Review by Tankster

"I PITY DA FOOL WHO DON'T OWN DIS GAME!"

Microsoft's Age of Empire is a game I fell in love with early on. Who wouldn't like a game where after you fill one of your enemy's full of arrows you can watch them decompose into a skeleton? Ok, maybe it's just me then. But a little gratuitous violence is healthy as far as I'm concerned.

Story: n/a
There really isn't a story behind this game, you just take over a civilization and use it to beat the stuffing out of the other guys. If you follow the campaign mode you can go on a time line jumping trip through history, which can be quite entertaining. It's in the same vein as some of my other favorites, Command and Conquer (the Tiberian Sun expansion for that one is one of my all time favorites) and War Craft.

Gameplay: 9/10
The game lets you command an entire civilization, and you have plenty to choose from. You can rule over the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and about 50 others, each with it's own style of archetecture true to the times and it's own specialties in the weapons department. Your weapons are wide ranging, from archers and cavalry (horse or elephant) to catapults and guard towers. I always play with plenty of cheats, after all, decimating the forces of Cleopatra with two laser gun guys is always at the top of my entertainment list.

Controls 8/10
The controls for this game are amazingly simple. You just point and click. Select a guy and right click on the spot you want him to go, the gold you want him to mine, the tree you want him to chop down, whatever. Right click is your all purpose action button. Left click selects. Got it folks? Simplicity at it's finest.

My only beef with the controls is that adding a few more in there wouldn't hurt the gameplay at all, my recommendations being a button for suicide bombers, and a taunting button. Imagine sending a villager out to run around and taunt the bad guys. No game can live without a good taunting button in my humble opinion.

Sound: 7/10
Ok, so it's got an alright soundtrack, but nothing spectacular. You can hear the swords clanking in a sword fight, the ''p-p-p-pow!'' of the catapult flattening people, the ''fffffft'' of arrows as they whiz into a bad guy's chest, and really satisfying ''ugh'' sounds as they die, but that's really about it. There aren't a huge amount of sound effects in the game, and what sounds there are aren't all that great. All in all (or ''at the end of the day'') the sounds score on the high side of average.

Replayability: 9/10
With such a plethora of scenarios and missions (over 100 in all depending on which campaigns you choose to play) and the addition of a multiplayer function, this game is high on my list of things to do on a rainy day. (also known as ''things I do instead of work'')

Wrap up
This game was released awhile ago, followed by several expansion packs and a sequal, so if you find the original at a cheap price, the get your wallet out and spend spend spend! As Mr T might say, ''I PITY DA FOOL WHO DON'T PLAY DIS GAME!''


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/07/01, Updated 11/07/01


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