Caesar III is like SimCity 2000, but with shiny, new clothes. You have to build a city from scratch, zoning housing, supplying essential services such as water, health, policing and defence, all in a bid to get people to stop roamin’ and start Roman. Later, you’ll have to manage taxes, tweak trade goods, establish markets and temples, hold Ben Hur-style chariot races, and even send your troops into battle. But, unlike SimCity, you can opt not only to just build a great city, but you can accept missions to build a certain city size, or repel barbarian invaders, for example. Graphically, Caesar III is no Brutus. Traders and farmers scurry across plazas, delivery boys call at evolving flats, laughter rises from perfectly formed baths, and fountains bubble in the streets. Your whole city evolves, with crops that mature and are harvested, while buildings either transform into palaces or collapse into rubble following an out-of-control fire. You get a lot for your money. A grab-bag of missions, the ability to roll your own map through the landscape editor, and an open-ended city-building mode that keeps going as long as you do. However, it does lose marks for lack of a multiplayer option, and sometimes the game can seem a little hard and unforgiving.
The sheer attention to detail in Caesar III easily puts this near the top of the sim-game genre. Atmospheric audio, smart graphics, massive missions and maps, and some of the best-quality movies I’ve seen on a video game, really make this one game that you’ll play come rain or hail (Caesar).