Age of Empires II: Age of Kings
A Game Fit for a King
or an Emperor
or a Prime Minister
by Johnny Bray
If only movie sequels
could be as good as computer game sequels, then we'd really have something
Age of Empires II:
Age of Kings has everything the first game had (which is a lot!), and
a whole lot more. This real time strategy sequel has more levels, more
advances, more units, and even more civilizations.
You bet your sweet
booty, this is easily one of the best games ever made. Kudos to Ensemble
studios for this one.
Beginning in the Dark
Age and leading all the way up to the Imperial Age, your goal as King
is to conquer the world via economy, technology or, my personal favorite,
You can play as one
of 13 civilizations including Franks, Japanese, Vikings, Mongols and the
Britons. Each one of them has a unique unit that can add to your chances
of thwarting the others.
Another great feature
is the realistic campaigns. You can fight alongside Joan of Arc, Genghis
Khan, Saladin, or even William Wallace (better known as Braveheart).
The graphics in this
game are probably the best in any game of this type on the market (or
off the market for that matter). The detail is unbelievable, and they've
even got the human to building scale right.
Speaking of buildings,
two of the new structures in the game are the gate (which allows your
units to move in and out of the city while restricting the opponents),
and the castle. The castle is what allows you to build your race's unique
Another new feature
is the multiplayer version that lets you play against a friend or a complete
stranger over the MSN Gaming Zone, LAN or modem.
Even the computer
is a lot smarter in this Age of Empires, so you're in for a challenge
- unless you take the wuss's way out and use the cheat codes (like me).
But I don't recommend
that, because you get your fill of the game much faster.
As far as gameplay
is concerned, Age II can't be beaten. The maps are bigger than ever, you
have more units to command, and you can even put them in different formations.
They've added a few
new upgrades just to make things interesting, too. For example, your town
center now has a town bell, which you can ring to gather all your villagers
so they don't get killed by the opposing civilizations.
The nicest new feature
is that now, when you have a unit standing behind something, you can see
an outline of him (or her). This makes it much easier to find and click
on him to get him to do something else.
In Age of Empires,
if a unit was behind a building, that was pretty much it for him - he
was never to be seen again.
Age of Empires II:
Age of Kings is one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played. Not
too long ago I was getting sick of this type of "real time strategy game,"
but Age II revives my enjoyment, as well as raising the standards of this
PC game genre.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think