Age of Empires

Genre: Strategy / Conquer / Real-time Strategy
Developer: Microsoft Game-Studios
Gamemode: Singleplayer / Multiplayer

This brilliant strategy game was released 1997 and for that point of time it was just amazing. You have a lot of campaigns and missions to conquer the world. Indeed it seems that you can refresh your history knowledge by playing this game because it is a collection of the most famous battles. A simple starter campaign works as a tutorial and helps the player to get used to the game play. Your people can develop from stone age to bronze age and iron age. In the beginning you'll have to give some nomadic people a home by building a village centre and houses. While you expand your village you'll build a fortress for protection and a smithy to explore new technologies. Later on you'll have an university and a castle too.

Step by step you'll conquer your surrounding and explore the world by a scout. Besides The Settlers this game was at its time the best strategy game on the market. There are 12 nations. Each will have a different part of the technologies. Except to the Turkish campaigns we enjoyed the speaker in the beginning of the missions, that gives a short introduction for the upcoming war. There is also the possibility to play a free game and choose its settings. You can win by building and protecting a wonder of the world, by collecting all artefacts or by destroying all other villages or towns.

In the multiplayer you can join or fight against some friends. The game was as I mentioned for that point of time a very good game. Nowadays it seems far more over-aged and the game mechanisms are quite outdated. You will have to take care of your horde all the time, which means to watch every single group of them, because they tempt to do what they want. Some will start a fight, others will lure some enemies by moving to close while they are collecting wood or food. It is quite impossible to watch everyone while you are in a fight or moving to any spot on the map. At home there could be meanwhile a disaster going on, because any of your people just does anything silly. This can drive you quite nuts in every kind of situation. Even if you send a group anywhere, they might split up and everyone might go his own way, which can result in unintended attacks.

Nowadays Microsoft releases the game as HD version to get more money out of it and I strongly recommend to dig out the old disc and try it out before you waste a lot of money. Keep in mind that Microsoft only changes the graphic a bit and the game itself won't really change. By this it is rather a rip-off. I grew some white hair while I was constantly upset about the stupid behaviour of my people.

The graphic is still nice, the sound is ok but not really beautiful. I would classify it as average. The building system reminds a bit of The Settlers, but there are no economy cycles. Resources can be easily collected as soon as you find them. As a strategy game it can still be fun, although the game mechanics aren't really up-to-date any more and can be a pain. Microsoft released some final patch ages ago and then abandoned the game. The fans took care of the problems the game still had by creating their own patch later on.

We recommend: If you like war strategy games we would only recommend to buy it, if you didn't play it earlier!