Written by  :  woods01 (163)
Written on  :  May 30, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Addictive despite its flaws.

The Good

This game looks and plays a lot like the designer's classic Civilization game. The difference is that while that game was won by expansion of your civilization and developing technology, this game is won by careful development of your cities and trade. This game is really more about economics than military conquest.

In Colonization you are given different types of prospective colonists with various skills (or lack of skills) and you decide whether to sail them from the Old World to the New. Then you have to get those colonists to where you can take full advantage of their skills. So you'd want to get the miners close to mountains and distillers close to sugar supplies, etc. You then want to arrange trade routes between your cities so you can get your raw materials shipped to cities that can then upgrade it to more refined and valuable goods. Ultimately you can ship your raw or manufactured goods back to the Old World for profit.

Eventually you will reach a point where you will declare independence and have to fight a revolutionary war. Your success in this war is heavily dependent upon how well you fortified your cities and built a strong, diverse economy prior to independence.

The Bad

To get your cities productive will require a lot of micro management of your cities. While I really enjoyed this at first. As I got better at the game it became a bit of a nuisance moving colonists around. I think if the computer could have managed some aspects for you it would have cut down on all the mouse clicking.

But the real sore point of the game is its frustrating combat system. In this game you don't really damage or destroy units, instead, when beaten, a unit downgrades. So after a battle a military unit would loose all its guns making it a normal colonist until you armed it again. While this fits the games focus on economics, it makes for fighting wars very frustrating. After a hard fought battle, unless you had extra troops to mop up the beaten armies they would retreat and return a few turns later rearmed with weapons. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that fighting the King's army is very difficult on the harder settings. I understand that it was made this way to stress the importance of developing your colony's manufacturing . But I think there could have been a better way to portray this in the game.

The Bottom Line

Despite its flawed combat system this game is quite addictive. You will have many late nights perfecting cities and trade routes as you prepare for independence.