original and expanded upon it beautifully. Stronghold Crusader is a castle simulation game, where you manage a castle politically, economically, and sociologically. You must maintain various food types, keep your people happy, while simultaneously ripping them dry for every penny they have. You need to build a well-oiled machine, but unlike most strategy games Stronghold has many resources. To build units you must obtain gold, you must build their weapons, you must provide peasant, you must feed them with various food stocks, and you must obtain the resources required to build those weapons. For all of this to occur you must keep peasants within your castle by making sure they are happy, once they start to leave your castle will crumble from within before your enemies even hit your walls.

Stronghold Crusader takes that and incorporates mercenaries, units which cost gold and require less work to obtain. Of course they cost almost triple that of a non-hired unit, but offer quick turn-around. Not only did they add mercenaries, but they included Skirmishes with AI, which allow you to play the game without playing the campaign. The AI is rather intelligent and will keep you on your toes, and not only that but the maps are designed to require intense combat. This game will make you fight over limited agrarian land and low wood stocks.

Hints:
>When you start a map drop the gamespeed to 20, this gives you loads of time to set yourself up before the match really begins.
>When playing the crusader states the game gives you sometimes up to 7.5k gold, if you drop the game-speed to 20 and place a market you can buy Maces and Leather Armor. Then quickly build an army of Macemen to take out your foes before the match can even begin. This does not work on all missions, but certainly helps.
>Bread is the easiest food to build-up. If you are trying to optimize limited farmland use wheat as its easy to mass.


Results:
Stronghold Crusader is the best castle simulation game out there right now. It offers the joy of castle simulation with the intensities of combat. I would recommend this game to anyone who is thinking about taking part in the Stronghold Series, it’s a great place to start as it will pull you right in. Stronghold Crusader is a fantastic game for castle simulation fans and real time strategy fans alike. I would recommend this buying this game even at full price, but if you can get it at a discount its worth every penny and you won’t regret it.

Pros:
+Four amazing campaigns which teach you how to play the game without being boring or repetitive.
+The AI has various levels of intelligence which makes them fun as well as challenging.
+They added mercenaries which allow you to build emergency armies quick, but cost extraordinary sums of gold.
+Finally Skirmishes have been introduced; you don’t have to play the campaign or multiplayer. You can just mess around by yourself.
+New strategic limitations, such as limited grass for agriculture which makes you consider your strategies.

Cons:
-I couldn’t minimize the game; it would minimize but not maximize (Windows 8.1)
-When playing you could not open steam overlay, one of the commands for steam overlay is a command for the games GUI display.
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26 of 29 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
35.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
Much better than Stronghold Crusader 2, unfortunately..
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
18 of 20 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 16, 2014
Another great classic among strategy games.

Definately worth looking for Medieval History enthusiasts, Age of Empires players and generally everyone that's looking forward to a well done Castle Building (quite similar to city building with a military approach) Strategy Real-Time game.
The style makes this very unique.
The music speaks for a lot, with authentic and faithfully created Arab flutes, the desert everywhere!

It's really worth it, even if the "HD" doesn't look as great as some other remakes - it works great and that's all that I personally could ask for, as there isn't that much to improve here really aside from issues with launching the game.
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57 of 89 people (64%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2014
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Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
29.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 6, 2014
PITCH needed
STONE NEEDED
not 'nough wood m'lord

Even though this game is old as ♥♥♥♥ its still better than the majority of new(er) strategies
10/10
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
189.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2014
Awesome game. Much better than Stronghold Crusader 2! If you like strategy games in medieval age then this is the game for you!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
45.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 11, 2014
Great game! Needs a lot of training to learn. Love it!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
Be sure to Google the "Stronghold Crusader Heaven" website. They have a large number of scenarios and utilities (like scenario unlockers) for this product. The unlocker also allows you to edit existing scenarios, which is almost a must-do for most people to have a chance to win the tough Extreme scenarios.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 11, 2014
feel the power one of my fav games my childhood
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
39.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 22, 2014
11/10.I have played this game since i was little,still love it.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
20.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
This game is:

10% luck
20% skill
15% concentrated power of will
5% pleasure
50% pain
100% reason to purchase this game
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
53.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2014
The best strategy game of all time. It promises a lot of fun for sure. Very recommended to buy.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
54.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 6, 2014
My first game to ever play, Stronghold Crusader-a medival strategy game. This game offers you amazing Histrorical Campaign that you have to play, also the game features Crusader Trials that are alot of fun to play. This game has an amazing OST that I enjoy to listen ever while playing other games of the same genre. Game has a Castle Builder mod and a Map Editor. Even when you think that this is the end of it, you're wrong. Stronghold Crusader also features an amazing Mutliplayer that allows up to 8 player/bot slots. I know that this game is pretty old, but it's worth buying if you like strategy games.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
63.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 24, 2014
Imagine a real-time, fast-paced strategy game where you enter the Holy Lands following an unforgiving trail of fifty crusaders – each more difficult than the last; each with different enemies, different resources, different allies and different economies. You discover and master the art of defending and storming castles – planning your every move carefully while controlling armies of men, horses, portable-shields, catapults and more in the hundreds. Now, realize that the game in question, Stronghold Crusader, was released twelve years ago and that a succeeder is inbound Q4 2014.

In comparison to the original Stronghold, Firefly Studios significantly altered the dynamics of Stronghold Crusader in an attempt to increase the game speed – which unforgivably means the first few minutes of each mission are crucial. The changes includes the addition of a range of Arabian mercenary units, where especially assassins, fire throwers and horse archers introduces a range of new opportunities upon both defending your own castle and conquering others. The traditional military units are still more powerful however, but takes significantly longer to recruit due to the extensive production line. The player must thus analyze the enemies and starting resources swiftly – the sooner the production line can be started, the better. Similar, if the enemies appear weak during the early stages, a quick and silent attack gently delivered by assassins might be preferred.

One aspect is to defend your castle and attack enemies, a whole other layer of gameplay, which appears subtle at first glance, is the actual castle management. Stronghold Crusader introduces a range of buildings and techniques which allows the player to generate more money, extra powerful men or a harder working population, to name a few. Increasing your population’s happiness through religion or ale allows for higher taxes, crowding and even food shortages. Similar, increasing the amount of bad things (i.e. gallows, dunking tools or cesspits) in your castle makes your population work faster and thus generate a faster and more efficient money flow.

Securing a food chain is even more important than it was in the original Stronghold due to the deserted and rocky terrain which greatly limits the amount of fertile areas. These areas are therefore both interesting and important strategic points; take out an enemy’s food supply and you force him out of his castle. The gameplay thus consists of both castle management, fighting and survival throughout 50 crusades, four chapters of historically inspired missions and an extra 30 crusades introduced after the original release – in total well above 40 hours of campaign gameplay, excluding later free- and custom-play.

The RTS-genre has undeniably advanced significantly since the release of Stronghold Crusader on several fronts; including, but not limited to, the graphics (though, admittedly, the old graphics are charming), the audio, the interfaces and the AI. Especially the latter is easily noticeable if you have played any modern RTS-game – the AI in Stronghold Crusader is easily tricked, and once a player reaches a certain point in the map, winning ultimately becomes a matter of time due to the superior human player and the seemingly flat difficulty-level of the AIs. Instead, the game relies on quantity and starting perks such as six AIs with 20.000 gold each versus the player with only 3.000 gold.

That said then the game unfortunately suffers from a range of bugs and glitches, which unavoidably results in quite some micromanagement of the player’s troops to ensure they indeed are doing the assigned task accordingly. The path-finding system has a tendency to chose some strange routes, and can, on rare occasions, end up getting your men stuck. Though, remembering the age of the game then these issues are minor and certainly not game breaking – merely frustrating due to the higher focus on micromanagement.

The freedom in terms of building and designing your castle is intriguing and very unique compared to other RTS-games. Similar, the actual gameplay is extremely simple and straightforward, but due to the many layers of extra options and techniques during both fighting and castle management, the gameplay is yet challenging – and most importantly, fun. Ignoring the minor bugs and glitches, Stronghold Crusader is a solid game for any RTS-fan, and a great option for those who wishes to enter the genre.

Read my full review here: http://212fahrenheit.reviews/?p=171

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
33.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 4, 2014
brillliant game and still gets updates amazing
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
23.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 17, 2014
I'm not so good at Strategy games but i can tell, it's a good game!

First hour of playing is hard, learning and stuff like that, but other hour is starting to be fun.

Ok, a guy called himself a pig first time killed my all kingdom but when i was fighting with a crazy guy called rat i won.

I was so happy!!

Other time i played, i make the game me, rat and versus pig, i won.

And the last time i played i forgot to put wood cuter post so i did not had wood.

And magical guy was saying:
Wood needet.

Wood needet.

Wood needet.

Wood needet.

And a lot of Wood needet...

Okay i put 10/10 at this great strategy game!

You all need to get this great game.

Thanks for reading!

p.s sorry for bad english. :P
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 17, 2014
When it comes to gameplay, this is the best strategy game I have ever played. The economic system is brilliant, it is very realistic but at the same time simple and easy to understand. The castle and warfare mechanics are brilliant. There are numerous ways to build your castle and defend it, and a variety of options to defeat your enemies. While most strategy games tend to require the same tactics with just slight differences, this game takes strategical thinking to a whole new level.
In fact, a game of SC is not that different from a game of chess.

When it comes to graphics, of course, this is an old game.
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