developer: Ensemble Studios
publisher: Xbox Game Studios / Microsoft Studios
Game mode: single / multiplayer
Multiplayer mode: local network / Internet, players: 1 - 8
game language: English
game release date for PC:
Age of Empires was a debut of Ensemble Studios. Its founders – Bruce Shelley, Brian Sullivan, and brothers Rick and Tony Goodman have decided to create a strategy game that does something new rather than reiterate known solutions. The project caught the eye of Microsoft, which quickly recognized its potential. Age of Empires was a beginning of a series widely recognized as a part of canon of real time strategy games.
The action of the game takes place in Antiquity, over the span of 10 thousand years. The players can choose from 12 ancient civilizations (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Babilonian, Hetic, Persian, Asirian, Egypt, Sumerian, Greek, Minoan, Phoenician), divided into four architectural styles: Asian, Middle Eastern, Egyptian, or Greek. Our job is to lead the chosen civilization throughout four eras – Stone Age, Neolythic Age (Tool Age), Bronze Age, and Iron Age.
Each game sees us acquiring resources, exploring the area, and recruiting an army. We can construct new buildings by spending certain amounts of wood, food, stone, and gold, research technologies, and build units. The key is to find a balance between economical expansion and military actions. Each nation has its strengths and weaknesses, which forces us to agree upon a strategy and keep up the pace.
The singleplayer mode offers four campaigns – Greek, Egyptian, Babilionian, and Japanese, a number of single scenarios, or a random map or a deathmatch versus AI-controlled enemies.
During its heyday, Age of Empires was known for its detailed graphics. Genie, the employed engine, generates 2D graphics with a characteristic, late 90s fixed isometric view, but handdrawn graphics and animations are appealing up to this day. However, the audio is mediocre, with certain sounds leaving much room for improvement.
Aside from singleplayer campaigns and scenarios, Age of Empires has a considerable multiplayer mode for up to 8 players. It requires a LAN or an Internet connection. Unfortunately, dedicated servers are not very efficient, with games often being haunted by stuttering animation and lags.
Game score 8.6 / 10 calculated out of 1028 players' votes.
age requirements: 12+
PC / Windows
Recommended: Pentium 166MHz, 32MB RAM