Age of Empires

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 December, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 December, 1997, 12:00am

It's a new game of truly epic proportions. Age of Empires, from Bruce Shelley and Ensemble Studios (in partnership with Microsoft), spans 10,000 years of history.

Players become the guiding spirits behind the evolution of small Stone Age tribes which ultimately can transform into wonderful civilisations.

Starting with minimal resources, gamers can choose which way to go to win the contest.

They can conquer other civilisations, explore the known world, accumulate wealth - or all three.

Twelve mighty empires are at their command, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians.

Each has unique attributes based on their real historical counterparts.

Players can build powerful armies, including infantry or warships, chariots or elephant cavalry.

You can even call on expert archers.

A fully integrated scenario editor allows players to create their own situations and campaigns based on their favourite forces.

Buildings and units upgrade and improve quickly as gamers pass from the Stone Age into the Tool Age, Bronze Age and, finally, the Iron Age.

Apart from single-player adventures, individuals can choose to conquer or co-operate with other tribes in a multi-player environment, through the Internet, over an LAN, or modem-to- modem.

Age of Empires plays as good as it looks. The game-play, in fact, is white- hot. It includes sumptuous graphics, amazingly detailed art-work and fluid animation.

There are compelling orchestral CD audio scores to accompany the action.

The smaller, individual sound-effects are well-conceived, drawing players deeper into the absorbing game world.

The inhabitants appear very lifelike as they go about their daily activities of building, gathering food and entering into combat.

There is tremendous attention to detail in Age of Empires.

It requires a multimedia PC with Pentium 90 or higher processor running Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 3).

You need 16 MB of RAM, SVGA, 256-colour monitor with 1 MB of VRAM, and 2 x CD-ROM drive.

Players of this great game also will need a mouse or some other pointing device, 14.4 Kbps modem or higher, and audio-board with speakers or headphones.

MEGAHINT: Catapults and ballistas are powerful against fortifications, so protect them with infantry units - such as hoplites or phalanxes - whose slow speed makes them ideal for running siege escort duty.

MEGAHINT: Destroying the Wonder takes a little while, but eradicating villagers does not take any time at all. You are able to steal yourself some extra hours in this way.

MEGAHINT: Because the computer opponent will come after you with lots of siege weapons, make sure you can counter them with strong walls and infantry and cavalry units.

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