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Game Review of:
Age of Empires II
The Age of Kings


James is a Sophomore at Winston Churchill High School who is into computers and ROTC. He is also an aspiring reviewer of computer games. 

From the January, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Hello, I am James Hoke, and as I understand it, Alamo PC organization is looking for a younger demographic, so here I am. As you might guess, I am Tim Hoke’s number one son. I needed some extra credit in English, so my dad gave me this awesome game called “Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings” to review. I am seventeen years old and have three computers (133MHz, 233MHz and 600MHz), two of which were my dad’s that I bought with the money I earned mowing yards during the summer. One was given to me by a nice friend at church. 

When PC Gamer called this game, “one of the best real-time strategy games ever,” they weren’t kidding. IGNPC said, “Its historical feel, solid strategic play and excellent graphics are sure to please just about everybody.” It sure has pleased me and my friends a lot. U.S. News &World Report declared, “The Age of Kings is clearly an educational game.” My world history teacher agrees and claims she could use it in the classroom. “It is our pick for strategy Game of the Year,” says U.S.A. Today. I can see why they made a claim that large.

The system requirements are as follows: multimedia with Pentium 166 MHz or higher processor, Microsoft Windows 95 or 98 operating system, or Windows NT, 32 MB of RAM, 200 MB of hard disk space; additional 100 MB hard disk space for swap file, super VGA monitor supporting 800X600 resolution, local bus video card that supports 800X600, 256 color resolution and 2 MB of video memory, Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device, 28.8 Kbps(or higher recommended). For internet game play or to play on the MSN Gaming Zone, you need to have one of the following Web browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 or later software or Netscape Communicator 4.0 or later. I am running a 600 MHz AMD Duron processor with 768 MB of SDRam.

I’ll bet most of you are wondering if or when I will get to the good part of this review. I hope you like it, because it could be the first of many. If you enjoy my writing, be sure to tell my dad and my English teacher! Anyway, here goes: This game was awesome! The introduction was down right psychedelic!! In the beginning, the monitor shows two people playing chess and each player’s move has an actual set of warriors advancing towards each other, and at the end one person is still standing. If you want to see who wins, you’ll have to buy the game. Another nice thing is that you can choose between thirteen different powerful civilizations from the Franks, Japanese, Vikings, Byzantines, Mongols, and Celts. Better yet, no two civilizations are alike. You can choose your own strategy to conquer the other civilization, whether economic, military, or diplomatic.

Another detail that I liked was that it was so easy to install. All I had to do was stick the CD into the CD-Rom drive and go to run and click AOE2Setup, then click install, follow the instructions and play the game. The game is challenging, yet not too hard to play. It makes you think ahead at least two or three moves. You also need to have a back-up strategy in case someone assaults your empire while you are out attacking him. Kinda prepares you for real life. It’s also easy to save your game by simply going to the menu. And the graphics are much better than a Sony Play Station 2. They’re clearer, more colorful, and the people look more realistic. 

There are many reasons I would recommend this game are:

  1. Its directions are easy to read, follow, and understand. 
  2. It’s fun to learn about people like Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, or Frederick Barbarossa, to campaign and conquer with them.
  3. You can set up your own campaign or scenarios.
  4. There is always something happening on or near the battlefield. 
  5. You can learn many beneficial things like planning ahead, working with others, and good money management ( I threw that in so my dad will let me play this game a lot!) It’ll also train you to trade with your allies.
  6. It’s affordable. You can get “Age of Empires II: Age of Kings” for about $40 locally.

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