Review by Sheepy99

"Civilization II.5?"

After Civilization II was released by Microprose, Sid and Microprose had a falling out and Sid left with a large number of people behind Civ II and created their own company ''Firaxis''. Alpha Centauri was the first game to be produced by Firaxis and the fans hoped that this would be the game to be an ''unofficial Civ III'' since Microprose had the rights to the Civilization name.

- The Story -
At the end of Civ II your spaceship that was built makes it to Alpha Centauri, and you see a picture of a colony and the game ends. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC) picks the story up after that. It turns out that the spaceship that left Earth had some problems. Several factions grew on how to colonize the new planet that they would eventually reach. Not only where there political problems (the captain of the ship was assassinated), but also mechanical problems too. Eventually the spaceship reaches the new planet and the factions split up and settle different parts of the new soil.

- Gameplay -
The factions take the place of the ''civilizations'' of previous games. The different factions have different goals and it shows in their development. For example the Gaians tend to be ''earth friendly'' while the Morgans tend to be industrialized. The different agendas impact nearly everything from diplomacy (Morgans and Gaians don't to tend to get along) to trade and war. The gameplay is much like that of Civ I and Civ II. Where you take a settling unit and found a city. You then build up your city, build new settlers, and raise an army. There are several new ways to win. Such as be elected as planetary president. Monopolize the energy market, or kill everybody else. There are some wonder buildings like that of the Civ games with similar effects. The gameplay tends to become very addictive.

- The Graphics -
Some major changes have taken place since Civilization II. Gone are flat dimensions( a hill or a mountain really look like a hill or mountain). A nice new feature are the ''Landmarks'' such as Mount Planet (a huge volcano) or Monsoon Jungle (a big green jungle that gives out lots of food). Gone are the flat none moving images of Civ II. Units actually move in a 380 degree radius. My favorite new feature by far would have to be the inclusion of boarders. No longer can a foreign unit park itself in your land without something happening. The one weak spot of the graphics are the dark colors that are everywhere (which give it a Mars or Venus look). It would have been nice to get some nice bright colors just once in a while. They also took out the city view which I happened to enjoy.

- Audio/Video - Sounds are sci-fi and generally fit the mode. Wonder movies are well animated and give the game a good feel. Not a lot of memorable tracks unfortunately.

- Replay - This game is farely large and has a lot of the same reply as Civ I and II. Unfortunately gone are the map tools of Civ II, and the tools that do exist are rather cumbersome and hard to use.

- Buy? - This game is really cheap and is a great buy. You can probably find the expansion pack with this game for around $30. You'd be a fool not to get this game.

The final tally:
Gameplay: 10 (kinda like civ II on Mars)
Story: 10 (I always wondered what happen to that space ship from Civ II)
Graphics: 8 (Good for the most part, can cause eye strain after a while)
Audio/Video: 9 (Love those Wonder movies)
Replay : 8 (same as Civilization games without all the tools)
Buy : YES
Total : 9

This game has soo many goodies you'll be playing for weeks just to find them all. My least favorite part is the workshop menu where you can dink with new units but often times making them more expensive and it tends to get overwhelming. This game will hold you till Civ III comes out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/14/01, Updated 08/14/01

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