Civilization III: Conquests Review
The Civilization series of games, including Civilization III, have been among the most popular strategy games of all time. In spite of their appeal and uncanny ability to turn “just one more turn” into an all-night play session however, the time investment required for each game has always been a turn off to many gamers. Civilization III stayed true to the series in this regard, making it a game for empire builders who enjoy slowly building large empires and fighting protracted wars of attrition. Conquests attempts to broaden Civilization III’s appeal beyond this strategy gaming niche by allowing the game to be played in shorter sessions and with concrete goals. The result is an even better Civilization III that can be enjoyed by even more strategy gamers and provide an exciting change of pace to those who’ve enjoyed the game all along.
Conquests accomplishes this by providing a set of nine historical scenarios with victory conditions designed to create conflict right from the get go. From Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire under siege to World War II, the scenarios provide you with established cities complete with cities, transportation networks, and developed economies eliminating the slow build-up of territory and infrastructure that can take hours in the regular game. From there you are given specific goals and victory conditions required to win the scenario. These can include conquering other cities, eliminating the other civilizations, or being voted the leader of all as in the feudal Japan scenario. Also, there are always multiple paths to victory so you always have several strategic options in your pursuit of victory. However, they are always goals of conquest or aggression that often must be accomplished within a set turn limit so sitting back and trying to build up your cities while ignoring the war is not an option.
Another interesting feature of the scenarios is that each one tweaks the rules of the game to fit the historical context and the civilizations involved. For example, the Mesoamerican scenario allows you to capture enemy units and then sacrifice them in one of your cities to boost your culture rating. In addition, you can build your cities on mountaintops and in jungles without a loss of productivity and efficiency. These rule tweaks are an excellent addition to the scenarios as they give each one a distinct feel and force you to adjust your tactics to fit the time and place of the scenario. The scenarios aren’t merely shortened versions of the regular game with set civilizations, each one is more of a full variant of the game and you’ll love the variety they add to your Civilization III gaming sessions.
The regular Civilization III has undergone some tweaks in Conquests. There are some new civilizations and wonders added that are drawn from the scenarios, and some others that seem new to the game overall. There are other more subtle changes such as tech tree tweaks that you’ll notice at first but will quickly get used to. For those looking for an even greater challenge, two new difficulty levels have been added as well.
Multiplayer gaming is a bit of a sore spot for Civilization III players. The Play the World expansion was plagued by bugs and lag, and just as bad it became obvious that the Civilization III game just was not suited for multiplayer over the Internet. The game is far too slow in developing and players had a tendency to drop out rather than sit out the long end game of a losing campaign. Conquests’ multiplayer feature is a far more stable offering than Play the World’s and the scenario-based play is a much better fit for multiplayer gaming. However, Conquests still plays slower than other online games, so it’s best to know the other people if you want to be certain that everyone will stick to the game until the end.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 90%. An excellent expansion that is sure to please Civilization III players.
System Requirements: Pentium II 400 MHz; 64 MB RAM; 32 MB Video RAM; 600 MB Hard disk space.