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Rise of Nations: Best Real-Time Strategy Game of the Decade
Rise of Nations, a real time strategy game, has immersive strategic decision-making features and, of course, a touch of history. Gamers well-versed with Civilization and Command and Conquer will find this game much more interesting. Upon review, I found that Rise of Nations borrows some concepts from Civilization, including attrition warfare, thanks to Brian Reynolds, the lead developer of this game. Whether it is city-building, trade, warfare or diplomacy, the game stands tall in all the aspects.
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The game focuses on the concept of capturing territories to win scenarios or levels. Rise of Nations is divided into two modes: single-player and campaign mode. The single player mode has lots of variations in gameplay. There are many scenarios to play as well as difficulty levels to choose from. You can select warfare tactics, age (Stone Age, medieval, modern technology, etc.), AI difficulty and other settings.
Rise of Nations allows you to choose your AI enemies ranging from the mysterious Aztecs to Japanese warriors. Once the game starts, you get transported in a random scenario with only an underdeveloped city and some citizens waiting for your orders. You have to construct additional buildings, barracks, artillery units and cities with six resources including timber, food, oil, metal, wealth and knowledge. As you progress to a different age, you use knowledge mainly for researching technologies and constructing missile bases. The other five resources are very important in the city building process. The more resources you have the better the chances of creating civilian buildings, buildings of economic importance, oil wells, artillery units, barracks, and unit types including light infantry, heavy infantry and ranged cavalry.
Single player game objectives are varied. Games range from capturing cities to creating wonders and defeating opponents. The most important aspect of Rise of Nations is developing a strong economy center and aggressive military base to defend the city and attack the opponent’s base. The game has more than 200 different types of military units. Structures like factory, dock, stable/auto plant can be upgraded, provided you have enough resources. You can upgrade military units and structure as you advance through the ages. Every nation has its own set of unique units. The British boast highlanders, Avro Lancaster Bombers, the Russians have the ability to create the T-80 tanks and Red Guard Infantry. Check out more hints, tips and cheats in this in-depth Rise of Nations cheats list.
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The campaign mode, Conquer the World, allows players to conquer nations by capturing their territories. Each scenario has a time limit. Some scenarios have a defend-and-win situation within a 12 minute time limit while others can last as long as 90 minutes with the objective of defending and capturing AI cities. The Rise of Nations campaign starts with the Stone Age and progresses slowly to the information age, as you battle for survival. The campaign map looks quite attractive. It shows the world globe with many civilizations, each with a different color. The objective of the Conquer the World mode is to defeat all nations and rule planet Earth.
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One of the most impressive features of Rise of Nations is the ability to zoom in. I enjoyed zooming in and watching my troops destroy the enemy AI. The military units are quite impressive, especially the soldiers and artillery units in the information age. The 3D models of airplanes, assault vehicles, tanks and military units look very realistic when zoomed in. The nuclear explosions leave some major craters on earth, which looks quite neat and well-animated. The units are rendered impressively; you can easily differentiate your units against enemy units and control them throughout the game very easily. Rise of nations uses a 3D engine to render terrain and units and uses a fusion of 2D and 3D engine to render buildings and structures. The smoke and explosions from destroyed tanks and other vehicles look excellent. The battles between air and ground units is certainly a treat to watch.
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While playing Rise of Nations, you will experience excellently placed 3D sounds. Explosion sounds, sounds of construction work, army units battling out in an intense war are too realistic. You will notice that the music changes with a particular situation. You will hear a soothing music when you’re building cities and expanding your economy, but it suddenly changes once you are attacked. When you emerge victorious, you hear a tune of victory.
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All in all, Rise of Nations is certainly a different kind of real time strategy game. It involves intense gameplay and immersive graphics and sound. A must for every strategy game lover, especially for those who love historic games.
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 98/XP/ME/2000
Processor: 500 MHz (Equivalent or higher)
Hard Drive Space: 800 MB
RAM: 128 MB RAM
Video Card: 16MB
Screenshots © Rise of Nations/Microsoft