Don't Bother With The Heroes Of Might & Magic III HD. Just Mod The Original

The high-definition remaster of Heroes of Might & Magic III was released a few days ago, updating the much beloved classic for modern systems. Unfortunately, it's an average product and has copped a lambasting from fans, with a little over half of the Steam reviews being positive. There's another option though, one that's been available for a while, if you want to enjoy HoMM III in impressive detail: grab the original and apply the HD mod.

If you're keen for some multiplayer action, then the Steam version does have something going for it — integration with Valve's online services. However, if you're willing to get your hands a smidge dirty and you want to play solo (or use the original's multiplayer capabilities), then modding is the way to go.

The first step is to get the game. The "Complete" edition is available on GOG for a paltry $13 (Australian dollars) and includes the Armageddon's Blade and The Shadow of Death expansions. I should note the HD mod isn't compatible with Armageddon's Blade, but that's not so bad — the Steam version has no expansions at all and costs $US16.95.

Once you have HoMM III, waltz on over to the HD mod's page on Google Sites and hit that download button. The 10MB unofficial patch, once applied, will add the following features:

  • 800x600 original game still works as it should after HoMM 3 HD installation (no need to make any copy for backup)
  • HoMM 3 HD changes game resolution to any from 800x600 to 4000x4000
  • Adds 32-bit color mode support (read more...)
  • Extends the functionality of the standard windows and control elements in the game (read more...)
  • Adds new functionality for tournament play (read more...)
  • Fixes some original bugs (non-gameplay bugs..., gameplay bugs (HD+)...)
  • Detects and automatically fixes map errors which occurs during playing the game (read more...)
  • Reduces CPU Load
  • Uses newer versions of libraries Mss32.dll and Mp3dec.asi (that prevents frequent game crashes on some PCs)
  • Plays music in the game in 44 kHz stereo instead of the original 22 kHz mono
  • Plays sounds in the game in a parallel thread (that speed up game actions)
  • You can turn off most of the HoMM 3 HD features using HD3_Launcher.exe utility

And here are some screenshots:

The mod is also still being updated (well, at the very least attended to recently) with the last modifications made in November last year.

Heroes of Might & Magic III HD [Official site]


Comments

    I was playing the modded original about 6 months ago and was having a great time. I've recently changed over to the HD version and...I'm having a great time.

    Seriously, the HD version is fine and the excluded expansions are a bit shit anyway.

    I never knew there was an HD mod. I recently bought Heroes Chronicles on sale on GOG and am really enjoying those games. Best storyline and scenarios of the series. I remember choosing not to buy them 15 years ago because they were far too expensive, but now they're a bargain. Shame the HD mod won't work for them.

    The Steam HD version doesn't really make good use of higher resolutions like the patch does. That's a shame.

    I disagree with Rize above. I really liked Shadow of Death, but not so much Armageddon's Blade. But now Chronicles is so cheap, that's better again.

    My two cents:
    I've played both. I bought the full version off of GoG a year or two ago, and I was using the HD Mod until it stopped functioning and kept crashing a turn or two into the game (bloody russians) but this may have been fixed in more recent iterations.
    The HD mod does NOT graphically improve the game as Logan might have implied with this line "if you want to enjoy HoMM III in impressive detail", all it does is allow you to fit more on screen at once. This results in everything being tiny. Otherwise, the game is the same as ever, and you have all the expansions and all that entails to play.

    The HD Release DOES graphically improve the game. It's very nice - if you ever played the Halo Anniversary edition and saw how nice it was and thought "ah yes, this is exactly how I remember it" and then press the button and see how much worse the original actually looked, it's like that. There's an option in the menu that allows you to toggle between the HD and the original graphics, and the difference is pretty crazy. Something to note here: the resolution is effectively 640x480 (or whatever HOMM3) was originally, in that when you go down to the original graphics that's what you're seeing on screen. I guess technically they upscale THOSE graphics to whatever resolution you're running.

    Anyway: As for the rest of the game, they didn't change anything (as far as I can tell). The sounds are the same, all the controls and quirks are the same. For better or worse, the game is almost identical outside of the graphical upgrade, except that it now runs fine on modern systems (which the HD mod may or may not do). The 3D clips like the intro are now boxed off into a tiny square, instead of remaking them in 3D or upscaling them.

    At least there's no UPlay.

    Oh yeah, and it runs at a low frame rate (like, you can see the cursor not smoothly move across the screen) which may or may not give you a headache? Made me a bit dizzy, but I had been drinking...

    Last edited 01/02/15 6:28 pm

      Dude, who cares whether they're Russians, Vietnamese or Dutch. Those guys at least gave us an opportunity to set more resolutions to our favourite game. So stop being a jack@ss and learn to say thanks. Or is it because you drink like a bum?...

      Wrong, the HD Edition does improve the visuals, pretty much every sprite has been "improved" with Photoshop, now it looks more smooth, not like the original does - with tiny dots. It kind of makes the game feel like it's been developed on a different engine. While it's good for it to exist, it's a shame it's not the Complete edition, but Shadow of Death only, I read someone saying that Ubisoft plan on releasing further edition to milk players and I sort of agree with whoever said that.

        This thread's 7 months old and you still managed to not read it properly.
        The HD MOD doesn't improve visuals, not the HD rerelease.

          Use newer stretch filter xBRZ + Bicubic/Bilinear in options HD mod starter - it's improve graphics by anti-aliasing very well! Much better and accurate to source then official HD Edition ; )

            19 month old reply, dude!

            Is there an inside joke where guests reply to this thread at an increasingly long rate?

    I'd like if it had 'The Shadow of Death', not fussed about 'Armageddon’s Blade'. If it uses Steam for Multiplayer then that itself is almost worth it as Game Ranger etc are a PITA sometimes.

    I got the HD version on iPad, and while I am enjoying the hell out of it, there are some glitches. My ipad has crashed twice(but that could just be it, it has been having some issues), but the most impressive glitch has to do with pathing. SOOOOO many times I can just walk over mountain ranges, through trees and castles and all sorts of stuff. Easiest way I have been able to replicate it(this is in the second mission in the campaign) is basically click where I want to go that could be 3 or 4 turns of movement away, to say the other side of a mountain. Make my full move, end my turn, then when my new turn begins the pathing has been recalculated to walk me straight through the mountain.

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