Master of Orion 3 (Windows)

Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
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The long-awaited follow up to the "spaceploitation" strategy classics Master of Orion and Master of Orion 2, MOO 3 attempts to combine unprecedented depth with user-friendliness in one ultimate "4X" gaming eXperience. The basic game formula is the same, though: start out with one planet, eXplore the galaxy, eXpand by founding new colonies and bases, eXploit resources, and then eXterminate your opponents--or at least show them who is boss!

Many years in the MOO timeline have passed since the last installment of the series. The Antarans have triumphed and imposed their rule on the Orion sector, even dubbing themselves the "New Orions" in their pretentiousness. Most of the old alien species have been defeated and nearly exterminated by the New Orions, but a few remnants of their civilizations still remain as non-playable races, so you will occasionally come across the odd colony of the Darlok, Bulrathi, Alkari, Mrrshan, Elerian, or Gnolam variety. The 16 playable races that have survived the wrath of the Antarans include the insectoid Klackons and Tachidi; the reptilian Raas, Sakkra, and Grendarl; the fishlike Trilarian and Nommo; the robotic Cynoid and Meklar; the humanoid Human, Evon, and Psilon; the crystalline Silicoids; the ethereal Imsaeis and Eoladi; and the genetically-engineered harvesters, the Ithkul.

Management is handled primarily at the imperial level through general plans and policy decrees, with a system of AI viceroys assigned to doing most of the grunt work in managing the various regions of your colonized planets. Up to four great leaders at a time may come forward and join your empire, adding bonuses (and perhaps also penalties) to your base racial abilities. Research is divided into six schools: economics, energy, biological sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics; some 380 technological advances are available overall, and not all will be available to your chosen race.

Ship and ground combat have both changed from previous MOO games. Naval battles are played out in real time, with orders being given to ships assigned to the various task forces you organize before any battles take place. The player now has more tactical options in commanding ground forces in planetary assaults. Espionage is still available for implementing a variety of dirty tricks on opposing empires, and diplomacy is expanded so that you can now negotiate not only on an inter-empire basis, but also through the Orion Senate. With enough votes, laws can be passed by the Senate which have galaxy-wide effects, thus making it possible for the clever diplomat to change the rules of the game to his own advantage.

Victory is yours if you can accomplish one of three things: eliminate all opponents and become Sole Survivor, garner enough votes through diplomacy to become President of the Senate, or recover the five mysterious alien artifacts--the "Antaran Xs"--scattered across the galaxy. Just be prepared for a tough fight, because powerful Guardians will once again stand between you and total mastery of Orion.


Master of Orion 3 Windows Zoomed out galactic view
Master of Orion 3 Windows Multiplayer with GameSpy
Master of Orion 3 Windows Encyclopedia with info on races, technologies, etc
Master of Orion 3 Windows Technology research and tree

Alternate Titles

  • "MOO 3" -- Informal name
  • "Master of Orion 3: Престол Галактики" -- Russian spelling
  • "Master of Orion 3: The Fifth X" -- Pre-release working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Master of Orion 3? This isn't Master of Orion 3...I'm still waiting for a game worthy enough to be called Master of Orion 3 Indra is stressed (20013) 1.83 Stars1.83 Stars1.83 Stars1.83 Stars1.83 Stars
Disappointing as a MoO game, but unique and arguably good if taken on its own weregamer (157) 3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars
Like a great monument. They put so much on it they caused it to fall apart. James Kirk (159) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Why exactly did they do with the extra year of production? William Shawn McDonie (1088) 0 Stars0 Stars0 Stars0 Stars0 Stars
A great empire management game lucian (37) 3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars
A total makeover for a great strategy classic! Josh Miller (7) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars

Critic Reviews

Gameplay (Benelux) Apr, 2003 80 out of 100 80
Game Critics Apr 23, 2003 8 out of 10 80
GameSpy Feb 26, 2003 76 out of 100 76
PC Zone Benelux May, 2003 68 out of 100 68
GameSpot Mar 05, 2003 6.7 out of 10 67
Game Revolution Mar 01, 2003 C+ 58
PC Games (Germany) Apr 22, 2003 52 out of 100 52
Game Watcher Aug 29, 2003 4.7 out of 10 47
Withingames Mar 05, 2003 2 out of 5 40 (UK) Mar 31, 2003 3 out of 10 30


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Master of Orion 3 was named #1 Worst Game of the Year in the “Best of 2003” Awards in Computer Games Magazine (March 2004 issue).

Related Web Sites

  • Build Galactic Empires (An Apple Games article (archived on the author's webpage) about the Macintosh version of Master of Orion 3, with commentary being provided by Quicksilver Software President Bill Fisher (January, 2003).)
  • Master of Orion III - The Official Web Site (The official home page for Master of Orion 3, created and maintained by its developer, Quicksilver. )
  • NZMac (A (largely) unscored review of the Macintosh version of the game by NZMac, a New Zealand Apple site. The review is ultimately positive, though with some qualifiers (Jul. 01, 2003).)
  • The Master of Orion 3 Guardian (Fan site offering various information on MOO 3, including modifications ("Mods") of the original game. Has sections for MOO 1 and 2, too.)
  • The Orion Sector (A site run by MOO fans devoted to the latest news, previews, reviews, info, downloads, and more for Master of Orion 3. )
PCGamer77 (3008) added Master of Orion 3 (Windows) on Feb 20, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Terok Nor (21038)