Review by andymancan1

"As close to perfect as you can get"

PROS: GOD POWERS R COOL; great variety of units; chaotic combat; nearly unlimited replay value; good campaign; outstanding graphics and sound

CONS: Nothing that I can think of…

The pounding of meteors on the enemy town as the phoenixes fly in to do even more damage. A Scylla tossing one ship into another. A gorgon turning a minotaur to stone. The Nidhogg breathing fire on an unsuspecting village. All you can say is “wow.”

All of these instances are in one of the best RTSs ever released onto the market. This piece of pure awesomeness is called Age of Mythology, and it's the best game in the Age of Empires universe. The makers of the first two Age of Empires games, Ensemble Studios, clearly made a good move in spicing everything up. They created one of the most addictive, most enjoyable games that I have ever played.

In Age of Mythology, you have the usual options for battle: Standard, Conquest, and Deathmatch. These all play out the same way as in the last two games, but this game is a heck of a lot better than those. There are three different civilizations to choose from, but each is fully developed here. They are very different from each other- very little is the same. You'll have a different experience playing as a different civilization. Each of the civilizations- Greek, Egyptian and Norse- has three major gods to choose from. These are accurate of what the gods were supposed to be like in those ancient cultures. Each major god has different special abilities, technologies to research, and sometimes exclusive units. In each of the three times when you need to advance to the next age, you get to choose between two minor gods which boast different technologies and units. These units are special “myth units” that are much more powerful- and expensive- than your normal units. They also take up more population space. This adds a new element of strategy. If you're trying to build a Wonder, then choose the minor god that is more defensive. If you're in it to blow apart the enemy town, choose the more aggressive god. It's all in your hands which minor god your people will worship. Also, since different units take up more population space, it furthers the strategy even more. It makes the game even more fun.

Each god- minor and major- has a special “god power” that only they can use. Each god power can be used once, but they are really cool. You can freeze an approaching army, wreck your opponents' towns with meteor showers and tornadoes, cause a rainstorm to increase the farm rate for everyone for a while, get to peek at an unexplored area of the map, kill things, duplicate animals, torch a forest, summon a powerful dragon (Nidhogg), and there are many, many, more. Your foes can also use these god powers on you, making this a really cool game because you never know what'll hit you next. Also, since you can only use them once, it adds even more strategy to the game.

The unit variety is very good here. Although there isn't much difference between major gods of a certain civilization, some minor gods can only be chosen through certain major gods. It's also quite rare that two civilizations worshipping the same major god will use the same strategy, making combat with the same civilization very different no matter what god you're worshipping. And the combat here is amazing. Huge piles of bodies are everywhere, and the one with the better-assembled army will usually win. The more myth units, the crazier it can get, because most myth units have a special ability that can cause major damage. They'll have to recharge after using it, so make sure that they use it correctly. They usually will. The enemy AI is also pretty good. Depending on the difficulty, your enemies will be quite a challenge to take down no matter what. They aren't pushovers, even on the easiest modes.

The campaign here- there's only one but it's really long- is very good. You play as an Atlanteon general, Arkantos, sent to aid in the Greek siege of Troy. After the siege is over, you discover a psychotic Cyclops' plot to take over the world and have to chase him all over Europe and northern Africa. The plot here isn't the greatest, but there are plenty of twists and turns to make the scenarios entertaining. There isn't really than much stuff that's recycled either. The objectives vary in the scenarios enough to make it feel different every time. Overall, the campaign is actually worth playing here.

Not only is this game fun, but the graphics are gorgeous and the sound is very good, too. It's amazing to look at and still a great game.

Now, let me think of something bad to say about this game. Wait… I can't. This game is awesome, addictive, and a whole lot of fun. Even without the expansion pack, it's a blast. You'll be playing this game for several hours a day, never tiring of it, even after a month or two. I've been waiting to say this… Age of Mythology is as close to perfect as you can get. A 10 out of 10. So if you don't have it yet, get off your computer and go buy it now. It's worth every cent you have to pay.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/27/06

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