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The long-awaited follow up to the "spaceploitation" strategy classics Master of Orion and Master of Orion 2, MOO 3 attempts to combine unprecedented depth with user-friendliness in one ultimate "4X" gaming eXperience. The basic game formula is the same, though: start out with one planet, eXplore the galaxy, eXpand by founding new colonies and bases, eXploit resources, and then eXterminate your opponents--or at least show them who is boss!

Many years in the MOO timeline have passed since the last installment of the series. The Antarans have triumphed and imposed their rule on the Orion sector, even dubbing themselves the "New Orions" in their pretentiousness. Most of the old alien species have been defeated and nearly exterminated by the New Orions, but a few remnants of their civilizations still remain as non-playable races, so you will occasionally come across the odd colony of the Darlok, Bulrathi, Alkari, Mrrshan, Elerian, or Gnolam variety. The 16 playable races that have survived the wrath of the Antarans include the insectoid Klackons and Tachidi; the reptilian Raas, Sakkra, and Grendarl; the fishlike Trilarian and Nommo; the robotic Cynoid and Meklar; the humanoid Human, Evon, and Psilon; the crystalline Silicoids; the ethereal Imsaeis and Eoladi; and the genetically-engineered harvesters, the Ithkul.

Management is handled primarily at the imperial level through general plans and policy decrees, with a system of AI viceroys assigned to doing most of the grunt work in managing the various regions of your colonized planets. Up to four great leaders at a time may come forward and join your empire, adding bonuses (and perhaps also penalties) to your base racial abilities. Research is divided into six schools: economics, energy, biological sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics; some 380 technological advances are available overall, and not all will be available to your chosen race.

Ship and ground combat have both changed from previous MOO games. Naval battles are played out in real time, with orders being given to ships assigned to the various task forces you organize before any battles take place. The player now has more tactical options in commanding ground forces in planetary assaults. Espionage is still available for implementing a variety of dirty tricks on opposing empires, and diplomacy is expanded so that you can now negotiate not only on an inter-empire basis, but also through the Orion Senate. With enough votes, laws can be passed by the Senate which have galaxy-wide effects, thus making it possible for the clever diplomat to change the rules of the game to his own advantage.

Victory is yours if you can accomplish one of three things: eliminate all opponents and become Sole Survivor, garner enough votes through diplomacy to become President of the Senate, or recover the five mysterious alien artifacts--the "Antaran Xs"--scattered across the galaxy. Just be prepared for a tough fight, because powerful Guardians will once again stand between you and total mastery of Orion.


Master of Orion 3 Windows Technology research and tree
Master of Orion 3 Windows Ship design and construction
Master of Orion 3 Windows Main Menu - Local Silicoid posing as cover boy uh... cover thing.
Master of Orion 3 Windows A single solar system

Promo Images

Master of Orion 3 Other
Master of Orion 3 Concept Art
Master of Orion 3 Screenshot
Master of Orion 3 Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "MOO 3" -- Informal name
  • "Master of Orion 3: Престол Галактики" -- Russian spelling
  • "Master of Orion 3: The Fifth X" -- Working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Master of Orion 3? This isn't Master of Orion 3...I'm still waiting for a game worthy enough to be called Master of Orion 3 Windows Indra was here (20851)
Disappointing as a MoO game, but unique and arguably good if taken on its own Windows weregamer (169)
Like a great monument. They put so much on it they caused it to fall apart. Windows James Kirk (168)
Why exactly did they do with the extra year of production? Windows William Shawn McDonie (1180)
A great empire management game Windows lucian (40)
A total makeover for a great strategy classic! Windows Josh Miller (7)

Critic Reviews

UGO (UnderGroundOnline) Windows Feb 18, 2003 A- 91
Gameplay (Benelux) Windows Mar 31, 2003 80 out of 100 80
UOL Jogos Windows Aug 19, 2003 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Gamesmania.de Windows Mar 24, 2003 67 out of 100 67
Games Finder Windows Jan 24, 2014 6 out of 10 60
Mac Addict Macintosh Jul, 2003 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Game Revolution Windows Mar 01, 2003 C+ 58
PC Action (Germany) Windows Apr 07, 2003 54 out of 100 54
Rebell.at Games Windows Mar 10, 2003 4 out of 10 40
Withingames Windows Mar 05, 2003 2 out of 5 40


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False demo version

The Australian magazine PC Powerplay claimed to be the first to get an exclusive "demo" of Master of Orion III when in reality what it got given was a pre-alpha release of the game from the publishing house, Infogrames. Here is the press release Quicksilver Software released after the incident:
As many of you know, the Australian magazine PC PowerPlay has recently released what they thought was a demo of Master of Orion III. Obviously this has caused a big stir around the Quicksilver offices since we've never made a MOOIII demo. Apparently what they got their hands on was a pre-alpha version of MOOIII that was delivered as one of our normal milestone deliveries to Infogrames and was never meant for public consumption. I spoke to our producer at Infogrames this morning and what I've been told is that one of the Infogrames employees at the Australian office gave the CD out without authority and that led to its release. At this point Infogrames is dealing the problem but obviously there's only a certain amount that can be done after the fact.

So, for those that have seen the version, please realize that what you have is NOT an official demo. It's a pre-alpha build that is buggy, incomplete and needs a lot of tuning/adjustment of screens. Moreover, while we'll be leaving any screenshots up on the forums that have been posted we will be removing any links to actual copies of the version since we don't feel it's representative of the game. Thanks for everyone's support.

It is to be hoped that gamers who get their hands on the alpha won't assume it's representative of the final game.


  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2004 – Worst Game of the Year 2003
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 04/2009 – One of the "10 Most Terrible Sequels" (The best parts of Master of Orion II are the logical game mechanics and the easy to learn menu structure. All that got improved for the worst by complicating everything and focusing on macro management. Also the exciting turn-based combat got replaced by ugly real-time battles.)
Information also contributed by PCGamer77.

Related Web Sites

  • Master of Orion 3 (official website)
  • Build Galactic Empires (An Apple Games article (archived on the author's webpage) about the Macintosh version of Master of Orion 3, with commentary being provided by Quicksilver Software President Bill Fisher (January, 2003).)
  • Master of Orion III - The Official Web Site (The official home page for Master of Orion 3, created and maintained by its developer, Quicksilver. )
  • NZMac (A (largely) unscored review of the Macintosh version of the game by NZMac, a New Zealand Apple site. The review is ultimately positive, though with some qualifiers (Jul. 01, 2003).)
  • The Master of Orion 3 Guardian (Fan site offering various information on MOO 3, including modifications ("Mods") of the original game. Has sections for MOO 1 and 2, too.)
  • The Orion Sector (A site run by MOO fans devoted to the latest news, previews, reviews, info, downloads, and more for Master of Orion 3. )
Contributed to by PCGamer77 (3225) and Terok Nor (32499)
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