Sid Meier's Civilization III

aka: Civ3, Sid Meier's Civilization III: More Civ Than Ever, Sid Meier's Civilization III: Più Civ che Mai, Sid Meier's Civilization III: créez le monde à votre image, Sid Meier's Civilization III: das beste Civ aller Zeiten!, Sid Meier's Cywilizacja III, Wenming III
Windows Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 9/21 8:11 PM )

Description official descriptions

Sid Meier's Civilization III is a turn-based strategy game where the objective is to rule the planet with the civilization of the player's choice. Players control one of 15 historic civilizations (Aztecs, Egyptians, Russians, etc). Each civilization has its own particular strengths and weaknesses -- some are more scientific, for example, while others have stronger cultural or military attributes; also, each civilization has its own unique unit, and is more prone to certain forms of government while shunning some others.

Like in the previous titles in the series, the point of the game is to expand the influence of a civilization through resource management, conquest, or trade with other civilizations. As game time progresses from ancient times through the modern era, a civilization will acquire new technologies, which in turn enable interesting new abilities and enhanced power. Since there are several ways to win (military, diplomatic, or cultural), it is up to each player to determine how best to manage the division of labor.

The game includes some mechanics and features which were introduced in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, such as borders between civilizations and the aforementioned differences between each civilization's statistics. The advisors are now present in the upper right corner of the screen in relevant menus. Diplomacy has been expanded, with the ability to trade and even slightly haggle with other civilizations in a more detailed way. Other new additions include the great leader mechanic, war weariness amongst the population, and small wonders.


  • 文明III - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 文明帝國 III - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

139 People (124 developers, 15 thanks) · View all



Average score: 86% (based on 39 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 132 ratings with 7 reviews)

The best civilization and empire-building simulation to date

The Good
Like the original Civ, this game is highly addictive.

One of the biggest improvements are the graphics: the previous Civs had poor, blocky graphics that scaled poorly. CivIII uses sprites rendered from 3D models so the graphics are much more engaging. The graphics are also now animated, so when units are fighting, they actually LOOK like they're fighting instead of just running into one another.

Controls are much better and intuitive. Now you can tell a unit to go to a destination several spaces away. Each turn, he will move closer to his ultimate destination. In previous versions, you had to move each piece manually each turn--often forgetting where you wanted each piece to go in the first place.

The AI and diplomacy are much improved in this version. There are also a variety of ways to win and being able to choose which victory conditions apply is a huge bonus. You can also choose which size "world" you want to play on depending on how much time you have to kill.

Cultural areas of influence is one of the biggest improvements. Before, your civilization was much like a collection of city-states instead of a nation. Now your cities influence an area which creates a national border--something sorely missing from the earlier Civs.

There is no multi-player (without the Play the World expansion), but many fans (including me) regard Civ as essentially a single player game: you against the (very good) AI. Playing multi-player Civ in earlier versions, I don't miss it one bit--I hated waiting for other players to move; the AI thinks and moves much faster.

I may be one of the few people who actually likes the music in the game. While I wouldn't exactly want to listen to the music in the car, the music is appropriate for each age your civilization experiences. Having age-appropriate music makes the game even more immersive for me.

City improvement and unit building has been improved. Now you can use a "queue" of things for your city to work on. After its done building a temple, it knows to build a legion. You don't have to use it, but its nice when you know what you want your city to work on next.

One minor plus is that the game remembers which game you were playing last. When you go to load a game, it automatically selects your last save game file.

The Bad
While almost everything about this game is better, there is one issue that can't really be easily solved. As your civilization grows, the nuances of micro-management get more tedious. It seems you have to tell your people how and where to do every single thing. While the game has an "auto-build" option for cities, I just don't trust it. The "mayor" often seems to want to build the wrong thing. While this gets annoying, I don't know of any way they could have solved it.

Another issue has to do with the opposing nations. The computer moves very fast, but as the game progresses you're forced to watch them do every single thing, most of which you couldn't care less about. You can turn off the "watch other players move" option, but then you miss vital events, like the opposing player entering your national border. It'd be nice to have an option to watch for just "critical" events--things that happen in or near your borders and/or in international areas (like the ocean).

I like to Alt+Tab between applications (sometimes I have to--people IM me or I need a phone number). While Civ3 does Alt+Tab successively, the way they use the video resizes the desktop. Therefore, when Alt+Tabbing to another application, I have to resize it to a relatively tiny size to fit in the resized desktop. The only way to get your original resolution back is to quit the game (and then, you have to resize your windows back up).

These shortcomings are really minor, however. The game's pluses for outweigh its minuses.

The Bottom Line
This game is the most addictive of any of the Civ games. While it has some minor drawbacks, I can't play any of the previous versions without feeling they are just plain broken.

Windows · by Frecklefoot (189) · 2004

A great new game, arguably a classic, but so different from earlier Civs that you can't compare them.

The Good
This game is deeper than the earlier ones without being harder to play. It has nifty things like unique units and special abilities to make each civilization different. It has many things that were sorely missing in Civ2, like better air unit handling and national borders.

The Bad
Despite all the great things in it, this game didn't grab me the way its predecessors (Civilization, Civ2, and Sid Maier's Alpha Centauri) did. It somehow lost that "just one more turn" feeling.

The Bottom Line
Despite its lineage and superficial similarities, this is not really a new version of the classic Civilization. For that, SMAC is still the best. This is a new game in the same genre. It has a lot of cool ideas and features, many of which can be accurately described as improvements, but the sum total of the change is enough to make it play so differently that liking its predecessors will give you much of a hint whether you'll like this one.

Windows · by weregamer (155) · 2003

You call this a game? It's a MASTERPIECE!

The Good
The delightful simplicity even with the complex nature of the game. The Civilipedia is very insightful, and helps you a lot when playing the game. Graphics is good (although not excellent) and music is catchy. The way that it makes me THINK like no other game EVER managed to do is remarkable!

The Bad
Slowness of AI turns during the latter stages of the game was a bit bad, but not bad enough to prevent me from becoming a total addict.

The Bottom Line
All I can say is that if you don't know about this game yet, you're missing out on the most important of all computer games EVER. You probably use your computer only for word processing...

Windows · by Kobus Myburgh (1) · 2005

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


German version

Because they didn't want to wait for Firaxis to release a German version of Civilization III, some German fans started to translate the game. They were about halfway through when they were forced by Infogrames to stop distributing their translation with an injunction, citing copyright infringement. The reason was not so much ill will, but Infogrames' responsibility towards the game's developer Firaxis on the one hand and commercial aspects on the other -- Infogrames wanted to sell its own localized version. As a sign of goodwill, Infogrames payed for the injunction's legal costs, so the fan project came away unharmed.


You may notice that some of the original themes from previous Civ/Sid Meier games have made their way into Civilization III. For example, the Middle Age music for Oriental Civilizations is the Chinese theme song and the Middle Age music for North American Civilizations is 'Tenochtitlan' from Colonization and Civilization II.


The game's initial advertising campaign featured Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln wrestling. This is a reference to a comment made by Brad Pitt after filming Fight Club about the two people he'd most like to see fight each other.

References: Music

1) Let the credits roll through and right at the end, after Shakespeare's quote and after about two or three seconds of the credits screen being blank, a picture of Elvis Putnam appears.

To view this picture manually: Find folder: Infogrames\Interactive\Civilization 3\Art\credits

Then one of the pictures there is called "Elvis Putnam" obviously an Elvis joke of some kind.

2) Access your computer's clock by double-clicking on it, and change the date to January 8. January 8 is Elvis Presley's birthday.

Play any game with either "Regicide" or "Mass Regicide" mode on, and notice that your King unit looks like Elvis! If your Elvis gets into a fight, he will just stand there and say things like "Thank you, thank you very much!"

3) In the screen where you talk to your domestic advisor, you have the option to change your form of government. She will ask you, "You say you wanna revolution?" And you can select either "Yea, you know it's gonna be alright," or "No, you can count me out." Both are lines from the Beatles song Revolution.


  • Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences
    • 2001 - Strategy Game of the Year
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • 2001 - Game of the Year
    • 2001 - Strategy Game of the Year
  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2002 (Issue #213) – Best Game That Didn't Win an Award
  • Gamepen
    • 2001 - PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • Game Revolution
    • 2001 - PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • GameSpot
    • 2001 - Best Single-Player Strategy Game of the Year (Editors' Choice)
    • 2001 - Best Single-Player Strategy Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
  • Gamespy
    • 2001 - PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • GameStar
    • Issue 02/2002 - Best Game in 2001
    • Issue 02/2002 - Best Strategy Game in 2001
    • 2001 - Strategy Game of the Year

Information also contributed by -Chris, Indra was here, Itay Shahar, phlux, Rambutaan and Zack Green

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Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods and Kings
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Sid Meier's Civilization V: Babylonian Civilization Pack
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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 5289


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by berksneighbor.

Macintosh added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: nullnullnull, Kasey Chang, Unicorn Lynx, Xoleras, jean-louis, Paulus18950, SGruber, Patrick Bregger, Danfer.

Game added November 5th, 2001. Last modified August 14th, 2023.