Review by Fraghappy

"One of the best strategy games..."

The Conquerors is Microsoft's followup expansion to the best-selling game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. The expansion adds new civilizations, new buildings, new units, 8 new map types, several new campaigns, and many other surprises you should find playing the game. This game is a definite must-buy for any serious real-time strategy gamer.

Storyline - 8/10
The storyline of the various missions of the game follow several significant events throughout the history of the world. In addition to the previous Gengis Khan, Joan of Arc, Saladin, and William Wallace campaigns, The Conquerors expansion adds several new breathtaking stories that lead you through the history of Montezuma, El Cid, and Atilla the Hun. Nothing original, however.

Graphics - 9/10
The game's graphics are some of the best for real-time strategy games of its class, showing the realistic detail of the buildings, units, and the environment surrounding them. The animation of the units runs very smoothly on even the slowest of computers. Adding to the feel of the surroundings, you see the occasional bird fly by and the swaying of the flags in the cool breeze. The expansion adds in new features as more trees and plants, and new ice and snow types of terrain. The new building architecture for the Aztec and Mayan civilizations were beautifully designed, along with the original well-detailed buildings from the various areas of Europe.

Sound - 9/10
With brand new music and sound effects, along with all of your old favorites, the sound is some of the best for a real-time strategy game. The music is very smooth and effective, being beautiful, but at the same time not distracting you from the game. The sound effects are perfect, with the realistic firing of the cannons, clanging of swords, and the swoosh of the arrows as they soar through the air, they enhance the realism that was established with the amazing graphics.

Gameplay - 9/10
The gameplay for The Conquerors is simply amazing, being in the top-of-the-line for its class. The expansion adds on to the fun, and many of the previous elements of the game have been refined. Several glitchy elements have been attended to, especially those in the Map Editor. The game still has that wonderful fun factor reminiscent from the original game, and the random map generator allows for a wide variety of different strategies that can be incorporated.

Replay Value - 8/10
The game tends to stay fresh most of the time, but it has its temporary spurts of boredom. The actual game allows for a wide variety of playing, with random map generators, various campaigns, and a Map Editor, but I find I will go a few weeks without playing now and then out of boredom. However, it is a game that you can enjoy playing most of the time when you have a few extra minutes here and there.

Rent or Buy? - Buy
I don't know of any place where you could rent this game, and anyway, since there is an unlimited amount of stuff to do, there is no reason to.

Score - 9/10
Overall, this is probably my favorite real-time strategy game, and is something very much worth checking out, especially if you are into Medieval type stuff. It also has a side historical learning value, and you can learn a lot about Medieval warfare from it. Just remember, you must have the original Age of Empires II game to play it.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/17/02, Updated 10/17/02


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