Civilization III

Following-up one of the most well-loved turn-based strategy games in the history of computer entertainment is a daunting task – just ask the creators of the anæmic Civilization: Call to Power. But Firaxis Games teamed up with Sid Meier (the original creator of the Civilization series) to give it a try, and the results are superb. The new installment of the series is deeper than before, but easier to play. With Civ III, you’re once again thrust into the role of leader of a civilization, and must transform your tribe of Stone Age hunter-gatherers into a thriving, modern civilization. It’s easier said than done. Finding a place to establish your civilization is one problem. Finding the right balance of technological and social development, and correctly combining diplomacy and military power can be a greater challenge – and that’s where the real meat of this title is. As you start the game, you decide which tribe you’re going to try to raise-up into a world-building civilization. You have more than a dozen to choose from, including Rome, Greece, Germany, China, Japan, and India. The tribe you choose will determine what qualities your civilization has. The Romans are industrious and militaristic, for example, while the Babylonians favour religion and science. The Chinese emphasize industry and science, and they excel in areas such as bronze-working and masonry. Foreign relations
As the game continues, various aspects of your people’s culture and their technological understanding of the world develop. You must help them accumulate research to make their civilization grow, especially if you want to see it move into modern times. To that end, you guide your Science Advisor toward the areas of research deemed most important. Diplomacy and trade must also be maintained. Neighbouring civilizations, can help by providing technology or information that your own people would otherwise spend inordinate amounts of time trying to discover themselves. It can certainly be a handy way of advancing, but it’s also potentially dangerous – a particularly covetous civilization next door could wage war, or sabotage, or steal. Civ III differs from Civ II in a few key areas. Most notably, there’s no multiplayer mode. I don’t think the game is diminished without it, since I found multiplayer rounds of Civ II to be tiresome and slow, and not altogether in the spirit of the game. Regardless, many gamers may be disappointed that it’s gone. Civ III also features a more streamlined interface, and here’s where I think the game succeeds best. Civ II was difficult – even daunting – to learn how to play effectively, and Civ III’s designers have taken great pains to make this version easier to play.


Veterans should be able to hop in and get started right away, and a tutorial mode will help neophyte civilization builders. Also handy is the Civilopedia, a comprehensive in-game reference guide. Great stuff.

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