Published earlier this year, Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns is a unique and entertaining real time strategy game. Unfortunately, it did not receive nearly the sales it deserved. Now, TimeGate Studios and Strategy First have another chance to succeed with the standalone prequel to the first, Kohan: Ahriman's Gift, which will be available for purchase this November.

This title is a standalone application, and will not require the original to play. It will include a full introduction to the general plotline of the game, and a tutorial very similar to the one found in the first Kohan. This tutorial will include two new missions, and will lead the player through some basic training. In the beta build we received, the tutorial was fully functional, and proved to be in invaluable resource. This tutorial took about an hour to complete, but it assisted in providing the basic information and tactical data necessary to understand the concepts of playing.

I think a little background information on the Kohan is in need, and hopefully it will assist those whom did not have the opportunity to play the first. Once controlling the world as a ruling power, the Kohan were destroyed by large cataclysms and are known as a lost civilization. Their immortal nature allowed them to an eternal existence, and allowed them to resurface. Through the first Kohan title, you discovered the reasons behind the destruction of the Kohan, and returned them to their rightful glory. Now, its time to join the other team, to understand their stories of the past and lead them through the future.

Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will feature three new campaigns and offer many different challenges. Over 90 different units and 70 different heroes will also be included, as well as 100 spells and 70 unique technologies. The main campaign will focus around the evil Ceyah, and the development of their faction. You will accompany a character by the name of Roxanna Javidon, and follow her lead to power, to prove herself as the true leader of the Ceyah. Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will include two shorter campaigns, each including six different playable missions. These missions will expose the volatile history of the lands of Khaldun, and help you understand what really happened during the years of war.

Included in Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will be 40 new maps for single and multiplayer combat. Each map will have distinctive characteristics, and will allow different strategies depending on the game type and factions played. Certain maps will be more effective for defensive combat, while others will give the advantage to the offensive force. You must know your terrain to succeed, and understand what to expect from your opponents. TimeGate has done an exceptional job with the maps, and expect the unexpected come this November.

Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will feature a custom map editor that will allow you to develop your own maps and worlds. In the beta build we received, this editor was fully functional and has proven thus far to be a very worthwhile addition. This editor is very simple to use, and allows you to customize the terrain, place creatures and objects, and even set specific areas of territorial advantage by placing specific buildings in certain regions. Also included will be a random map generator, which will work for single and multiplayer modes of play. These features will greatly add to the replayability of this title, and no two battles will ever be the same.

Unlike most standard real-time strategy titles, you do not have to gather resources in Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns, nor will you have to in Kohan: Ahriman's Gift. Instead, you must keep a stable balance on your incoming and outgoing resource levels. Each functional city within a colony generates certain levels of resources, while other buildings such as mines can be built to increase production of specific resources, such as iron or gold. This feature saves a lot of time that will rather be spent on strategic planning.

Kohan: Ahriman's Gift is as much about political war as it is close combat. You will often find yourself caught in the middle of a war between other factions's, and sending in troops to assist your allies in combat. Planning for an attack will be essential, and will have an adverse effect on the outcome of a battle. Prepare to spend hours adapting to the gameplay of Kohan, and modifying your strategic tactics and standard methods of play to succeed in the lands of Khaldun.

Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will feature the same 2D graphics engine used in the first, but this is nothing short of spectacular. As you troops work their way through the rough terrain of forests and mountains, and battle off against enemies, the graphics and animation will prove to be very detailed and a beautiful work of art. The buildings and units are highly detailed in themselves, and the visuals of hand to hand combat and the execution of spells is simply remarkable. The framerate in the most recent beta build is very impressive, even with a battle of large numbers. For those who have had the opportunity to play the first, expect the same style of graphics with some minor enhancements. Although these graphics have not been improved much from the first Kohan, they will still be nothing shy of spectacular.

Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will feature a multiplayer mode for up to eight players using an Internet connection or a local area network. The ever-popular Bloodbath and King of the Hill multiplayer matches will been included, and this will allow for familiar tactics with a new variety of units for combat. The multiplayer aspect of the first was incredibly popular, and it is expected that this prequel will have the same results.

Kohan: Ahriman's Gift will include many unique features that will set it apart from the standard real-time strategy genre. Instead of creating individual soldiers as in the Age of Empires type real time strategy games, you will commission companies of six warriors and a leader, for a total of seven troops per company. The makeup of these companies is your decision, but you can have up to four front line troops and two rear support troops, with the leader giving directions and preparing the company for battle. If you are under attack, or are returning from battle with your troops, new troops will automatically replenish slots of the deceased once you enter a supply zone. This feature is something unique to Kohan, something that sets it apart from other games of the same genre. Instead of warriors, you can also commission companies of engineers to construct and repair buildings, or companies of settlers to develop new colonies for your faction.

Be prepared to re-enter the world of the Kohan, even if you did not have the opportunity to play the first. Coming this November is a new revolution in the world of real-time strategy games with this addition to the Kohan series. Check back upon the games release for more information and complete coverage of the final version.