Review by DarthMarth
"An excellent RTS that has little need for improvement"
Even if it is overshadowed today by real-time strategy games like its sequel, Age of Mythology and Warcraft III, Age of Empires II: The Conquerors is still a worthy game for anyone who likes RTS.
Age of Empires II: TC's controls are straightforward and should be easy for anyone to master, unless they have never played an RTS before. It includes all the features of other strategy games such as # grouping units and waypoints. It should never be difficult to get you units to move from one place to the next, or research that next arrow upgrade. IN terms of control, the only thing that can be frustrating is trying to place Dock. Stupid Dock... Anyway, onto the actual game. Unlike most other real-time and turn-based strategy games, Age of Empires II: TC is incredibly realistic and is even based on actual history. The awesome campaigns have excellent missions and are based on stories of real-life conquerors, like in the original. You can fight your opponent with a variety of historic units, like archer, knights, swordsmen, trebuchets, and ships. You can play as a variety of great historic empires. Along with bestowing you with various bonuses, each civilization has its own unique unit and technology. The unique units range from the long-ranged Longbowman (my personal favorite) to the Huskarl, who wears armor that makes him nearly immune to arrows. There is a complex rock-paper-scissors mechanism in the game. If you want to win, you must build a balanced army. Besides the campaigns, you can also play a number of random maps, like Regicide (where you must kill the enemy kings) and Deathmatch, where each player starts with massive amounts of resources. The random maps also contain an annoying bug that brings the gameplay score down. Whenever the computer thinks you have the slightest chance of winning, it resigns, ending the game and depriving you of the thrill of victory. The expansion for Age of Empires adds many new features. There are new civilizations and units along with new random map features.
How much you like the game's sotry depends strongly on how you like history class. All the game's campaigns are directly based on historical campaigns, like Attila the Hun and Montezuma. Age of Empires II: TC does a great job of making history fun.
There is actually not that much sound in the game. The music is fitting of the game's medieval theme, but is not all that good. Luckily, it is quiet and unobtrusive, so you may actually end up turning it up to help you get into the mind of a middle ages commander.
By today's standards, Age of Empire's graphics are horrible. The units are pixilated and not very realistic. It is not hard to tell units apart, but they still look chunky. I can imagine that the graphics were considered much better back when the game was first released.
Like most RTS, Age of Empires II: TC has almost unlimited replay value. The sheer depth of the game can keep you playing for months.
If you are a fan ofRTS games or like nostalgic games, you will probably like Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. If not, give it a try anyway. And you don't really have a choice, because it isn't easy to rent computer games.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/05/03, Updated 02/05/03
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