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

Contributed by P Boughton (1) on Nov 25, 1999. [revised by : FatherJack (62757) and Patrick Bregger (208029)]. -- edit trivia