Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Strategy/2D Real-Time Strategy
TEEN, Blood, Violence
ALSO AVAILABLE ON
PlayStation 2, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/age-of-empires-ii--age-of-kings-ibm-pc-compatible, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/age-of-empires-ii--the-age-of-kings-ibm-pc-compatible, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/age-of-empires-ii--the-age-of-kings-playstation-2, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/age-of-empires-ii--the-age-of-kings-playstation-2-1
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As in the original Age of Empires, released in 1997, the ultimate goal in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is to develop a civilization from its humble beginnings to the glory years of a vast, world dominating empire. This goal can be achieved by various means including domination by military might, economic superiority, technological advances through four distinct eras, or diplomacy and trade.
You begin your empire-building task in this real-time strategy game as a small tribe on an unexplored map. By discovering resources and putting your clan to work harvesting them, your empire steadily develops. As time passes and your civilization grows, you'll expand your realm through population increases, exploitation of more resources (food, wood, stone, and gold) and specific work assignments to your villagers such as hunting, fishing, foraging, farming, lumberjacking, and mining.
As your resources, land acquisition, and knowledge grow, you'll inevitably meet other tribes or civilizations. Some will be reasonable and willing to exchange ideas and resources, while others will be determined to subjugate your realm through force. To meet these latter contingencies, you'll need to develop a military and equip it with the latest weapons technology can forge. If you seek a peaceful solution to world domination, you'll need to concentrate on building and construction as a means to develop new technologies and advance commodity trading via trade routes and alliances.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings contains a vast number of enhancements and improvements over the original game. Just some of the new features include a choice of technology paths (over 100 nodes), building and defending Wonders of the World, and crafting military might through not only ground-based troops but naval and siege warfare as well. You can choose to play against human- or computer-controlled opponents, the latter being especially formidable due to aggressive AI programming.
The heart of the game revolves around a random map generator for both single and multiplayer modes. With no two games ever being alike, this feature allows for unlimited replay. For those wishing to immerse themselves in historical campaigns, the designers have included four fully developed campaigns based on the struggles of Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Frederick Barbarossa and Saladin, each consisting of a series of linear scenarios.
There are 13 playable civilizations from which to choose: Britons, Byzantines, Celts, Chinese, Franks, Goths, Japanese, Mongols, Persians, Saracens, Teutons, Turks, and Vikings. All have characteristics and attributes based on their real world existence and philosophical outlooks, proprietary weaponry and armor indigenous to their historical eras, and special bonuses based on inherent strengths.
Other enhancements to the original game include eight new map types that can be manually selected or randomly chosen by the computer, many new units ranging from demolition ships to heroes, new buildings and technologies, military formations and stances, and gathering points for newly created units. Additionally, the act of garrisoning specific buildings or locations is now available, as are new in-game accesses to an encyclopedia containing historical notes on the various civilizations and the expanded technology tree.
Nearly every setup in the game is customizable for both single and multiplayer games. Winning the game hinges on achieving various victory conditions built into each scenario. The game includes not only an option to design your own scenarios and campaigns through use of both campaign and map editors, but offers a chance to develop player scripts as well.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings spans history from the days of the great Roman Empire to medieval times. From multiplayer game options such as Deathmatch and Regicide (players must protect their king or queen while attempting to assassinate the enemy leader) to single-player campaigns and scenarios, Age of Empires II offers the real-time strategy gamer a huge array of possibilities and deep gameplay. Multiplayer Internet action is offered free at the MSN Gaming Zone, over a LAN, or through a direct modem-to-modem connection. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide