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Retro Reviews: Age of Empires

by: Gustavo Lequerica-Calvo ; edited by: M.S. Smith ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

One interesting game, with a touch of historical realism and a magic that charmed a generation that wanted to play the conquest and strategies of the first civilizations. Age of Empires is truly one jewel of the video game history and a fun game that caused an impact on modern market.

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    Age of Empires is one of those computer videogames that revolutionized the concept of strategy games, such as Sim City; the game was originally launched on the year 1997, but with the success several spin offs and sequels had been launched over the years, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide, earning several awards worldwide, due the great quality and popularity over the years, some people attribute the game success to the historical themes that are shown in the game but not the historical accuracies since the game incorporate some magical elements to the plot, such as the miraculous healing of the priests.

    The game originally was compared to a Warcraft clone, because people saw the similarity in concept, even to the game civilization because the expansionism of the tribes that the player controls, as the player commanding an ancient tribe trough the ages of humanity, to obtain success and to advance in the game levels, i.e. starting in the Stone Age as primitive hunters to an advance society of the Iron Age.

    There are two game modes, the first one is Campaign Mode and the second one been “Random Mode" where a variety of maps can be played as variations of the campaigns, such as playing a death match in the “Random Mode", there is a third option that came with the game that was to play online again with 8 players, but due the technological advances of the period, many players experimented difficulties such often disconnections from the server, giving a sense of frustration to many of the players because many matches couldn’t be ended due the technical difficulties.

    One of the best features of the game was the “sandbox mode", was one of the few of his time to incorporate it, it let the player to create scenarios and customize his own campaigns beside the ones in the “Campaign Mode". The player controls almost anyone in his power, such as civilians, priests, infantry and the navy force of his civilization, each of the video game characters had their own unique functions like building, cropping, battling and many other depending of the selection of the characters, one of the weakest characters in strength but in terms of magical power was the strongest, also each civilization had their own unique features and traits that made them unique during the “Campaign Mode".

    As the variety of game characters there was a variety with the buildings and other manmade structures, such as walls, buildings, temple, etc… according to the time period the player will see a develop in his civilization, and when the civilization is rising or achieve a big goal it will earn a Wonder as the Pagoda, The Ziggurat, the Pyramid and the Colossus.

    We can think about how Microsoft created one of the best games ever, with a interesting legacy that shows that a game don’t need to be 3D to be successful, and the best the game is in amazon.com, if you click here you can buy the game, although the original is hard to find Microsoft released a compilation Age of Empire: The Rise of Rome, which the link that is given.

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