Review by XCommander

"Excellent RTS, beginning of a great series"

Before my review, here is a story on how I wandered onto the greatness that is Age of Empires. I got a new Gateway PC circa 1998. There was a Microsoft Demo Pack on it including Motocross Madness, Monster Truck Madness, and others. The real gem in that pack was a quick demo of Age of Empires (the Expansion to be exact). I was so enthralled when I played that game that I asked my mom to pick it up for me at the mall the next time she went. So she went and picked up one of the best Real-Time Strategy Games ever...

AGE OF EMPIRES

Age of Empires was the first Real-Time Strategy Game I ever played. It is now my second favorite genre. Age of Empires has many excellent features in it that set it apart from other RTS'.

Graphics/ Visuals

The graphics in this game are really good for the time it came out. The models for the villagers/ warriors are done very well. The backgrounds are very nice and are almost photorealistic. The game is in all 2D, but good 2D. The game has good graphics, but graphics do not matter in RTS games.

9/10

Sound Effects

The sound effects are not really great, but are still decent. The villagers say strange gibberish when clicking and moving, but it is not that bad. One of the funnier sounds is the one that the priest makes when converting/ healing. It sort of sounds like he is saying or humming, ''Ahhh.... Yo Yo Yo, Ahhh... Yo Yo Yo.'' Believe me when you hear it, will laugh. Overall the SFX are decent.

7/10

Music

Wow, the music in this game is awesome. It really fits in the mood of an ancient civilization. You can hear the strings and even a chorus in the background. All the music is slow and moves around the same speed as the villagers. Overall excellent.

10/10

Gameplay

The gameplay in this game is really good. It is not perfect, but still really good (actually the adjective should be great). You choose a unit, and right click where you want him to go. A menu also appears and he can do what the unit is assigned to do. For example, if you choose a villager you can pick build and then you can build a building like a house or barracks. Each unit can be produced at a building. For example barracks produce Clubmen (at the beginning), but as Ages progress and you research more, you can make Swordsmen and Axemen. That brings me to another element, the Ages. The game has four Ages (Dark Age, Tool Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age) which determine what researches you can get, and what buildings the villagers can produce. It is really and interesting and original concept. The balancing in this game is done well. Ensemble definitely has worked out the kinks alot. Resources are mined through villagers, a la Starcraft you right click where they go and they go back to the building the resource is assigned to. One bad thing though is the pathing for the villagers is bad and they often get caught between trees and buildings.
Overall, Excellent.

9/10

CHEAT ALERT:
The cheats in the game ruin it. Please do not use them. One example is the giant car, which is inputted through the cheat ''bigdaddy'' it kill just about everything.

Online play is good, but it is too unstable. Play Starcraft, or the sequel, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, for a better Online experience.

OVERALL:
This game is superb. I totally respect Ensemble after this awesome effort. A must buy for RTS nuts.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/21/03, Updated 04/21/03


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