Product Type: Microsoft PC games
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More addictive than cocaine
Age of Empires (PC)
Member Name: maphack
Age of Empires (PC)
Date: 26/04/04, updated on 26/04/04 (156 review reads)
Advantages: Addictive, unbeatable gameplay, easy to learn lifetime to master
Disadvantages: Addictive, dated graphics engine
The game is set in Europe & Asia between the Stone Age and Iron Age which spans 10,000 years of history. You fight in epic legendary campaigns such as escorting Hannibal across the Alps and going to war with the great Roman Empire.
The game, at heart, is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) which has become one of today's more popular game genres - and im pretty sure this, and the advent of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, was responsible for it.
If you aren't aware of what a Real Time Strategy game is - you will see the real-time results of your resource management decisions. Consider your options and move forward ? assign civilization members (villagers) to hunt, explore, conquer, or build. All players start with, in this case, 3 'villagers' and a Town Center and to win you race to research technologies and create an army superior of your opponents - and then smash them to pieces, how can that not be fun?!
There are 12 races which you can choose from, all based on historical tribes and have technological advantages based on historical evidence, i.e. The Phoenecians were the best seafarers and ship builders of the ancient world and they have very strong ships in the game. Also your choice of civilization is tied to the type of technology which will become available to you.
The races are:
You can play the standard RTS style of having practically nothing to start with then building up into an empire (called 'Random Map') or you can p
lay 'Death Match' style where you start with 20000 food and wood, 10000 gold and 5000 stone, how much of each resource you have is tied to what you can research and how many units you can create. The Death Match style being much faster paced, a quick fix for those of you looking to relieve some stress.
Another type of game is 'Campaign' where you follow the events of one tribe and you are in control of their fate, some challenging gameplay here on hardest, although on easiest its fun for beginners.
I could write a small novel on the Multiplayer side of this game as it basically stole 3 years from my life, but I'll try to sum it up as best I can.
You can set up a Mutliplayer game on your local network for some family battles or you can connect to the MSN Gaming Zone with hundreds of other people from all over the world. I know thats not a lot of people by todays gaming terms, but it used to be thousands of people when it first hit the shelves and many people have moved to greener pastures but there are still a lot of die hard fans still addicted, my brother included :). In fact everyone I have introduced to this game has become addicted, so be careful.
Death Match(DM) and Random Map(DM) are the two most popular multiplayer set ups, I'll start with the latter since this is the foundation of the game. As mentioned above you start with 3 villagers and a Town Centre which is where you advance your civilisation throughout the four ages:
- Stone Age: This is the default age and the only things you can do here are create more villagers to make you resource collection faster, build resource drop off points, and make the most basic military unit: The Clubman which even villagers can fend off without many problems.
;ool Age: This is where things can become a little interesting, the clubmen which your enemy could have made in the Stone Age can be upgraded to Axemen and can be given armour and attack upgrades which will slice through your town like a knife through butter. Some other units are avialable here and can be upgraded and hurt your town aswell, this is known widely as a 'Tool Rush', a very popular multiplayer strategy.
- Bronze Age: Probably the first target for most RM games where a wide variety of units become available here, and hundreds of different strategies have been delevoped for this age, also 'Fast Bronze' strats are popular too.
- Iron Age: Every technology available to your tribe is available here once you have reseached the prerequisites, which makes for a lot of diverse battles, this is the age you start in DM mode.
Speak of diversity, every game you play will never be the same as any other game you have played, the map is different almost every time and even if its the same map, the chances are you won't be on the same position on the map, this is what makes the game so appealing - you can't get bored if it's not the same!
Okay, on to Death Match. As mentioned above you start with a lot of resources and it's basically an all out battle until you have none left. What most people do is spend some food on villagers to try and replenish your resources as you spend them on military units to fight. This mode can become very competitive online along with the resident crap talkers you get with competitive gaming. If you stick with beginner games to start I suspect anyone would have fun.
I apologise if I drifted a little too deep into the strategy but it's hard not to, because it's a strategy game :). All in all I
think this was the best game ever made, and since I am a hardcore gamer this opinion should not be taken lightly. The gameplay is second to none, the game will grasp you and hold you down with minimal chance of escape. I recommend this game to anyone esecially now that its a good few years old and should be ultra cheap.
Graphics - 9/10 - If you had to look for a bad point about this game this would be it, although I'm usually having too much fun to notice, the graphics were great in it's time.
Gameplay - 11/10 - Sorry for the illogical rating but this game hasn't been surpassed in gameplay ever (and I've tried a lot of games!)
Playing Hours - Unlimited - A new experience every time you play
Average rating 10/10 - A must buy!