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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.


Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Windows Late imperial
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Windows Main menu (German version)
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Windows A ship in the shallows
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Windows The army of Saladin

Promo Images

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Screenshot
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Screenshot
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Wallpaper
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "帝国时代II:帝王时代" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "世紀帝國 II:帝王世紀" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "AOK" -- Informal title
  • "AoE2" -- Common abbreviation
  • "Age of Empires 2" -- Informal name

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

SHEER GENIUS! This is my favorite game ever! Windows Maw (884)
A must-have for every RTS fan. Windows Sir Gofermajster (491)
The best RTS since StarCraft. Windows Anatole (61)
Definitely the best RTS to date. Nothing can match it. Windows ShadowShrike (303)
One of the best RTS games of all time Windows Robert Teichmann (452)
The best RTS ever made! Windows Charles Auger (3) the beginning Windows Boris Stovich (29)
The best medieval themed RTS of all time Windows Thiago Oliveira (98)
Something of a bore Windows paul cairey (359)

Critic Reviews

Gamers' Temple, The Windows 1999 94 out of 100 94
PC Zone Windows Aug 13, 2001 9 out of 10 90
GamePlasma PlayStation 2 Mar 19, 2004 8.8 out of 10 88
Game Over Online Windows Nov 26, 1999 87 out of 100 87
Freak Windows Nov, 1998 85 out of 100 85 Windows Nov 02, 1999 8.25 out of 10 82
ESC Magazine Windows Oct 15, 1999 8 out of 10 80
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Windows Oct 13, 1999 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80 PlayStation 2 Oct 30, 2001 14 out of 20 70
Gamekult PlayStation 2 Oct 04, 2001 5 out of 10 50


Topic # Posts Last Post
Partial credits? 2 vedder (57605)
Jan 06, 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 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

Related Web Sites

  • Age of Empires II: Age of Kings (Game page on publisher's website (English))
  • 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 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.)
  • (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)
Contributed to by Rynok (27), Xoleras (66458) and Jeanne (76226)