Historical games. Age of Empires (1997)

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So many games have already been published, devoted to the themes of the Ancient World, and can not be counted at all! Interesting and boring, curious and unworthy of attention … Now we have the opportunity to contemplate Total War: Rome II. But it is good or bad, it will be a discussion some other time, but for now it would be desirable to recall the game with which it is possible for some to start acquaintance with the strategies, someone it was the first game in general, and personally for me from this game began a true love for the Ancient World and Antiquity. I’m talking about Age of Empires I.

I will not dwell on the little things like a curious setup menu in the form of a triumphal arch being built, but I’ll get down to business right away. There are several modes to choose from: random map, campaign, deadly battle, and scripts. Let’s consider each of them separately.

A random card is the most standard game. You choose the options with which you will play and begin to conquer the ancient adversaries. First of all, you will be asked to choose a civilization. And the choice is big enough, and it is rather ambiguous. There are Romans and Carthaginians, whose confrontation is not known by any means. There are Greeks with Egyptians, the progenitors of modern civilization. And there are quite atypical nations like the Hittites, Phoenicians, and Assyrians. But sometimes there is a concrete exotica in the face of Joseon and ancient Japan. It is clear that this is far from a complete set of civilizations. Civilizations differ not just in names, each of them has certain advantages: thus, the Carthaginians have more tenacious elephants, and the Hittites have more accurate shooters. Moreover, each civilization has a certain set of units and technologies.

gold-edition-e9f25fc0fc6038766d3beff64233723f-Age of Empires Gold Edition - Game.pngA typical start for a random cart

After that we choose other options: this is the color of our people, the size of the map, the type of card and the like. It’s really, really, a pity that you can not increase the population limit, which is only …. just 50 people.

And the game started. City center, 3 peasants, and the Stone Age. Our conquest has begun! The game itself involves several types of victories: military, on points and the construction of the Miracle of Light. However, all these 3 victories can be achieved in one way in two stages: the building of economic power, and then the military potential. To do this, we extract resources, which in the game only 4 types: food, wood, stone, and gold. These resources are used to build buildings, train various units, study technologies that will contribute to our development.

Well, here we are. It would seem that all the units were trained, and the buildings were built. What next? And then comes the most important feature Age of Empires – the transition from one era to another. Having accumulated enough resources, we will be able to move to the next era, which, like resources, also has four: the Stone Age, the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. With the development, more modern units and buildings will be available to us, and new technologies will open for us, after studying which we will rise strongly in the military or economic terms. Moreover, the appearance of our city is changing: from straw huts, we move into wooden houses, and to the iron age our houses acquire a really chic look. Quite interesting to me was the realization of the Neolithic revolution. With the transition to the Neolithic, you begin to notice that the animals and bushes are no longer sufficient, the fish is running low, and you understand that the only way to get food is to start cultivating it by means of farms.

Mauryan.pngThe Iron Age and … Farm Yamato

And, if we talk about the visual aspect, there’s no arguing: it deserves positive assessments. She’s cute and realistic. Secondly, every civilization has its own appearance. There are five types of cultures: Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, Greek, Roman. It is displayed in the design of buildings, Wonders of the world, and (attention) even on the interface. The interface is designed as a national bas-relief. Very atmospheric. Thirdly, not that it would be a visual aspect, but I would like to praise music – it is not a masterpiece, but it is easy and unconstrained. Personally, I loved to whistle starting music (not from the menu, but from the game itself) from the supplement Rise of Rome.

So, what we see: quite interesting and diverse gameplay. Economic development, which manifests itself in various aspects. We put such questions as extracting resources (we can only get food in at least 4 different ways) and who to extract resources (sometimes we need fewer gold miners, but we do not have enough farmers). Sometimes there is a choice between studying economic or military technologies. And the balance in this game is very important. In the second era, the active use of trade through merchant ships begins on the sea. There is also diplomacy. It is not implemented very much, but the main thing is that there is! : D Active construction runs throughout the map. Well, what about the military case? War for survival, a war for resources, aggressive campaigns. Fighting will occur on every piece of the map, and from how much your economy and technological level is developed, how successful you are fighting depends on the victory. Therefore, every decision must be made wisely and quickly. Well, the Miracle of Light needs not only to be built but also to protect, which only the true hegemon can afford.

Well, we won, what next? Try other game modes. So, the campaigns go on. The idea is extremely interesting – to show the historical development of civilizations. So, there is a training campaign for Egypt, which shows the development of Egypt until the invasion of the Achaemenids. There is a campaign for Babylon, there are also Greeks. Exotic here is the campaign for ancient Japan. After all, no samurai, no shogun then was not, this is not the classical image of Japan. For lovers of Roman subjects (which I am), there are 4 campaigns devoted to almost all the military exploits of Rome. These are the “enemies of Rome”, where we often play for the opponents of Roman expansionism (it was very nice for the developers to realize the war against Hannibal), “The Rise of Rome”, where we fight the young Roman Republic for survival, “Long live Caesar” (no comments) and “Roman world” (Pax Romana), where we are already confronted with the period of the empire; This is the latest time period in the campaign, which ends with the Great Migration of Nations. Why such an imbalance in the subject of campaigns, because more campaigns are dedicated to Rome? Initially, there were 4 campaigns. But then there was an addition to Rome, and you understand … In any case, the campaigns are very busy, they allow you to immerse yourself deeper into the era, historical references are very interesting, and before each mission map shows the stages of our conquests. After this, there is a mode of deadly struggle. Nothing, except for an increased amount of initial resources, this mode does not differ from a random card.

12121.jpgNew Addon Nation – Romans

As for the scenarios, this is something between a random map and a campaign. In fact, the game goes like a typical random map: we choose a civilization, some settings, and the beginning is the same as in a random map. The difference, however, is that it is necessary to achieve some definite tasks.

So, let’s sum up. Interesting and diverse gameplay, which for a long time can keep the player and who promises replay. A deep study of economic and military development is a significant plus. Civilizations themselves are also a plus because they are not very illuminated. Well, where can you still play for the Minoans or Phoenicians and fight in the Stone Age and Neolithic? The game is very atmospheric: music, graphics, interface – everything immerses you deeper in the era. And I will say that the game was released in 1997. As if I did not want to think about it, but there are some drawbacks. A small population limit – especially not to swing. Game on many computers now cannot go (although on my Win-10 x-64 went). The player himself does not guess everything! He does not learn about the uniqueness of each of the civilizations, about the detailed aspects of the game that are not mentioned in the game, if he does not get into the user’s manual himself! The game is very difficult to master, and it will be very difficult for a newcomer to win.

In general, the game is worth attention, it will give you a lot of pleasant minutes. Lovers of strategy are indispensable for the game!

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