Getting one’s teeth drilled at the dentist is never a pleasant experience. You try everything you can to avoid having it happen but in the end it always does. After spending a few weeks with Heaven & h** it can be concluded that playing this game is a lot like having your teeth drilled; a most painful experience that you just want to end.Heaven & h** is played with you in the big boss chair as a god. In the Heaven & h** universe there are only really two sides to the conflict; good and evil. You can only choose one side, the good side, initially but it doesn’t really matter since both sides are exactly the same. There are visual differences such as the colors and style of the buildings. Also, the outfits that your religious subjects wear differ but as far as gameplay mechanics go they are identical.I wasn’t impressed at all with the single player portion of the game. Each mission had the same objective as the mission before; convert the heathens. Sometimes they threw a curve ball and had you destroy some buildings first or even survive one or two attacks but when that was all over you had to simply convert the non-believers to your side. This repetitiveness got tiring very quickly and I often found myself falling asleep at the computer forcing myself to keep going.As was said before, the main objective in the game is to convert the heathens to your own beliefs. To do this you have to raise their belief in you to a certain level. This is accomplished by using one or a combination of several prophets. Said prophets can summon miracles, fight off enemy prophets, build amusement facilities to entertain the non-believers (and therefore have them believe you are the better god) and there’s even a covert prophet that can do sabotage work on enemy structures. Some of the prophets are quite useful like Baptisbon and Beat-Up O-Bon while others such as Camelbon I rarely found a use for. The latter prophets do have a purpose but sometimes it’s so completely ineffective to even bother using them.To a*ist your prophets you have powers that are always at your disposal. You can pick up civilians and place them anywhere on the map, cause earthquakes, and even smite your enemies with lightning from the skies provided you have enough mana, the game’s resource. Mana production is affected by how many people believe in you at any given time. The more people believe in you, the faster your resources will grow, if you are the unpopular god in town then your mana production will lag behind. In addition there are production buildings that can be built which facilitate the proliferation of mana. They can be upgraded and the result is even faster mana production, this is essential in the later levels when mana demands are atrocious.The other type of building (yes there are only two types of buildings in the game) is the loyalty enforcer building. Prophets can cause miracles to increase the belief of the citizens of a city but the buildings themselves are much more effective. The more of these buildings you have in any given city the higher the base belief level of the citizens. There is even a belief level at which point the citizens will turn into fanatics which in turn hurtle rocks at enemy prophets or soldiers that enter the village. Once you have the loyalty of the entire city at this fanatic level it can pretty much defend itself and you can concentrate on other aspects of playing.Graphics-wise, Heaven & h** is nothing to shout about. The textures are plain and generic and not much stands out that will please the eye. There are movies in between the missions and in the startup of the game but the animation skips frequently. Units that traverse the map often leave small graphic watermarks on the ground behind them, specifically the health bar. The sound isn’t much of a redeeming quality either. Like the graphics it skips horrendously during the movies. The individual units have a few sayings but they are repeated ad-nausea and get soon get tiring.The AI is not a force to be reckoned with really. The enemy will send its prophets, even on the hardest difficulty setting, scattered and not in a central group. They can easily be isolated and picked apart by your warriors. One of the most annoying parts of the game is the fact that warriors cannot attack moving targets. To kill a prophet they have to be standing completely still. This works to your advantage when you’re under attack but it is frustratingly hard to kill the enemy prophets sometimes.There is a skirmish mode where you can generate a random map to play the computer and there is also a multiplayer feature so you can go head to head with other virtual demi-gods. All things considered though there’s no reason to try either of these out as you will probably get your fill of the game from both, if not one, of the campaigns.Heaven & h** had a nice concept but it was just badly executed. More timid gamers and bargain bin hunters might pick this title up in a few weeks but I wouldn’t expect your average strategy gamer to lay down the cash for this one.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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