Review by HammerSuit
"What can't you do in this game?"
Alpha Centauri is a really good strategy game that incorporates the elements of war, government, diplomacy, and nature. This game is almost exactly like any game from the Civilization series, with a few exceptions. For those of you who haven't played the any of the games from the Civilization series, Alpha Centauri is a turn-based game that simulates the beginning of mankind to the end of mankind; you play the ruler of an empire. There are 6 different empires that all seek the same thing, to become supremely powerful.
The graphics are just plain bad. If want good graphics, then don't even bother with this game. For a game that came out in the mid-ninties, it has piss poor graphics. Graphics mean next to nothing in this game.
The reason I gave this category a 10 is not because the sounds are exceptionally good, but because they fit the game perfectly. While you might not like the fact that there's no orchestral background to the Alpha Centauri music or sounds, you won't contest the fact that the music could not match the game any better.
The reason that the gameplay gets such a high score, is because this game is almost endless in its possibilities. You can beat the game many different ways, and they all make sense. Even though this game is based upon farfetched pseudo-scientific technologies, the ''would be realistic if they did exist'' is very well done. The smallest differences and changes make for very monumental effects in this game. So, while giving ''+2'' or ''+1'' to something might not seem like a lot, it's the difference between being the most powerful, and being the weakest.
There are quite a bit of things that keep this from being the ''perfect strategy game''. In multiplayer, it gets pretty annoying when you can't turn off ''auto-customize units''. There's a feature that lets you literally make your own military and infantry and industrial vehicles; by the time you get half-way through the game, any new technology that you discover will add 10 minutes to each person's turn, because it takes a long time to scroll through hundreds of useless ''auto-customized'' units to get to the actual units that you would use and designed yourself.
The AI ''cheats'' pretty badly in this game. While it might not give any bonuses or anything, they stack everything against you. They always put your civilization next to the civilization that is best suited to destroy you. The computer ''teams up on you''. They don't all ally with each other and attack you, but they like to present the game with a string of events that will put you in the worst possible diplomatic situations.
Alien life-forms are by far the worst thing in this game. Alien life-forms are neutral units that appear in ''dirty'' areas (polluted areas, ecological disasters, environmentally dangerous areas, and etc.). So, a strong economy equates to ''dirtiness'', which equates to being mobbed by Alien life-forms. You can't turn Alien life-forms off, unfortunately. So basically, the better off your civilization is, the more aliens you'll find attacking you. Towards the end of the game, it will take 10 minutes for the computer to complete its turn, simulating 250 mindworms attacking your city.
These are the biggest problems with the game. Of course, there are many small problems, but those are don't affect gameplay enough to worry about them.
This game is definitely worth buying. Unfortunately, you'll find yourself attached to your seat for hours while enjoying this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/29/03, Updated 03/29/03
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