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on 12 November 2010
Civilisation III is the successor to the hit PC game by Sid Meier, Civilisation II, cited as the definitive form of civilisation building game. Like its predecessor, Civilisation III operates on the same basic principles. Lacking a storyline, it involves turn-based strategic civilisation building with a set of victory conditions, on a real world map or a randomly generated map. You have a choice of 16 civilisations to play from, less than in Civilisation II, but they now come with added features. This adds new dimensions and sophistication to the civilisations you can play.

You need to build new cities to expand your empire, and improve and secure your existing ones to bring wealth, scientific advance, and development to your empire. However there are one or two new features in the city-building options. Firstly, you cannot simply come to dominate by building cities over every available space and gain a stranglehold over the map to the detriment of all the other civilisations. Cities now produce corruption or waste depending on how far away they are from your civilisation's capital, so after a point they simply will not function, making the possibility of victory by seeding cities all over the map now an unfeasible one. Secondly, squares with special resources in them now have a much greater role to play. Certain resources allow the player to build military units which they couldn't otherwise build without the resource, and both resources and luxuries may be traded with other civilisations for benefits. Thirdly, there is a new feature called Culture. Each city has a culture rating, the higher this is, the bigger the hinterland a city can command, and the more your civilisation's borders expand.

There is also a technology tree as previously, but this is divided now into different ages, ranging from the Ancient Age to the Modern Age. The diplomacy screen is greatly expanded as well, with the capability to make a range of different deals and exchanges, with handy tips from your foreign advisor if the deal you're thinking of proposing is likely to be accepted or not. Like its previous incarnation, Civilisation III's battle feature is not very sophisticated, with units allocated hit points and levels such as veteran, elite etc., but ultimately the outcome is decided by a randomiser so you can end up with mad results like an Ancient period Hoplite defeating a tank from the Modern Age.

The graphics are several generations more advanced than in Civilisation II, lovely mapping over the main map, the buildings, units, etc, have all been redesigned and reworked, greater detailing, new colouring, and more. The animated heralds are gone but in their place are animated leaders in the diplomacy screen, wonderful detailing on these characters. Civ III also has a pleasing new musical score, with music really adding to the ambience of the game without being overwhelming or detracting.

Replayability is extensive - the game engine can create endless random maps to play on, you can play different civilisations, different opponents, a number of different difficulty settings and victory conditions, different map settings (such as age, climate etc.). Although there is always the feeling after having played it several times, no matter what the random map possibilities, that you've explored all there is to explore.
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on 15 November 2014
I used to love this game, but it feels dated now.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 March 2015
EDIT: Although this game still worked with my vista I'd now recommend the deluxe version I bought which comes with Civ 4 and Colonization too. It's got this entire game, doesn't require a disc to be loaded anymore and works on newer machines (though I can't guarantee which windows) I've written a review for it too, please click here to see the item Civilization 3 & 4 Complete Edition Game PC

If you've never played civilization before I must warn you that this game does take a bit of time to learn and I ask you to persevere with it as you'll be glad you did when you finally get the game play. I'll cover the installation, gameplay and also a few problems that I've had with the game, which would help new players to know.

Installation was not a big problem, the game came comes on 3 CDRoms so be prepared for a bit of a long install, but once you're done you'll get a desktop icon for the game. You can play civ 3 complete which is the game with all its expansions or if you search though the programs files you can find shortcuts to the original civ and with one expansion. But the expansions don't make the game too complicated (unlike civilization 4) and I started playing the complete game as it's presented.

Civilization 3 complete:
You begin the game by selecting a nation and building an empire. It's basically a turn based game (like a board game) where you make your moves and then all the other players, human or computer, take their turns. You move military units around a black space at first to discover the world. You then build your first city (your capital city) and workers begin adapting the land to make it more productive to your empire such as increasing food production which makes your population grow faster.
You then build up your civilization by adding more cities, fortifying them with military units while exploring the undiscovered world. The whole world starts off as a black space and as you discover it, you are able to see land, rivers, sea and other civilizations. You can trade or invade other civilizations as you meet them. The goal is to take your civilization from the dawn of time through to the modern world and win by becoming the greatest military power, the biggest nation, the most cultural nation, be the first to build a space ship to fly to alpha centauri; there are many ways to win. This game will actually take you many days to play so if you like something you can finish in a couple of hours I would not get this game.

There is the option to create a new random game or follow a scenario game. There are scenarios created by the original game makers and other scenarios that were clearly created by people but a selection have been included with this game. There is also chance to create your own maps for use in the game although I have yet to explore this feature.
This game is actually so detailed that it really would be impossible for me to explain everything in this review. But I will say that if you like strategy games or city building games then I'm sure you'll enjoy this.

1) Keep the on disc manual handy as this game does NOT have a decent tutorial mode. It does have the option in the options screen (called preferences) of selecting tutorial mode but this never works with a new game and you have to start a game, and then find the preferences screen (top left in a drop down menu) and then select tutorial mode. But if you've never played it can be very confusing.
2)When you've played this game for a long time and the whole map is revealed it really does slow down while the other CPU players are having their turns. So much so that I have to go into options and turn off my automatic moves and friendly moves of other players (basically turn off as many animated moves as possible). Not doing this will cause you to watch for 2-3 minutes while all your workers walk around the map. And if any war is happening in the game you are forced to watch every single move of every unit which can lead to you sitting, getting bored. Unfortunately even turning off the visual fight doesn't stop the lag of waiting for other CPU players to decide their moves.

I would say that when I first installed this I really didn't know what I was doing and I nearly gave up on the game, but please persevere especially if you are new as this game really does become so fun you will find yourself losing hours to it...It just has that snag of having to learn how it works. But once you do you really will not regret buying it.

I'd also like to addd that for a simpler game civilization 3 is better than 4. The gameplay is always from the same point of view and although the game lags far more than civ 4 (especially in the later years) it still for me is a more fun experience than civ 4 due to the simpler gameplay, there's not so much to manage making it easier to deal with.

I'd recommend it to anyone of any age and it works on windows vista too.
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on 9 January 2010
It's good. Still better than IV in some ways, mainly in being slightly simpler and therefore easier to play depending on what you want. I play both. Not really played the expansions that come with it except by default where they alter the basic Civ III. And for the price fantastic. I play mainly because I like the repetitive element whilst playing a competitive game, I find it restful.

Four for me beats it solidly in terms of graphics, speed and elements of the interface though. The speeds not really an issue now on most machines I'd expect though.
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on 5 September 2016
best fiver I ever spent bought it first in 2007 and had hundreds of hours of relaxation my favourit is the Japanese Daimos 15 century something for everyone
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on 24 September 2011
Civ3 complete is the best game for any medium powered notebook. Not high level specs required. Endless hours of gameplay. Superb AI in hard levels.
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on 25 November 2012
Civ III is a much easier game then the versions before and after it(in style, structure and gameplay), in terms of network or email play. Civ IV is good, but it lacks many of the extra features of the Civ III Conquests expansion. If you want to play with friends, either turn based or other network play, then the Civ III plus Conquests cannot be surpassed. I only wish that this was around when I was a kid (I'm 54 and playing with my son and son-in-law over internet) because this would have been totally awesome back then! AND, the different cultures and backgrounds detailed in Civilopedia make History a fascinating subject to learn. I know more about history and cultures now than I ever learned in history class at school. The Civilopedia should be part of the UK national curriculum !!
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on 17 May 2013
A timeless masterpiece, simple yet sustaining with toy soldier graphics which satisfy the inner child and game play that offers the thinking player some tricky ethical choices.
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on 31 May 2012
I am pleasently pleased to say this is an overall good game, I played this when the first of these games came out over 15yrs ago and I can say it is so much better than then. It is much quicker and easier to use!! can still be a little long winded but I suppose that is part of the game!!
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on 18 May 2013
good game hours of fun for everyone,and some unique cut scenes and the AI is very well controlled would like to buy more modern version but my pc wouldn't take it anyway 10/10
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