Tzar: The Burden of the Crown

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Tzar: The Burden of the Crown
Developer(s)Haemimont Games
Publisher(s)Take-Two Interactive
FX Interactive (Italy and Spain)
Designer(s)Vesselin Handjiev
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
ReleaseMarch 31, 2000
Genre(s)Real-time strategy
Mode(s)Single player multiplayer

Tzar: The Burden of the Crown is a real-time strategy game for the PC published by Take-Two Interactive and developed by the Bulgarian game developer company Haemimont Games. It was released March 31, 2000 in the West. The game was met with moderate success; however, it got mild recognition and audience when it was published as a demo in several gaming magazines.

The game was considered by Linux Game Publishing to be ported to Linux, it was however rejected due to concerns within the company about its gameplay and after hearing negative comments about the game from the Linux gaming community.[1]


The gameplay is set in a fictional medieval age. The game is a basic real time strategy game that resembles the gameplay of the Age of Empires series. The basic goal is to conquer the neighbouring kingdoms and destroy all traces of them, or destroy their castles, depending on the selected playing mode. There are many different buildings and characters player can produce, each depending on which of the three races the player chooses to play as: European, Asian or Arabian. The main differences are the types of special buildings and the types of troops available.

There are four types of resources a player has to gather: food, wood, stone and gold. Food can be gathered by harvesting crops, milking cows or killing them for meat, as well as fishing if the map has lakes or rivers. Wood is gathered by chopping down trees, and gold and stone are gathered by mining. All units have health (hit points) but sorcerers also have mana which gradually regenerates when used to cast spells or summon creatures.

The main buildings that can be constructed by all three races are houses, farms, blacksmiths, workshops, barracks, stables, towers, walls, gates and inns. The players usually starts the game with a castle and a few peasants. All types of resources can be carried to the castle. Building houses increases the population limit. Farms can be used to produce cows and also as a place to gather food. Stables are required for some types of mounted soldiers, and blacksmiths provide various improvements to units' armour and fighting skills. Workshops are used to build siege machines. Towers are used for defence. Inns are the place where the player can exchange resources and later hire mercenaries and heroes. Docks can be built to fishing and travelling across the sea.

There are a number of elite buildings that are specific for each of the three races. For example, Europeans can build a cathedral, Asians a Shaolin monastery and Arabians a mosque. Another important building is the magician's tower where the player can create sorcerers who can summon different creatures - giants and bats (Europeans), genies (Arabians) and dragons (Asians). There are also many other buildings that create units unique to the race the player is playing.

There is also a campaign option for single players in which the player must complete specific goals, such as destroying an enemy force, or protecting a citadel from attack. The campaign has a total of 20 missions.

Screenshot of gameplay in Tzar: The Burden of the Crown

The game also includes a map editor where players can create their own maps to play on with strategically placed rivers, forests, and resources to use to build their armies with. The game is best known for the first ever implementation of a full experience system for every unit in a RTS game.[citation needed] The game doesn't have the commonly known system of Warcraft III for heroes but still every unit has the potential to reach level twelve and thus gaining a heroic status. There is no limit of the "hero" units a player can have, as long as they can keep them alive.


The kingdom of Keanor is under attack by dark forces and much lie in ruins. The old king has died and the son Prince Sartor's whereabouts are unknown.

Sartor is raised as a lumberjack in a village, unaware of his royal lineage as Prince. One day, mercenaries seeking Sartor raid the village, killing his uncle. A wizard named Ghiron arrives in time and saves him, revealing his royal lineage and promises to help restore the kingdom to its previous glory. Ghiron takes him to find allies, such as his father's guard captain Woolin. They save the capitol from being completely destroyed. The trio seek more and more allies, growing enough to be confident in the final battle. Having enough resources, they lead massive armies against the Messiah of Evil, the manifestation of evil on Earth.

Sartor slowly gains allies. He travels far and wide to find people. He finds allies in the Asians on a far northern continent and finds favor when he kills their old time foes. Sartor soon finds Arabian allies on a far continent. He gets taken prisoner one time and his allies break him out of his imprisonment. Eventually, he gets the confidence and his allies to find the final allies.

Then the now-King Sartor leads his army to defeat the Messiah of Evil and his city in one large battle. In the end, he recognizes that evil shall always remain.


Review scores
CGW3.5/5 stars[3]
GamePro3.0/5 stars[2]
PC Gamer (US)78%[4]
Computer Games Magazine3/5 stars[5]

Tzar became a hit in Spain,[6] with sales of 50,000 units in the region by November 2000.[7]


  1. ^ Tzar related posts LinuxGames
  2. ^ Olafson, Peter (May 22, 2000). "Tzar: Burden of the Crown". GamePro. Archived from the original on April 8, 2005.
  3. ^ Chick, Tom (June 6, 2000). "A Tzar is Born". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on March 11, 2001.
  4. ^ Brenesal, Barry. "Tzar". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on February 3, 2008.
  5. ^ Cobb, Jim (May 20, 2000). "Too Heavy to Lift". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on August 15, 2004.
  6. ^ Meix, Joan Isern (November 14, 2001). "The Longest Journey proporciona a FX su cuarto CD-ROM de oro". MeriStation. Archived from the original on September 7, 2004.
  7. ^ Meix, Joan Isern (November 29, 2000). "FX inicia su línea económica". MeriStation. Archived from the original on November 26, 2003.

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