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Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

aka: AOK, Age of Empires 2, AoE2
Windows Specs [ all ]
Buy on PlayStation 2
Buy on Windows
$23.79 used, $50.00 new at eBay
(prices updated 9/20 4:54 AM )

Description official descriptions

In Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, the player takes control of one of thirteen civilizations, including the Chinese, Goths, Britons, and Vikings, among others. The player starts with a handful of villagers, through expansion and careful handling of the economy, the player can advance up to the point where powerful war machines and well trained masses of troops will be the player's to make and control.

There are three distinct ways to play, one of which the object is to hunt and kill the other player(s) king, however there are a lot of options for each, anywhere from what type of map to start on (including coastal, gold rush, arabia, and rivers) to what the maximum amount of units are allowed.

The player can also play online at the Zone vs. up to seven other players, or via a TCP/IP connection.


  • 世紀帝國 II:帝王世紀 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 帝国时代II:帝王时代 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

488 People (171 developers, 317 thanks) · View all

Lead Programming
Lead Art
[ full credits ]



Average score: 88% (based on 61 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 239 ratings with 9 reviews)

The best RTS ever made!

The Good
The amount of options you have in this game are incredible. The included mission packs are insanely fun to play, including such famous people as William Wallace and Genghis Khan. There is a lot of game to play, and barely any micro-management is required to keep your cities up and running and to keep on producing units.

An included mission editor makes the game even greater, as any kind of mission you would like to create can be made with an easily learned scripting system.

The Bad
The pathfinding of the units is not perfect, but no pathfinding is perfect, and it is generally better than other games from it's time period.

The Bottom Line
The greatest RTS ever made, with limitless amounts of options for all players, and with the included mission editor, even more options as you can download other peoples works.

Windows · by Charles Auger (2) · 2008

Definitely the best RTS to date. Nothing can match it.

The Good
Age of Empires was so good that when I heard about Kings, I was a bit confused-- how could it get any better? Here in AoE you had smoothly animated, realistic units, varied civilizations, epic pitched battles, and an expansion pack that added to the fun.

But it did get better. AoK is clearly a gem right from the get-go. The graphics have been greatly enhanced. They are still flat sprites, but Age of Kings uses 2d graphics better than any other game I have ever played. You hardly ever see a clipping error, IE a catapolt wheel running through a house (which is painfuly common in other 2d RTSs). Another thing few people know is that the sprites were only in 256 color, a choice the devs made to keep performance optimal. Well, I didn't even realize this until I was told!

So many things have been expanded, fixed, and polished since AoE I really don't know where to start. One of the major ones, however, is scale-- no longer are building either 2 or 4 times as big as cavalry; no, now trees stand as high as they should, barracks are properly large, and castles tower above all before them.

All sorts of new features have been added too. You can now garisson your units inside of buildings, something I can't believe I lived without before. Archers and townspeople will fire out at attackers if they come near. Units are more plentiful and balanced, and they look cooler too. Researches no longer occur in weird places (whoever heard of researching Watch Towers at a grainery? Well, no more!).

Some people dislike the game because of its scope. It has more resources, units, tactics, and ways to utterly destroy your enemy than any other RTS out there. It takes almost forever to master this game, and then you'll find that it's a whole new challange to play a different civilization with a different special unit.

There are all sorts of game types, the random map generater is better, maps are bigger (up to four times), and enemies are a hell of a lot smarter. If you've been playing for years, like I have, you'll still get to know all their possible tactics fairly well, but to be honest with you I still can't beat the game on the hardest difficulty level. The unit max has been moved up to 200-- wooohoo!

I really should put loads more here, but I couldn't possibly cover all of the improvments. Suffice to say that just about everything that could have been fixed and/or enhanced from AoE was.

The Bad
...just about everything. The diplomacy is still awful. Now, don't get me wrong; I almost feel like a traitor for not putting this in the Good section, because the guys at Ensemble clearly made it much better. But they just didn't get it right (again). As I said, it's better; you can actually tempt players to become your allies, trade with them well, etc. But there are HUGE holes in the AI code! For example, if you make someone your ally, you can switch your status with them to Enemy for a second and then go slaughter a hundred of their men, while they whine 'I'm your friend, be mine!' (I do this when they're hacking at MY lumber). Then when you're done, switch your status back to Ally again, and bam-- you're bestest friends again! They don't have a single memory of the terrors you unleashed unto their civilization. Huh.

I also miss the animated cutscenes from AoE. I know they had reasons to keep them out of this one, but I still really miss them.

I also felt that the map system could have used some tweaking, to handle their Campaigns (that attempted to put some RPG into the game, like W3: RoC did later). The Campaigns were not the best I've played in a game. But hey... who plays them anyways?!

The Bottom Line
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings remains, in my opinion, the undisputed master of the real-time strategy scene. No other game-- yes, not even the overhypted Warcraft 3-- can defeat it. This isn't a game with hours of gameplay inside-- it's a game with years of it.

Windows · by ShadowShrike (277) · 2005

One of the best RTS games of all time

The Good
A great mixture of Warcraft II and Civilization. Great graphics, nice music and very deep gameplay make this one of the best RTS games ever. Many civilizations to choose from, lots of units and many little facets in the game make for a long entertaining and sometimes frustrating game experience. The interface is complex, but still easy to learn. It's mainly a multiplayer game, though. There are single player campaigns and there are random games against computer opponents but they are only there to train for the battles on the net.

The Bad
The computer AI has some weaknesses like the computer's settlers stopping their work and following a unit endlessly when being attacked by a scout. Marvels can make easy wins for fairly poor players. The game frame rate drops down a lot even on faster computers when you move large numbers of units and can make huge battles a pain.

The Bottom Line
A good mixture of developing a civilization, exploring and real-time battles. All in all a great game especially in multiplayer mode.

Windows · by Robert Teichmann (415) · 2000

[ View all 9 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Partial credits? Mtik333 (24366) Jan 6th, 2022


1001 Video Games

The PC version of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cut Content

Age of Kings, during its development, was subject to many changes. Some things that were cut out of the final game are...

  • A fifth resource: ore. Was removed because it made the game too complex.

  • Outlaw units. These were intended to function like wolves, guys that belong to no player and attack you if you get near. Were removed because they were too annoying.

  • Sea walls. These were supposed to be built by ships and could withstand a good amount of damage. I'm not sure why they weren't included.

  • Dolphins: you were supposed to be able to fish these like any other sort of fish. Microsoft forced Ensemble to remove them!

The interesting thing is, all of those things and more are still hidden in the game, buried inside the .dat file. If you reverse-engineer the game, you are able to access them, and add them to custom scenarios. Templates have been released that contain all of them.

Dry Dock Technology

Dry dock technology decreases the amount of gold a trade cog brings back home. The reduction can be at least 33% in some cases.

It seems to be balanced with the ship speed increase so that the productivity of trade cogs remains about the same as before dry dock research. In some cases I had slightly better gold income (gold/second) before the research of dry docks than after. I did not make a thorough testing with many different distances, but what I did was test it in a deathmatch game too, to be sure it does happen in real games.

Source - From a post by SimMayor [email protected] on the AoE2.com forum



The EULA of this game includes a clause which prohibits the use of Age of Empires II in a nuclear plant.


The MSN Gaming Zone is notoriously easy to hack, and cheaters are rife in Age of Kings games. A programmer named Tormentium released an unofficial patch for AoK (1.0E), which is supposed to make the game harder to hack. Too bad it doesn't work.


Before release, multiple pre-release versions were released on internet Warez sites. According to Matt Pritchard, they usually were only one or two weeks older than the latest in-house versions. It seems they came from various sources, including press previews, Microsoft test versions and even from Ensemble employees. They were also multiple attempts of hacking Ensemble's server and network.

On a lighter note, the German magazine GameStar bribed one of the official webmasters with "German beer" for some exclusive screenshots.


This occurs during the Saladin Single Player campaign, during the mission in which you secure Jerusalem. If you strike down the Knights Templar leader (a hero unit), he declares, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!" This is obviously a reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi dueling Darth Vader in Star Wars: A New Hope.


Between 1999 and 2000, Age of Empires II (PC) won a single Gold- and three Platinum-Awards from the German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany) for selling more then 100,000 units (Gold) and more then three times 200,000 units (Platinum) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As the Gold-Award is not counted into the Platinum-Award, all four awards total in between 700,000 and 1,700,000 units sold.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2000 (Issue #188) – Best Weapon of the Year (for the Trebuchet)
    • March 2000 (Issue #188) – Best Interface Design of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #16 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • 1999 - Best Game (Editors' Vote)
    • 1999 - Best Game (Readers' Vote)
  • PC Gamer
    • 1999 - Real-Time Strategy Game of the Year
  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2000 - Best Real-Time Strategy Game in 1999
  • Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (Entertainment Software Association Germany)
    • 1999/2000 - Gold Award for selling more then 100,000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • 1999/2000 - Three Platinum Awards for selling more then 200,000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Every award is counted individually

Information also contributed by Heikki Sairanen, Ingold, jeremy strope, Maw and Xoleras

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Related Sites +

  • Age of Kings A t r i u m   Your only source for Age of Kings
    A fan site with all the game info. Info on all the different tribes. Great forum & a page with a lot of links to other fan sites .a must site of visited.
  • Age of Empires II: Age of Kings
    Game page on publisher's website (English)
  • Age of Kings Heaven -
    A fan site with all the game info. Info on all the different tribes. a must site of visited.
  • AoK Battlefield
    The webmasters show a lot of dedication of their site, they even took a visit to the ES office. Updated regularly and has contests for war stories and other things. Nice looking ubb forums in which to post.
  • Berserker Clan
    A group of keen AoK gamers that compete regularly online. The site has a large number of recorded games, and active forum, and some other game-related downloads.
  • IGCD Internet Game Cars Database
    Game page on IGCD, a database that tries to archive vehicles found in video games.
  • King Arthur's Castle - Camelot
    Updated regularly and a nice stylish design. The team of webmasters seem to be very dedicated and it has shown so far.
  • MrFixitOnline.com
    Probably the best site to improve your game skills. Many tactics, a strategy forum, recorded games and much more.
  • Planet Age Of Empires
    A very good website with tons of info and files, including recorded games, maps, scenarios, and AI editing tools. Also has a large forum.
  • Wikipedia - Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
    article about the game in the open encyclopedia

Identifiers +


Know about this game? Add your expertise to help preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Rynok.

PlayStation 2 added by Xoleras. Macintosh added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: MajorDad, P Boughton, Robert Teichmann, Dr. Elementary, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Dapy, Maw, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Victor Vance, FatherJack, Flapco.

Game added November 2nd, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.