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Age of Empires (Windows)

87
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Sir Gofermajster (481)
Written on  :  Jul 20, 2009
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

Old, but still good RTS.

The Good

Age of Empires contains 36 missions divided to 4 campaigns. All of them has good historical description. Moreover, you can play on randomly generated map. You can set numbers of enemies, resources, civilisations (there are 12 civilisations to choose - each of them has different line-up of units and technologies) and more. There are various ways to win - you can destroy all your opponents, capture all artefacts, build a wonder and even more.

Obviously, you can't win without army - you can train axemen, horse archers and hoplites. Additionally, you can construct chariots and catapults. Your army can be upgraded by researching technologies. You should also build towers and walls to protect yourself from enemy's attacks. And believe me, computer player is hard to destroy and likes to attack you frequently.

Naturally, there is multiplayer. Even today you can find somebody to play it using TCP/IP or Internet. Graphically the game looks good, despite being only a 2D game.

The Bad

Unfortunately, controlling your army is difficult. There are no formations, and your soldiers can spread out or lose their way in narrow places.

In AoE also appears frequently very annoying situation - you have to destroy every unit of your enemy to win, so if there's single enemy unit and it's on the other side of map, you have to find it and destroy it. You can spend a lot of time searching of this unit...

Your units lack of proportions - for example, your stables are as big as your catapults, and your little transport ship can carry 5 elephants bigger than ship itself. There are 4 sets of buildings instead for 12 civilisations - Egyptian, Greek, Mesopotamian and Asiatic. So, Phoenicians use Greek tileset, despite the fact that they were unrelated to Greeks in any way, and Sumerians use Egyptian tileset. Moreover, units' appearance doesn't differ in the game, so you can train Greek hoplites when you are playing as Japanese.

Game uses a CD audio music or MIDI music, but watch out - some re-releases don't contain CD audio music, and MIDI music isn't good enough to listen to.

The Bottom Line

If you like RTS games, you should play it - it's one of most influential games in the history, and it's very entertaining, despite few flaws. Just download a patch, disable music and set the highest resolution. You can still download a trial version, which contains 6 missions unavailable in full version.