Review by Fraghappy

"A decent game, especially if you love mythology"

Zeus is Sierra's epic real-time strategy game based on Ancient Greece. Imagine SimCity, just 3000 years ago. You build various public buildings, markets, temples, and housing to make your small little settlement into a flourishing city. You have to provide jobs for the unemployed, and keep a good balance to keep everyone fed, the money made, and the city in good shape.

The major downside of the game does somewhat lack proper militaristic controls. Instead of actually controlling you army on battlefield, you just send them away to the enemy establishment, and hope to Zeus that they win. You can also make allies with your distant neighbors, or conquer other neighbors and get tribute from them. Also, depending on what kind of populace you have in your city, you can get different ranks of soldiers, from the lowly rabble rock-throwers to the well-trained horsemen. However, you need to produce armor and horses for the elite to purchase what is needed to become a higher-ranking soldier. For larger-scale enemies, such as the Minotaur or Medusa, you must summon the mythological heroes that managed to defeat them, Theseus and Perseus in this case. The heroes will not come to just any city, however, you must construct a sanctuary for them and meet the needs that they request.

Probably the biggest part of the game is the pleasing of various gods. When they are angered, they may go on rampages around the city causing havoc and mayhem. You can construct giant temples that drain unbelievable amounts of resources to please them, and they not only sanctify certain buildings of your city, but also add useful bonuses such as Aphrodite making your city more appealing so no one moves away, or Hades who will loan your Cerberus to defend your city when he is needed, and finally a few gods will make a plethora of resources sprout out around their temple, like Athena's grove of olive trees.

The major production of the city rotates around two things. Industry and Agriculture. Agriculture mainly involves farming, mostly with wheat. There are also some who go out and hunt, and the occasional fisherman. Industry involves sending workmen to go up to the mountains to mine silver, copper, and stone, which in turn they can make statues, coins, and other various things to add flavor to the city.

However, at the same time you still have to provide for the needs of the people in your city. They need food, of course from your agriculture, water, and health care, and will also get bored without entertainment. To provide water, you have to set up various fountains around the city for the citizens to drink from, and for health care you can establish various infirmaries across town to mend the hurt or sick. Entertainment is given by building a coliseum, constructing libraries, or setting up podiums around town. To add to the beauty of the city you can also add small parks, gardens, and gazebos.

The graphics for the game are what would be excepted from a game of this type. Animations of the units seem smooth, and on most computers it never gets very ''jumpy.'' The various buildings and monuments were very carefully designed, showing even the most minute details in the renowned Greek architecture. Both the audio and the graphics can be quite comical at times, as various gods may appear and do strange acts and make witty comments.

Overall, Zeus is a pretty fun game for most, and is an absolute must-buy for mythology fans. While it is not one I play as often as some games, it is one I keep around and go back and enjoy on occasion. The price for the game is fairly low in most places, and is worth your investment.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/21/02, Updated 10/21/02

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