The Rise & Rule of Ancient Empires

9Rise and Rule of Ancient Empires, designed by Impressions Games, is a classic turn-based 4x strategy game based on cultures that existed from 5000BC to 500AD. You may play as ruler of the Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Celts, or Chinese, each having slight differences relating to gameplay. Play against up to three computer players await your challenge. You may explore on a pre-made world map or a random small, medium, or large map. Each civilization begins with a settler unit and knowledge of only the immediately surrounding area.

Cities are founded with a settler unit in mountain, desert, forest, plain, or rough terrain. Another terrain type, water, also exists but this is not a recommended spot to begin a city! Watch out, because when cities are automatically named, they sometimes duplicate already existing city names – I had three during one game before I caught the error, so you may want to just name your own. Buildings present at the onset of city creation are a city hall and an academy. Eventually a market, workshop, barracks, library, temple, blacksmith, city walls, and wonders will help make your cities powerful.

Three buildings – the academy, warehouse, and city hall – allow you to manage your city. Construction of the academy leads to the creation of philosophers. They provide the ability to build roads, cultivate land, and establish diplomatic relations. Philosophers add an extra layer of complexity – they spread knowledge between your own cities or may sway opponent cities to reveal their own precious knowledge. New cities are greatly aided by philosophers as the city’s knowledge levels can advance quickly.

The warehouse, quite obviously, will store food and resources, which can then be exported or used to support shot2 temporary shortages. Merchants can be instructed not to take exports or imports from cities. They will also increase the affinity or respect for the player trading with it.

7Buildings and research are required to acquire the ability to produce various troops. But it’s hard to determine what, if any, advantages, disadvantages, or special abilities various units have. There are no hard numbers on attack strength, defense strength, fortification effects, terrain effects, and how exactly health, morale, and unit quality affect the final battle results. You have to play the game numerous times before you get a picture of some sort of comparison chart. Because of this, it is difficult to figure out the best plan for your empire.

Gameplay can be slow as hell; you have to check cities continually to insure optimal allocation of resources, as do any human opponents you play against. Games can last many hours and probably will last more than a single day. Computer players take their turns quickly at the beginning, but take considerable time later in the game, when many units and cities populate the board. There’s no AI setting or auto-build option either, requiring a lot of micro-management in later stages. At the end of it all, what you have is a slightly less polished, and not as detailed, re-imagining of Civilization II.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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