Kingdom Caligula – Reviewed
By Marcus Estrada
Many people associate the name Caligula with madness. This Roman emperor of the years 37 to 41 AD did a great many things during his reign but time has erased everything but the spectre of insanity from his rule. As such, Kingdom Caligula is an extremely unique game because it chooses to put players into Caligula’s shoes as he inherits the throne. Not only that, but the developer also hopes to correct some longstanding historical inaccuracies along the way.
Kingdom Caligula looks just like a classic RPG. The top down perspective and pixel art would seem right at home on a 90s console. Of course, none of those fantasy Western or Japanese RPGs were willing to tread into the timeline of Caligula. Those with a taste for retro RPGs will immediately feel at home here as they explore through the vast cities and villages. You can explore beyond Rome, speaking with other characters, finding treasure chests, or engaging in battle.
As with many other RPGs, this game has a turn-based battle system. Players can have a team of up to four players and each character retains their own equipment. The most interesting aspect of this to me was the fact that characters like Drusilla are in the party. This is eyebrow-raising thanks to historical scandals stating that Caligula engaged in incestuous relationships with his sisters, including Drusilla. Kingdom Caligula does not shy away from this narrative thread, either.
Although there are large maps to explore you eventually do feel the restrictions placed upon them. For example, a good deal of guards all spout the same lines. Then again, would they really chat up the emperor? At other times it can be hard to know what to do or where to look. Big locations become an issue in this case. If Caligula could just run that would really help with pacing.
That’s not to say all NPCs are droll. Some of the most fun I had was simply meandering through expansive areas to talk to everyone. Usually characters just say some one-off thing but it’s interesting to hear all the same. Then there are characters who reference others nearby in funny or sad ways. These characters might not be quest givers, as it common for RPGs, but it’s still suggested to see what they have to say.
Those with little knowledge about Caligula and his reign will likely learn a lot just by playing through Kingdom Caligula. People who have looked into the history may be surprised to see how this experience attempts to paint a more accurate picture. Yes, Caligula is depicted as insane, but with the logic that he suffered from poisoning which led to the affliction. It is a bit weird to play as the “mad emperor” but a one of a kind game all the same.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]