Written by  :  Tomer Gabel (4642)
Written on  :  Feb 28, 2000
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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Heroes of Might & Magic meets Master of Magic - and doesn't quite live up to the names.

The Good

Age of Wonders can be said to be the best strategy game since the amazing Master of Magic. This is largely true, since the only noteworthy games since Master of Magic were Heroes of Might and Magic II and III. At first glance, Age of Wonders seems to be a perfect mix, combining Master of Magic's strategy with Heroes of Might & Magic's, along with a touch of Heroes of Might and Magic's battle system only vastly improved. However, I found Age of Wonders' gameplay to be somewhat... lacking. It certainly has its shares of good qualities though:

  • The first thing about this game which catches the eye is the eye-candy. The graphics are marvellous: images of landscapes, cities, heroes and characters are professionally rendered and create an immersive atmosphere.
  • The next is the incredible music. Professionally done, with excellent samples and great patterns, by one of the two who made the music for Unreal and its sequel Unreal Tournament - Michiel van den Bos. Truly a musical masterpiece, especially in computer game standards.
  • The interface is very well thought out. While captilizing on both Master of Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic, Age of Wonders eliminates most of their weaknesses. Along with the ability to select multiple units at once and the option of semi-simultaneous gameplay, Age of Wonders also features the best battle system to date. Complex rules combined with excellent mouse control and beautiful graphics, Age of Wonders still manages to keep the combat manipulation simple and manageable.

With all those excellent features, what can possibly go wrong with Age of Wonders?

The Bad

Hard to explain. I don't like Age of Wonders for the same reason that I didn't like either Heroes of Might and Magic games. After playing Master of Magic (which is near-perfect in its own), I found that I cannot play other, newer games without having to compare them to Master of Magic.

The result? None of them are adequate. No game managed to captivate me the same way Master of Magic does, and not one seems nearly as addictive as Master of Magic is. Age of Wonders is too much like Heroes of Might and Magic for me to appreciate it.

Guess it's just a matter of taste.

The Bottom Line

A technically magnificent game. I suppose most people (like my brother Miki) will find it one hell of a game, but I find it lacking in gameplay. Guess it's just me.