Thursday, September 02, 2004

Game Review: The Works of Sid Meier

Ranked with Vikings out of 5. Starting with:


The first, the one, the classic. I dont know how many hours I spent playing this game, starting off with my little covered wagon and building an empire of untouchable power. It got to the point where I could play on the hardest difficulty (whatever it was) and beat the game without trying. It was a phenomenally complex game for such a simple concept, and such a small filesize. Billions of different combinations of maps, dozens of units, homicidal AI (including Ghandi the Psycho), and multiplayer options right from the start. Topping nearly every "Best Game Ever" list, Civilization is a must for fans of true classics.


The stepping stone between Civilization and Civilization II, Colonization remains one of my all-time favorite games to date. Theoretically just a refined form of Civilization, it focused on the arrival of the New World powers to, well, the New World. Focusing more on interaction and rresource management, the basics of this game are completely different. Cities are composed not of population, but of civilian units. You can take a regular Colonist, give him guns and make hima soldier. Give him tools, and make him a pioneer. Give him horses and make him a scout. Send him to school, college, or university and teach him how to be everything from a gun-smith to a distiller to a priest. You can handily beat the game with a small handful of powerful cities, although it is certainly possible to build a huge empire (usually by wiping out the Indians, unless you're French). The goal is to declare independence, and then survive the War of Independence (which aint easy!) You have to manage all your resources, from wood to ore to guns to silver to rum, and a dozen more! Watch the rates of Tories and Rebels in your cities, and handle negotiations with your parent country as they try and stifle the rebellion in the New World. Infinitely replayable, and horribly addictive, this game only comes second to Civilization II.

Civilization II

Any list that Civilization isnt at the top of is DEFINITELY topped with Civilization II. Arguably the greatest strategy game ever devised, it added incredible depth of play to an already incredible game. It was isometric, it was Windows-based (and extremely well done), it had perfect music, it wasn't graphics intensive (despite having gorgeously drawn graphics). It brought the skill and excitement of a strategy game to it's most refined edge. Ghandi the Psycho was back in force, backstabbing you every chance he could (although the programmers say they never made his AI special, he has gone to war for no reason so many times more than everyone else, including the Mongols and the Celts.) Build your Wonders of the World first, go to war, terraform your nation, convert the enemy... there is very little I can say about this game that hasn't been said somewhere, and better. This is the #1 game I have ever played, and it probably will be for a good, long time.

Alpha Centauri

The stepping stone between Civilization II and Civilization III, Alpha Centauri is the true sequel to Civilization and Civilization II. Your colony ships lands on the curiously habitable planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, but it breaks up in the atmosphere, scattering all seven factions evenly over the surface (shut up, it's just the premise). This game incorporates all of the new features Sid was obsessed with, including a much more detailed governmental system, trade system, border system and alliance system. You can stack your units with your friends, you can build your own custom units, you can customize every feature of your empire, and you can bombard your enemies in 3 dimensions from behind curving 3D terrain. The factions are all different with skills and abilities that greatly affect gameplay, the resource model is slightly different, the artwork for every culture is different... it's all the ideas Sid wanted. Unfortunately, the game did poorly, but I like this game third best behind Civilization II and Colonization. This brings us to...

Civilization III

Basically Civilization II with way way prettier graphics, the company voted out everything Sid wanted to put in, IE, everything he play-tested in Alpha Centauri. The only truly new features are the culture-based border system (which is really sweet, my favorite part of the game) and the culture-specific traits (Agricultural, Religious, Militaristic, etc). The trade abilities were vetoed, the government design was nixed, the alliance features were removed, and the result is what could be considered a 900 meg expansion for Civilization II. The game is slower, it's cumbersome unless your system is at least 1 GHz, and it's curoiusly repetitive. A sequel to a game should change EVERYTHING, making it better, but as it has been proven, you can't make Civilization III, you can only polish the hell out of Civilization II and call it a new game. I bought it, I bought both expansions, and realized I loved the middle games the best by a long shot. Still, 3 out of 5, and if you've never played anything before it and are obsessed with having the newest games, you'll definitely love it.


Post a Comment

<< Home