Age of Empires (1997)

Video Game  -  Action | Adventure | History  -  15 October 1997 (USA)
8.2
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Title: Age of Empires (Video Game 1997)

Age of Empires (Video Game 1997) on IMDb 8.2/10

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fictional war | See All (1) »


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15 October 1997 (USA)  »

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Followed by Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999) See more »

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Who says history has to be boring?
16 November 2008 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

The following is a review of the Gold Edition, for the PC. If anything I write didn't fit your version, please keep the aforementioned in mind. This is one of the classic releases, and it just so happens to have quite a bit of stuff for being so early. It takes you through the following different powers from the old ages: Egypt, Greece, Babylon and Yamato. Each with actual occurrences to experience. This, in general, takes a far more realistic and naturalistic approach than other big, known ones, then and now. There are of course liberties taken... somewhere before the ship that fires what may be spears lit on fire, and, well, even though we don't know everything about the past, especially that far back, I doubt that maritime vessels back then could be fitted with catapults. And if you think that credibility is a quality of dubious value for something that is in company with alternate realities and future scenarios, I challenge you to look at the sight of a hailstorm of flaming arrows, perhaps accompanied by large, thrown stones that are glowing red with heat, descend upon a building, and tell me honestly that it doesn't look cool. Granted, the graphics are now dated. Also, they do still do the job just fine, and there is an admirable range of movement, that I'm not sure was seen elsewhere at the time. There are nine fully animated and well-done cut-scenes, and they went for epic scale in them over what they could render best, as opposed to Command & Conquer. They have impressive detail, and that fog is well-rendered. One is shown right before you reach the main menu when you start the title, the remaining are placed right at the beginning and the end of each of the 4 campaigns. Every mission, the amount of which coming to about three dozen(!), in them is based on real-life events, with background and outcome staying fairly true to what is considered known, as far as I could tell. For example, you participate in the Battle of Troy, and, since the famous wooden horse may have been invented by Homer, it does not appear here. Outside of that, there are also plenty of options for playing this, and for spending literally countless hours, because simply put, this can be fun for an enormous amount of time, surpassing that of other in the same genre. You can try a Death Match, self-explanatory for those who know this type of VG. Random Map allows you to, through choosing the frequency of various things found herein, immediately generate levels. If you want further freedom, why not try the Scenario Builder? The already created efforts in Scenarios contain maybe ten kinds of objective-driven ones. In this, you can already heal, steal enemy structures or units, seafare, and last but not least, upgrade. In fact, that one's an important part. Deciding what to get and when, as all affect your abilities in a positive way, but at a price. That brings me to the resources. There are four to gather, those being wood, food, gold and stone. There is a direct way to get each, and the second and third have at least one additional one. They're all vital for purposes, such as researching and training. One can wonder if the Temple has something of a jab at the Catholic church, in particular before the Reformation. The many vehicles(as long as that it takes as a relative term... they usually have to do with horses, or less commonly, elephants) and men(armed with everything from bones through axes and swords to composite bows) allow for creative setups and tactics, depending on speed, range, their effective uses and how they can support one another. A couple of them are unique and only available to certain countries in this. This is not focused as strongly on fighting as others. That doesn't mean it isn't necessary or encouraged... they don't try to claim that there hasn't been innumerable wars throughout mankind's time. Quite the opposite. There are fair features, and surely about what you would find in others from the mid-nineties, but you don't have to think for long to come up with what would be good to add. A button to immediately take you to the area you've just been alerted to, as for example StarCraft has, is near the top of the list. Less need of hand-holding is, as well. Too often, your military or your workers, frankly, get stuck, trying to take the direct route to somewhere where it can't happen(did people not realize, in ancient times, that you can't walk across water that isn't shallow, and that you can't walk straight through mountains and trees?), and/or not moving out of the way when their colleagues need to pass. Beyond that, the AI tends to be great. The five difficulty settings help ensure that newcomers and veterans alike should be both comfortable and challenged. For any history buffs, this has a massive amount of design and culture, all throughout it. Right down to the color scheme, it's customized with specific and well-drawn art that fits with the era and region. Obviously, the Greek is toned down. Control and overview are mostly smooth and well-done. The music is easy to listen to, and fits the tone of neutral, non-threatening and 'real', so to speak. The audio in general is a positive, if it could have more variety. The sounds all come off right, the clash of metal weapons, the animals and the ambient material. On a final note, this actually has the responses from those you order around in an incomprehensible "language", rather than recognizable English, because let's face it, that would make little sense. I recommend this to any fan of RTS, or Real Time Strategy, games, and/or anyone who cares to learn or freshen up their knowledge of the old time periods presented here and their people in a way that doesn't involve opening a book. 8/10


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