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Written by  :  kbmb (435)
Written on  :  Jan 29, 2003
Platform  :  Windows

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful

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It has the base of a great RTS, but it's too flawed to recommend.

The Good

A fantasy-styled RTS where the Gods actually care about you, unlike other games where churches and other religion-based structures and units are there only to make your units happier or to keep a God happy enough not to blast you to pieces. Age of Mythology gives you a reason to please the Gods, and that's really what this game is about.

Age of Mythology is your standard RTS set in a fantasy universe, but with a twist of Age of Empires in it. You begin with your standard units - spearnen, archers, etc. - but as soon as you're pleasing your God(s), other units and powers come into play, such as cyclopses, wolfmen, even dragons and phoenixes, as well as four mighty powers that can dramatically change the course of battle. Meteors, underground passages, the ability to turn night into day, healing powers, and more are there for to use, if only once during a battle.

Your heroes are good fighters, and they also have special abilities that might heal other units in battle, or increase their attack power temporarilly. And if they die, they can be revived.

Three races to choose from, with their own set of Gods, makes for diverse gameplay. With three main Gods per race, and a number of Gods to choose during the four epochs, fighting an opponent - even if he chose the same starting God/race - will be unique, since chances are neither of you will have the same sets of units or spells.

You can build walls and buildings on any flat ground (or ground on a slight incline), rather than all other RTS games where you must place them on a tile. A small detail, buit it was neat to see.

The Bad

To be frank, the game is simply too small. With such a great base, it was diappointing to find that you were very limited in what you could do. First of all, the "large" map is the size of the "small" map on just about any other RTS game, so if you were hoping for a lengthy epic battle, you'll be disappointed, since the enemy is right around the corner. There is also no random map generator! What gives? That's almost the standard in RTS games now.

The opening cinematic shows a gigantic legion of fighters going after the enemy. What a load of crap. There is no possible way you can create an army that large. Why? Because of the way the population limit works. First of all, you can only build ten houses to increase your population limit. After that, the only way to increase your limit is by building town centers - but you can't build town centers anywhere, like most games. Instead, you have to find "abandoned settlements" and build them there, and most maps typically have four or so on the map. So, you'll be fighting for these most of the time, but let's say you find the four on the map and you manage to keep them. You're still not going to be able to build a legion of fighters. No, you're still stuck with a very small (at least small compared to the cinematic, or even an average army size in Age of Empires) army. Don't get me wrong, with strategy your small army can beat the enemy, but I wanted to see a large mythical battle, not just a tiny skirmish.

Another reason the town center thing sucks is - let's say you're playing a two-on-two game, and suddenly you're attacked by your two enemies. You fail to defend yourself and doom is imminent, so you do the only thing you can - retreat to your ally's base. But what can you do now? You can't just build a town center and try and rebuild, like so many classic battles in Starcraft and Age of Empires. You either have to find an abandoned settlement or...well, die. Your choices are so limited, it makes it pointless to try to retreat.

There also isn't that many different units. Each race gets their own set of units, but they're almost identical. Each race gets the standard fighter, standard ranged unit, a few units on horses, a few stronger fighters and a few siege weapons, with some boats. The only real difference between the races are the mythical units and - hold on here - there are two myth units per race. Two. Yeah. Two. Well, no, there are more myth units, but you can only HAVE two different types of myth units in a battle.

But, what does it matter, having such a limited amount of units when your armies are so small anyway?

The game has the base of a great RTS, but the sheer lack of size of the battlefield or range of units or potential population size makes this game disappointing and not fun.

The Bottom Line

It's a fantasy style RTS game where the Gods are of some use. Those that enjoy smaller battles will certainly love this game, but those, like me, who love battles that last hours at a time will absolutely loathe this game.