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SummaryVenni Vinni Vicci! (or whatever)
The GoodThe first thing that appealed to me about this game was the fact that you can see your citizens wandering around the street. Sim City 2000 was one of my all time favorite games, but I felt that it lacked the ability to personally see what your Sims are up to during the day. Caesar II allowed you to not only see where your citizens go in the day, but you can also hear their thoughts on what a great (or bad) guy you are, as well as hearing what they desire and a more detailed description of their job and where they're going. This nice touch made me realize that my little digital citizens actually exist, if only in virtual reality. If Sim City 2000 had this feature, maybe I wouldn't have started so many fires by the zoo.
City-building is a lot of fun in Caesar II. Houses start out as worthless huts, but as you expand and add to your city, the houses begin to look better and start to expand. Ever citizen and every house has needs, and they will not expand until you can meet these needs. People need water, for instance, so you will have to build aqueducts or wells to bring the water to them. They'll also need access to the marketplace, or churches. And once the really rich citizens start moving in, and the houses begin to look fancy, they'll be asking for really expensive and elegant things, like, say, a colosseum or a chariot race track.
I've compared this game to Sim City 2000 at least twice now, and I think it's a valid comparison. Caesar II is, after all, a city building sim at heart. Of course, the two games are very similar, but it's not as simple as saying "Caesar II is Sim City 2000 but in Roman times!", because it's not. Caesar II takes a few steps forward and adds an expanded commerce, trading goods and the bloody, military side of Rome.
There are two modes to play in Caesar II. You can either play a city-building sim, which could be compared to Sim City 2000 (but in Rome), or you can play the campaign, where you'll not only have to build an efficient and functional city, keeping your citizens happy and allocating plebs where needed, but you'll also have to expand outward, to other locations as to acquire resources for trade and, of course, more income. Using the income, you must also build a military, not only to guard your city from invaders, but to invade opposing cities, settlements and encampments.
The battles are fun to play and watch. You can have quite a large army charging into battle, with many different units available, from spearmen to elephant riders.
The BadThe combat doesn't have a lot of strategy involved. There is no terrain to take advantage of or anything of that nature. It usually boils down to who has the largest, most powerful army.
The difficulty might turn some players away. It can get quite tough at times, especially when your citizens start rioting and starting fires.