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History in Review

Sid Meier's Civilization III

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Sid Meier's Civilization III, By Firaxis Games. (Infogrames Interactive, Inc. 2001).

Rewrite history with the greatest game of all time. Witness an epic adventure unfold before you as you wield the ultimate power and reinvent the history of Civilization.

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - May 14, 2002

Sid Meier's Civilization III game is not only complex and fun to play, it also helps to teach the fundamental principles about how civilizations develop, grow, and sometimes collapse. It is also a game that has an infinite variety of game play options that will enable you to play this game over and over again, each time trying out a new scenarios that will provide you with years of entertainment.

Civilization III is a strategy game in which you build an entire civilization from the ground up. And I mean from the ground up, you even get to select the size of your world and its climate. You also get to select the 'civilization' that you want to play with. Choices includes Rome, Greece, Germany, India, Aztecs, Iroquois, Babylon, Russian, and the Zulus to name a few. As you begin to play, you need to locate a suitable place to build your city, and decide some of its basic foundations such as will it be religious, what type of economy will it start out with, what kind of political structure will it have, and what kind of food will the people eat. From this basic outlines, you begin to build your city, and to attract followers to your cause. As your city grows, through time, it matures. Its technology increases, it military might grows, its economic influence proliferates, and you move from being a simple village to a world class civilization. And, to 'win' the game your civilization must grow to dominate the world. This can be done by winning the space race, conquering the world militarily, conquering the world through diplomacy, or developing a superior culture.

Sounds simply, doesn't it? As with real life, nothing ever goes smoothly. Your people can be attacked by barbarians, famine may set you back, or politically instability may see your government overthrown. Basically, if something can go wrong, it probably will at least once during the course of your civilization's development. The instability of the civilizations is one of the best parts of this game, it gives you a chance to see how the choices you, as the omnipotent leader of the civilization, make can effect the entire course of a civilizations development.

Is this a truly historical game? No, but it is, nonetheless educational. While your playing with basic historical facts, you have the ability to alter history as we know it. For instance, if you play your cards right, you can keep the Roman civilization from every falling. Where it is educational, is that this program allows you to get a fundamental grasp of the role played by economics, warfare, technology, etc. in the development of a civilization. It also illustrates the importance that location has on a groups development.

Installing the game is very simply, as there is a user friendly interface that quickly walks you through the installation process. To play the game all you have to do is insert the CD into your CD-ROM player and click on the Civilization III icon on your computer screen. This game does allow for a variety of skill levels and variation in play. Because it is a complex game it may take you awhile to get the hang of all the key-strokes and rules of play. Thankfully, this game comes with a comprehensive, 235 page instruction manual that clearly explains how to play the game and the varied options at your command.

If I were to grade this game, it would receive an A. The only reason that I don't give the game an A+ is that while the graphics are very good, the print used throughout the game, denoting points, how much food you have, population numbers and such are very small and I found them very hard to read. Even with this one negative, I have to say that Civilization III is the best strategy game that I've ever played.

System Requirements:

300 MHz Pentium II processor or better with at least 32 MB or RAM
Windows 95/98/Me/2000/ (There is also a MAC version of this game available.)
4X speed CD-ROM drive or faster
Video card and sound card compatible with Direct X 8.0a
Video card capable of at least 1024 x 768 resolution and 16-bit color
at least 500MB of free space on your hard drive
DirectX 8.0a ( If you don't already have this version of DirectX, don't worry. It is bundled on the CD with the game and during the installation process you are given the opportunity to install the program, if you wish.)

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