- Platform: Windows 95
- PEGI Rating: Ages 3 and Over
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
The point of the game is to shepherd your fledgling civilisation to world domination, using war, trade and exploration. You start with the bare minimum to get going, and you've got to balance your people's needs with your desire to be a little Napoleon. The Age of Kings gives you a ton of new units and technologies to enrich your strategic options. Each scenario is placed accurately within history, but you're also free to create your own.
The multiplayer format is robust, allowing up to nine players to share a world. When battles commence, you can take control of every aspect of your workers and soldiers, sending them running for shelter in the town centre, ordering them to defend a watchtower, or setting their combat stance to aggressive for free-for-all sword smashing fun. When you're not fighting, find your idle peasants with a mouse click and send them back to work chopping trees, rounding up sheep, fishing or mining gold and stone.
As you acquire more resources, you can improve your soldier's gear and skills, start to trade more efficiently, and make life better for everyone in your empire. You can choose from 13 groups to manage, from the Japanese to the Teutons and Franks. Each group has unique units and special characteristics, making this a game that changes every time you play it.
If all this sounds complicated, it is. New players may be intimidated by the range of choices, but the teaching scenarios are very helpful in conquering the controls. Age of Empires II is a sophisticated, gorgeous successor to the wildly popular original. It's a real feather in Microsoft's cap--a world-building game that will hold you captive. --Therese Littleton
Gamers can choose from one of several ways to win the game, including: world domination by conquering enemy civilizations, exploration of the known world and economic victory through the accumulation of wealth. Age of Empires was developed by Ensemble Studios and features the expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-designer of the hit strategy game Civilization.