Civilization II (PC and Playstation)

6910_boxshot_Civilization 2

 

Introduction

In Civilization the player does not take the role of a gallant knight, a guy who’s girlfriend was kidnapped by thugs, or a hero. Civilization puts the role of the player into that of a leader, with no skills to fight enemies but a leader doesn’t need to fight, he’s got people for that. Choose your civilization, or make your own– although it’s purely aesthetic– and see how long you can go without inventing the wheel.

History

The irony is not lost on me that I can’t find information on this game’s development. Sorry ya’ll. I can say that it’s abandonware so it’s A-okay to download.

Civilization II was released on February 29th, 1996. It’s competition was Super Mario RPG (Super Nintendo), Duke Nukem 3D (PC), and Zork: Nemesis (PC).

Nostalgia

I know you whippersnappers out there are used to your Waifai and your internet multiplayer lobbies but if I wanted to play a multiplayer game then we had to play hot seat. A hot seat game is a game where each player plays on the same computer and has to switch seats on each other’s turns. So my cousin and I would declare each other as allies for life and take on the world and kick them in the teeth, not watching what each other was doing in the interim. But with this age of rapid internet access the hot seat has grown cold.

Gameplay

Civilization is a game about resource management and diplomacy. Cities produce buildings, units, and settlers and settlers build more cities– build more cities to get more settlers, to get more settlers to get more cities.

The three resources that fuel every city in this game are food, production, and trade. These resources are gained from the terrain around a city by citizens and a city gets more citizens by getting enough food. Settlers can also improve terrain around a city, like improving the production of a mountain by adding a mine or the food yield of some grasslands by irrigating it.. Production helps the city build buildings and units more quickly. Trade contributes to science, money, and luxuries. The effect that trade has on these things is altered by the type of government your civilization is in. Certain governments have additional effects like Fundamentalist Utopias have no unhappy citizens but gain technology half as quickly as others or how the UN or congress can prevent an action in a Democracy. If you want to change your government then you have to send your civilization into anarchy for awhile, nothing useful can be accomplished in anarchy.

civilization-ii-city

You can also view your city. It’s especially ridiculous when there are multiple wonders in one city. Do you remember the time when America built the Colossus, the Pyramids, and Big Ben?

Diplomacy is actually really simplistic. You can exchange technologies, declare war, arrange peace, make alliances, and that’s about it. You can also make these requests at the behest of other civilizations to try and gain their trust.

If the production of your city gets too high then it’ll start producing pollution. Pollution can be cleaned up by settlers or engineers but while its there the improvements of the tile are negated.

everwar610

And if there’s enough of it on the map it’ll trigger global warming which is bad… m’kay.

There is also a civilization that has no cities and no territory, they’re barbarians. Barbarians will show up randomly and attack your cities, if you can destroy their leader you’ll get a little bonus. Barbarians keep up with you in technology at all times and love to destroy the improvements you’ve made to your land. If barbarians aren’t your style then you can turn them off.

civilization2

Barbarians always take the color red and can pose a serious threat. And if they capture your cities then they can produce units for themselves!

You win the game after you’ve laid waste to every other civilization or built a spaceship capable of sending your civilization to Alpha Centauri. War has other advantages too, after you capture a city you can learn a technological advance that they’ve learned. Why bother learning anything if you can just clobber them for it?

The Gush

This game runs smooth on whatever computer I’ve played it on. It’s also available for download all over the web because it’s 18 years old. Free sounds like a good price to me.

The music is really good. There are over 20 tracks ranging from atmospheric tracks, to classical organ music.

You can have a throne room! You improve it one piece at a time and can keep improving the same piece have have a president’s desk in a dusty cave if you want.

Better_Room

Or be boring and keep things consistent.

This game has got a great map editor so you can have fun with your friends in all sorts of custom made maps.

The wonders in this game are large structures that present an advantage that lasts for most if not all of the game. But someone else can complete it before you and send all that production to waste. I think it’s a really interesting piece of risk vs. reward design.

The Test of Time expansion to this game makes significant improvements to the automated settler AI. Automated AI, because 20 settlers are just too many to manage manually.

Civ2TOT

Test of Time also brings improved graphics and interface.

The Kvetch

Games are made of choices and there’s no mechanical and nearly no aesthetic difference between each civilization. Whether it’s Zulus or Vikings, they start off and develop with the same odds as everyone else. Sometimes my civilization starts with additional technologies but it seems random.

There are some scenarios in the Test of Time expansion that seem bugged. I tried the future expansion but eventually I couldn’t develop more technology. I tried the magical world but I couldn’t transfer between worlds and couldn’t figure out how to win.

Wonders are great but if a civilization is close to getting one it warns the other players. These players can then use money to finish their wonder and then the game chooses randomly who constructs it. Even if that doesn’t work that player can shift that production to another wonder. I just wish there was a better system.

The Verdict.

This game is incredible and for the low cost of free I don’t see much reason not to give it a whirl. Whether you’re a fan of the series looking at the earlier versions or new to the genre entirely it’s super fun.

Next week: Gex: Enter the Gecko

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