Review by Scottie theNerd

"A Wonderful RTS Game with Historical Value"

Man has been at war since his emergence into the Stone Age. It started it with tribal conflict and led to open war between civilisations. In the original Age of Empires, civilisations such as the Greeks, Phoenicians and Hittites were portrayed in the early days of man. Age of Empires: Rise of Rome expansion offered fans a temporary recess during the wait for Age of Empires II. Rise of Rome portrayed the Roman Empire at it's power and offered players different units and technologies.

Then, there was Age of Empires II. Indeed, it was a great game. Based around the Medieval Times, the Ages of Stone and Iron are long past, the Roman Empire albeit diminished. With the Periods now divided into Dark Age, Feudal Age, Castle Age and Imperial Age, and with all new civilisations that were around that time, as well as totally new units and technologies, Age of Empires II was highly successful.

But there were glitches. A.I. was rather sloppy. And there was some inconvinience with managing resources. Some of these problems were fixed in various patches, but the Expansion Pack, the Conquerors, combined the patches with all new material.

The Conquerors moves from the the Age of Kings into the times of Conquerors. New Civilisations include the Aztecs, Mayans, Spanish, Korean and Huns, each with their own unique units and various advantages which affect the way they are used.

There are also new technologies, such as Herbal Medicine (units in buildings recover HP 4x faster), as well as ''Unique'' Technologies that each civilisation possesses. These ''Unique'' Technologies increase the abilities of that civilisations prowess, from increasing the range of Archers, to increasing Elephant speed, to causing Trample damage from Cataphracts.

The Artificial Intelligence has also been boosted. Villagers are now smarter in many ways. When they finish building a resource drop-point, like a Mining Camp, the Villagers that built it will automatically mine gold or stone if there is any nearby. When building Walls, Villagers will spread out along the desired stretch and build each section individually instead of bunching up at one and and moving along the length, causing numerous potential builders to go Idle.

There are also new units and upgrades available, such as the Hussar (upgraded from Light Calvary) and Petard (a suicide attacker holding barrels of explosive).

You now also have the ability to ''queue'' farms, the same way you queue units for production. Before The Conquerors, farms had to be replenished manually when they were exhausted. Now, you can queue farms so villagers will automatically replant them when necessary.

With new races, come new campaigns. You can now follow the footsteps of El Cid, Attila the Hun and Montezuma. There is also ''Battle of the Conquerors'', in which you can re-create various historical battles and campaigns such as Kyoto and Agincourt.

There is also a larger number of maps, and these include Real World locations such as the Middle East and Texas, where you can ''recreate the battle between the Mayans and the Koreans over the Lone Star State''.

Multiplayer capabilities are still intact, with standard games or custom scenarios. However, Microsoft's Zone is still not as good as Blizzard's, and until some improvement is shown, Age of Empires will not have the revolutionary popularity of games like Starcraft.

Visual: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Fun Factor: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Replay: 9/10

Overall : 9/10

A good game, and a must for fans of the RTS genre.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/18/01, Updated 12/18/01

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