Space Empires IV Review

Space Empires IV is a classic interstellar empire building game - the type that seems to have been a part of computer gaming since its very beginnings and has always had a devoted following among strategy gamers. Space Empires IV carries on the legacy by providing ship design, technological advances, space exploration, alien races ... basically the whole space enchilada.

Those who've enjoyed empire building games in the past won't be disappointed by what Space Empires IV offers. You get it all - the sprawling galactic map waiting to be explored and conquered, planets to colonize and exploit, completely customizable ship designs, and alien races trying to expand their influence.

Play in Space Empires IV is turn-based - you give your ships movement and attack orders, select the direction of your research, construct ships and facilities, conduct diplomacy, and then pass control to the computer players. When it is your turn again, you will be presented with a log detailing any new research breakthroughs, diplomatic messages, newly built units, etc., that are now available to you this turn.

Should your ships meet an enemy fleet during your or another player's turn, combat will ensue. You have the option of controlling your individual ships in turn-based tactical combat or letting the computer resolve the battle automatically. Either way, after the battle you will receive intelligence information on the enemy's ships which proves to be quite useful when you are designing your own ships. Space Empire IV's ship designer allows you to run combat simulations with your prototypes and the alien ships, helping you to refine your designs to meet the alien threat. You'll have plenty of flexibility in those designs too, because Space Empires IV has an extensive tech tree with a wide-array of weapon options available.

This level of detail extends to many of the game's facets - those who love controlling and customizing many aspects of their empire will be very pleased with Space Empires IV. For the truly hardcore, Space Empires IV's documentation even explains how to edit game settings and graphics in various text and image files.

Play proceeds with players taking their turns in sequence until the player is eliminated or wins the game. The game allows victory through conquest or diplomacy, but whichever route you take it will take you a while to get there - games of Space Empires IV are not short.