Civilization: Call to Power
CTP offers you a trireme-full of new nations to choose to hail from: aside from the usual Romans, Greeks, English, etc, you can now be Scottish, Jamaican or Australian. CTP is also full of new unit types – from Samurai to Storm Marine, there’s now 65 in total. And civilization Advances are, well, more advanced – from Alchemy to Nano Assembly, there are 90 to complete. There are also some new Wonders of the World for you to build: the Labyrinth, East India Company, and Dinosaur Park, to name a few. This is a great improvement on Civ II’s limited options – but the lack of Civ II’s Leonardo’s Workshop wonder makes unit-production a bind. In CTP, you can build underwater cities and orbiting space colonies. And, you can wage unconventional warfare, with economic attacks, propaganda, biological terrorism, and religious conversion. While adding realistic levels of complexity, I found these relentless non-combat attacks – the injunction-wielding Lawyer especially – detracted from the traditional blood-&-thunder fun of clashing armies. CTP lets you witness your units clash with your enemy’s, in a small animated combat sub-screen. Combat has been made more sophisticated by the pooling of units’ attack and defence ratings. Sounds super, but even small groups of primitive units can now wipe out a Stealth Bomber – which is just silly when it happens more than once. This is equivalent to Star Wars’ Ewoks winning time after time. Instead of colonizing Alpha Centauri as your ultimate goal, in CTP you must breed alien life forms – although you can still win by knocking off every other nation. CTP’s gameplay “improvements” aren’t always welcome. A line follows your cursor to show you the path your unit will take, but in practise, this just gets in the way – ruining your centred position on the map if you move your mouse. One slip of the mouse button, and the path can also issue false instructions to your unit – sending it marching off in totally the wrong direction.
While I haven’t spent anywhere near the game hours on CTP that I have over the years on Civ II, I’m still perturbed by many of CTP’s gameplay “improvements”. The lush graphics and wider range of units, advances and wonders are welcome, but some of the fun seems to have |been stripped out in favour of either sophistication – often too complex – or simplicity – often too automatic. Civ II addicts should try it out for size, but don’t delete the old classic. Newcomers should grab Civilization II while they can.