Civilization III Review
Civilization III inherits the same engrossing gameplay of its predecessors. You'll often find yourself staying up far too late at night as you continually tell yourself that you'll go to bed after just one more turn or after you've reached just one more technological advance. Civilization III has also finely honed the game's interface, making it intuitive and easy to use. Many features can be accessed multiple ways and right-click shortcut menus abound. The in-game 'Civlopedia' help file is extensively hyperlinked within both the game and itself, providing the player with a wealth of information at his/her fingertips.
Unfortunately, in spite of all of its strengths, Civilization III does have its share of problems. The first of these is the game's AI. The differences between the civilizations virtually disappear when under computer control - each plays as essentially the same opponent. Also, while the game is very hard to beat at the higher levels, it is due more to bonuses provided to the computer opponents than to strategically superior opponents. Even at the the higher difficulty levels, the computer inexplicitly shuffles units back and forth without any apparent strategic reason for doing so.
Civilization III's modeling of corruption also negatively impacts the game's enjoyment. Cities far from the capital lose part of the production, food, and gold they generate to corruption. These losses can be amazingly high and can completely cripple your outlying cities. While there are some city improvements that can be built to reduce this corruption, they only have a very minor impact on the problem.
It is also difficult to sustain a war in the game. Even if your civilization has been blatantly attacked, it is very hard to gain any support for a war from your populace. In one game, a mere three unit force accompanied by a two ship naval support force responding to an attack caused over 50% of my cities to fall into civil disorder. It took many turns to bring things back under control and required the disbanding of most of my military. Granted, some forms of government in the game make it easier to conduct war, but the penalties for war are far too high - especially when it does not appear that the computer controlled players suffer to the same degree.
Finally, Civilization III suffers from the same problem that plagued the first two games. As you approach the end game, turns can begin to grow long and tedious. The number of new improvements available diminishes as the game progresses, so you'll spend many turns doing little other than making sure your cities aren't slipping into disorder while waiting around for the next tech advance. This waiting is made harder to bear by the fact that the computer turns run increasingly longer and you are forced to watch your opponents shuffle units back and forth around your borders.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 88%. At its best, Civilization III is addicting and enjoyable. Unfortunately, it suffers from some play balancing , AI, and occasional stability issues which bar it from realizing its full potential.
System Requirements: 300 MHz Pentium II CPU; 32 MB RAM; 4 MB Video RAM; 4x CD-ROM; 500 MB Hard Drive Space; Mouse.