Product Type: Microsoft PC games
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My favourite game in the series
Age of Empires (PC)
Member Name: Jenraux
Age of Empires (PC)
Advantages: Decent graphics, good multiplayer if you get it working, nice amount of units for its time
Disadvantages: Low pop cap on singleplayer games, cannot save multiplayer games
This is my favourite game in the Age of Empires series, for months i had to play the trial version of this game, that only contained about 3 missions or so, but finally i could afford to buy it,
For a start the game is a lot simpler than the other AoE games, in single player the game is locked to 50 units per player, This can cause problems for people that focus on economy, they may have so many villagers that they cannot build up a sufficient army. Luckily in the multiplayer side of the game, for up to 8 players over Serial, Modem, IPX, TCP/IP or through Microsoft Gaming Zone (Discontinued), there is a population limit option allowing you to choose to allow up to 200 units per player. This is an ideal amount, you probably won't need that many in this game, about 50 villagers will probably complete your economy.
On the technological side of things, the game is fairly basic, there are some unit attack/armour upgrades in the storage pit, a few more miscellaneous upgrades in the government center, economical upgrades in the market, and then your standard unit upgrades.
There are a few unit types, Infantry, Ranged Infantry, Horsemen, Slow Infantry, Siege and Ships i think thats all of them. Of course there are several units in each type, such as Horsemen cover Cavalry, Scouts, Elephants, Horse Archers, Elephant Archers and the like.
Civilizations don't vary much in this game, different civilizations will have different technologies open to them, but will mostly share the same, such as only a few civilizations get Catapult Triremes, and only about 3 civilizations get to use Elephants. But aside from that there are few differences, each civilization does have bonuses however, such as bonuses to Hit Points on certain units/buildings or added range on units/buildings. Like the Choson get +3 range to their Towers and +80 HP to their Legions, maing them a deadly opponent.
There are a few campaigns available, but i never really bothered with them, i found it far more fun to play random maps and multiplayer games with my friends. But as a note, if you read my AoE II review, you will see i mentioned issues with the network side of AoE and AoE II, basically some newer computers will fail to connect with older computers, especially prevalent in Windows Vista and sometimes XP. If you're playing on an LAN, i recommend trying to get most of your PC's on the same OS, Windows 98 seems to work without a hitch. If you're playing over the internet, it may well be your router and not your computers stopping you from seeing each other, try using the Hamachi program, it will let you connect directly to your friends and bypass your routers firewall, as such only use it with people you trust. Also there is a program called GameRanger which works with hundreds of games, you host a lobby, then your friends join the lobby, then when all players are ready, you press the start button, it should launch AoE on all the PC's connected, and put you into the AoE game lobby.
AI are supported in multiplayer games. As such if you want to play a singleplayer game with more than 50 pop cap, just host a multiplayer game and put 7 AI in or something. Unfortunately AoE cannot save multiplayer games, there may be a work around for it by now though.
This is my favourite game in the series, despite a few of its downfalls. This is the game that started off a famous genre and game series, unfortunately its unlikely the game series will continue now Ensemble has gone defunct.
Summary: A great game, get around the network issues and you should have a brilliant time with it
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