Review by Falsiloquos

"Oooh... pretty... but where's the game?"

Oooh... pretty... but where's the game?

I have always been a fan of the Civilization games, right from the moment I played the original civilization. Sure, I never managed to get off my first island, the first time, but ever since then I had created wonderfully large empires, that always seemed to do one thing, and that was to suck up all my time. Civilization II was even worse, adding in better graphics, improved gameplay, and adding new features so that I couldn't stop playing that game for months at a time!

So, you can imagine how excited I was by the prospect of a new civilization, one that would extend far far into the future, and allow for neat new technologies, rather than the same old ones that I had seen time and again. As I looked at the screenshots and read the previews, I got more excited, this game looked to be very attractive! Animated battles! Stackable armies! Why, this game might be the pinnacle of all things Civ!

Ah, how naive and trusting I was.

I suppose the problems all start with the fact that this game was not designed by anyone remotely attached to any previous Civ game. Sid Meier, in particular, had had the effect in balance in the Civ games that was unsurpassed. No one single element of gameplay outweighed another, Sid would masterfully keep it all in check. No, Civ:CTP (as it is called) was designed by ''fan boys'', those who grew up playing the Civ games, but had nothing to do with creating them. And therein lies the problem.

The creators of Civ:CTP didn't have to go through the work of the previous two games, and therefore all they knew was what would be ''really cool'', but not what would fit into the game. I'm sure we've all sat around with our buddies wondering ''wouldn't it be cool if... your diplomats could make a city turn into mindless slaves?'' without thinking the consequences of these little ''Fan Ideas''. These ideas are just freeform thinking, and are not concrete ideas, and are based not on actual work with what would fit well into the game, but rather on what would make the game look a little cooler. Think of it like a fat guy getting a tattoo to try to look thinner.

Which brings me to my main gripe about Civ:CTP, they added every little idea that they could dream up. Balance, be damned! Each new addition needed to be fully weighed against the game as a whole, with adjustments made game-wide to account for the changes, but because of the sheer amount of new ideas being added, this was impossible. What you end out with are a large number of bizarre units, technologies, buildings, wonders, and whatnot, that doesn't fit at all.

To further unbalance gameplay, they added new ''units'' and new ''strategies''. For example, there are now ''non-combat'' war units, such as the dreaded Lawyer, that each has a new ''attack'', such as the Lawyer's Injunction. However, each of these attacks can be circumvented with a set of city walls, and so what usually happens is one poor hapless (and pretty pathetic) civilization gets bullied by a larger one with Slavers (or Lawyers, what's the difference?). Then when you do get around to battle, it always seemed that 2 stacked units could beat anything. I once had a brand new veteran Hover Tank, which certainly sounded powerful enough, get beaten by two pre-gunpowder goons. How?? Who knows, maybe the tank operators were drunk.

Furthermore, the designers for some very odd reason, decided to change most every technology, even some that sounded pretty fundamental, and every Wonder also get replaced. Gone were such ACTUAL wonders like the Pyramids and the Colosses, and in were such Non-Wonders as the Gutenburg Bible.

And perhaps worst of all, the entire interface was hacked up and replaced. Instead of looking at each city individually, you get to look at a list of cities. The interface is meant to be minimalist, to not ever really be on screen, and it won't be. But you will need it, and a lot more than the designers seemed to think. Then you have to go through a series of menues to get to a city building screen, which should have been possible to get to just by clicking the city. Moving a unit is a nightmare as if you click anywhere, you've just sent your unit off that way.

If you couldn't tell, I didn't like this game. I felt betrayed by it, a bad Civ game? How could this be?

Oh well.

I certainly had no complaints about the graphics, and not all the gameplay was bad. Just most of it.

I rated Civilization Call To Power a 3 (though it could have gotten a 1!) because it had horrific gameplay.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 04/11/00, Updated 04/11/00


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