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SPQR: The Empire's Darkest Hour (Windows 3.x)

53
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
1.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5235)
Written on  :  Aug 17, 2001
Platform  :  Windows 3.x
Rating  :  1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars

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Summary

Utterly lonely game.

The Good

Graphically this game was impressive. I would recommend this game to someone interested in walking around Rome. This product worked very well as educational software.

The Bad

This game was utterly devoid of characters. You are an apprentice to an inventor who has been arrested on trumped up charges. There is a threat to the Roman Empire that he stumbled across and now you must use his notes and his "invention" to prevent the fall of the Roman Empire. Okay-- having said that, you never see any of the suspects. You might read about them in the paper or find their journals, but there is no character interaction. Also the streets of Rome are empty. Ambient noise suggests people, but visually this is highly depressing. At least Myst was set on a deserted island.

Gameplay was terrible. There were puzzles to solve throughout the year. This involved locating all the important areas and finding out on what day of the year they would be open. Then you had to wait in front of that building until it opened and solve some puzzle. The programmers accommodated the player for this poor design in two ways. First, it was possible to accelerate the speed of the game so waiting for buildings to open was annoying rather than intolerable. Second, the imprisoned inventor's "invention" was a device that allowed the player to point and click on a map to get to a location.

Finally, the ending(s) were all disappointing.

The Bottom Line

What if Rome fell and no one was around to hear? Save your money, buy a book on Rome and look at the pretty pictures, watch Gladiator, whatever.