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Gary Conroy – AgeBeta209

I once heard Age of Empires described as Civ2 meets Warcraft. This was before I played the Beta. It struck me as more of a real time version of Civilization, which ends with the iron age. Yes it can be a huge multi-player slugfest, but there are other ways to win than simply taking over the world. You can capture all artifacts and hold them for something like 2000 years. You can try to grab and hold all ruins for 2000 years. Or you can build a wonder, which takes lots of villagers lots of time to build, and then try to defend it for 2000 years or so.

I got my Beta CD at about 12:00 noon on a Saturday. I was up till 4:00 a.m. This has got to be the most addictive game I have ever played. The animations of all game pieces are incredibly detailed, and the sound effects are very well suited to the pieces and their animated actions. I was in awe when I ordered 4 villagers to go hunt an elephant. I will try to do it justice with a brief synopsis.

I watched them walk over to what I thought was a poor defenseless animal, and pull out their spears. They all approached to spear chucking range and hurled their spears at the doomed creature. The Elephant sounded in Fury and charged the offending villagers. They all pulled out another spear (yes, unlimited ammo) and lofted another volley at it. They did bring it down, but not before it managed to gore one of my villagers. The 3 surviving villagers then pulled out their tools and proceeded to butcher the carcass on the spot, occasionally pausing to strut back to my town square carrying a huge slab of meat.

And then God said “Let their be multi-play”, and so their was and he saw that it was good. Lag is virtually a non-issue. It seems as though Ensembles relationship with Microsoft as a Publisher have placed the primary (possibly only) TCP/IP option as MS GameZone. I managed to play a couple of games on the zone during the beta, and I have to say that the research factor forces a lot more depth to your strategy. ….And I sure hope your good at scraping strategies and coming up with new ones on the fly, cause you’re going to need that skill ….a lot!

Gary Conroy

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