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Game Review of:
Civilization III

 

From the January, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

I have enjoyed Sid Meyer’s Civilization since the first edition came out and have played Civilization, Civilization II and CivNet. I was not disappointed with their newest version Civilization III that was released last October. It has been enhanced for even more enjoyable game play. Civilization III is a strategy game with the objective of building a civilization from a single settler to world dominance. World dominance can be determined by a number of different options. Of course, conquering all of the other countries or civilizations count as well. However, you can win by being the first to build a spaceship and launching it with settlers to Alpha Centauri, winning the position as head of the United Nations, or a Social Victory.

With Civilization III, you begin the game by picking the number of opponents, the styles of terrain, size of the map, and what country you will be or let the computer pick most of it randomly. Once you have selected that information, you begin play with one group of settlers in 4000B.C. on a map that is blacked out except for a small area around the settlers. You can move your settlers around the map until you find a good place to build a city. Typically this will be near some areas that are growing plants, has water nearby such as stream on an ocean and not too far from some hills or mountains. Once you tell your settlers to build the city, they disband to become residents of the city.

With your first city you get to control what the city will produce and what technologies that you want to research. Normally, I will begin with building a warrior to be able to protect my city from bands of marauders and other countries that may try to destroy my city or at least raid it. From there I will begin building up city improvements such as a granary and walls. Of course, the city improvements I have available depend on the technologies that I have discovered. Around each city, the citizens will use the land to grow food, build production and commerce. As they grow excess food, your city’s population will grow and you can develop more settlers and workers. With the new settlers, you can strike out to build additional cities. Managing your cities is done through the city screen.

As your civilization grows, you can provide more resources to science to research more new technologies. As you become successful, your citizens will grant you improvements to make on your palace that starts out looking like a rock cave. Piece by piece you can add to your palace making it larger and more decorative. By trading and negotiating with other civilizations you can obtain luxuries, resources and other information from them to help keep your citizens happy and productive. Building various Wonders such as the Great Pyramid or the Hanging Gardens will grant your civilization special compensation or enhancements.

As you explore and build cities you will control more land, develop roads, farming, mining and other resources to help your communities, culture and influence grow.

My biggest complaint about the game is the weighting factors in scoring the game. As I mentioned there are number different ways to win such as military and social expansion to control 2/3 of the landmass, building the first spaceship to reach Alpha Centauri, as well as four other methods of winning. The scoring seems to be more heavily weighted to world dominance and less to the culture and science advancements. I have led the other civilizations by large margin on culture, was one of the most advanced scientifically, and about average to just above average in size and had, from what I could tell all of the palace enhancements, and a number of other features but did not ever seem to win most of them since I did not tend to go out conquering the world. I think they need to re-evaluate their scoring system. I was playing on the easiest setting as well. The system does include an editor to build your own maps and will even let you modify some of the rules but does not seem to have a way of controlling the scoring that I have seen.

This is a very good game that requires you to balance science, economic, social and military growth to reach one of the possible goals to win the game. Overall, I would recommend this game, which is available at CompUSA, Best Buy and other stores for about $50.


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