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Thus was born "Civilization 2". Both the desire to provide players with a sequel as addictive as the original game and the will to design a title that would fit in the long time tradition of quality at MicroProse were the goals of the development team. But were all these efforts in vain or not?
The answer is of course, positive. "Civilization 2" is an excellent game that will satisfy any "civ player", and charm newcomers with its simple and easy to learn interface. A series of improvements were undertaken to re-look the entire game, so that it wouldn't suffer from comparisons with more recent titles. The 2D graphics were replaced with an 'a la mode' isometric view, the old sounds were removed for a soundtrack that now comes directly off the CD-ROM, and instead of using DOS, the game runs under Windows.
Despite the several changes that were brought over the original game, "Civilization 2" remains the same when it comes to game play and goals. Starting in 4,000 BC, you must conduct your civilization through six milleniums, and establish a colony outside Earth before the year 2020. To reach this level of technology, your civilization will have to evolve through scientific discoveries. The new technologies will serve to elaborate city improvements, implement better political regimes, enhance military units, improve agricultural techniques, etc.
Economy won't be at rest either. Conflicts will be inevitable between the different cultures, and only the civilization with a thriving economy able to support the war effort will succeed in continuing through the ages. Using the natural resources scattered throughout the world is a good way to help your civilization become prosperous. When you want to found a new city, make sure to choose a location nearby these special resources. This way you will be able to supply distant cities with goods by establishing trade routes which will provide you with a revenue.
Soon into the game, your troops will encounter new civilizations. It will be time to use your diplomatic skills, and start alliances to protect peace. In this matter, "Civilization 2" introduces three diplomatic states: cease of fire, neutrality, and alliance. By default, you will adopt neutrality until you meet representatives of another civilization. If you decline their offer for a permanent alliance, you will be considered as neutral. The alliance will allow you to move freely within your ally's territory and vice versa, and will help you during wars against other civilizations. Another element of the diplomacy new to the sequel, is the reputation. Depending on how often you break the treaties you signed, your reputation will follow you, and will greatly influence your future relations with undiscovered nations.
Peace is of course what every civilization aspire to, but it is not always compatible with territorial expansion. As your empire will be unavoidably confronted with space limitations, war seems to be the only way to fulfill your expansionist politic. You dispose of a large choice of military units ranging from basic warriors and legions for the early times to the wide array of the modern warfare including nuclear weapons and stealth fighters. Many new units were added in "Civilization 2" along with new technologies for your scientists to discover, which will avoid a certain monotony for civ fans.
In "Civilization", the wonders of the world are special achievements that provide the nation that completed the project with a bonus. The bonuses can influence many things in the game such as productivity, science, diplomacy, citizen happiness, etc. "Civilization 2" features 28 different wonders divided in four epochs: the Ancient World, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution and the Modern World. For example, you will find The Colossus, The Lighthouse and The Pyramids, some of the authentic ancient Wonders of the World, but there will also be wonders that have nothing in common with them, such as the Magellan's Expeditions, Isaac Newton's College and Darwin's Voyage. Contrary to city improvements that can be built anywhere, wonders are unique. If the city where the wonder was built is invaded by another country, the bonuses will no longer apply to the civilization that built the wonder, but will instead profit the invaders. Each wonder is accompanied by a video animation of about 35 seconds in length that appears upon its completion.
This new feature of "Civilization 2", although not essential for the game, is another bonus made possible by the CD-ROM media, nearly nonexistent at the time of the original game. In the same way, the counselors won't be represented by a simple picture anymore, but with live video featuring five characters dressed accordingly for each epoch. The only reproach I could formulate is the use of 256 colors for the videos, which is slowly becoming obsolete with the new video cards capable of displaying thousands, even millions of colors simultaneously.
To extend the possibilities of gaming, MicroProse included a cheat mode and scenarios. Whenever you feel your worse adversary is going to take over, just activate the cheat mode and eliminate his civilization with a simple click. It sure spoils the game play, but it is so easy. Of course, there are other tricks less expeditious then wiping out an entire nation. If your technology isn't developed enough, or if you want to surpass your adversaries, you can bypass the long process of discoveries and get the new inventions instantly. In the same way, you can produce units and city improvements instantly, so that you can use them without waiting several turns for their completion. The two scenarios included in "Civilization 2" are based on the expansion of the Roman Empire and the Word War II, but if you want to create a scenario, the cheat menu will let you save the current game situation as a scenario.
Still, the game is very addictive, and for anyone who loves strategy, exploration, and micro-management, "Civilization 2" is certainly an excellent choice for the moment.
Written by Frederick Claude
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486 DX-33 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Windows 3.1 or higher,
Hard drive required,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
SVGA video graphic card,
Microsoft mouse and 100% compatibles.
Windows compatible sound cards.
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