Title Civilization (Third Review) (CD version) Publisher Microprose (1991) Game Type Management Sim Players 1 HD Installable Not Required (CD version) Compatibility AGA and ECS versions included Game data/utils numerous speedup and save-game editors - search aminet for 'civ' Submission Jason Compton This Amiga Report review appears here by courtesy of Jason Compton Review Civilization was one of the first major computer gaming hits of the 90s. Like many of Microprose's games, it's a rather broad undertaking. Microprose has attempted to make a number of "true to life" simulations of war machines, but in this game it's an attempt to simulate the formation and development of a civilization. Obviously, they cut a few corners here and there. Guildhall Leisure has a license to republish virtually all of Microprose's catalog of Amiga games on their Acid Software label. Civilization is their first attempt to publish a CD-ROM on the Amiga as well. The particulars of this re-release will be addressed at the end of the review. For those of you who haven't played it in the 5 years since its release, Civilization puts you in the role of a small group of settlers whose first task it is to found a capital city for your civilization. From that city, you grow food, build military units and important buildings, feed your people so they can have children and make your empire bigger, and go on to start more cities. Meanwhile, a number of computer opponents are doing the same thing. (The game is single-player although I've played it with other people and it's quite fun. The new FreeCiv which can be played over the net can help you if you're looking for a multiplayer game like Civilization.) Civilization takes a long time to play and is pretty addictive. There are a number of different difficulty levels as well as a number of different strategies you can try to use. For example, you will inevitably encounter rival civilizations who have the same goal as you--being the world's best civilization. You can take a very militant and aggressive position with them, or attack only out of self-defense. It is very possible to take over other civilizations' cities, but the game is more challenging if you don't. The level of complexity in Civilization is just about right. One of my gripes with world-simulations (or park simulations, see Theme Park) is that you sometimes have to do so much micro-managing, particularly after your city/empire/park starts growing, that the game is no longer any fun. Civilization is pretty good about that sort of thing. You make work assignments to your citizens by assigning them to work on plots of land around your cities (which reap different rewards, depending on the terrain and how much you've developed it), and by assigning settler units to develop and improve the land around your cities. It's enough to keep you interested throughout the entire game, but not so bad that you're killing yourself trying to keep up with every little person there is. One of the most rewarding parts of Civilization is research. Your civilization starts with only the most basic of skills and abilities - it is, after all, only 4000 BC. But you can assign your wise men to work on new technologies, and as they discover their secrets you can build more and better buildings and military units. You can also trade (or demand, or be shaken down for) technology with other civilizations, and early in the game you might discover a "scroll of ancient wisdom" which immediately bestows a technology on you. The only down side is that the technologies available in the game only stretch into the present day and a bit beyond (to technologies it seems reasonable that humans will master in the not too distant future.) If you're a very good Civilization player, you'll expend these technologies and be stuck researching "Future Tech", which earns you Civilization Points but nothing new in the game. The ultimate goal of civilization is to colonize another planet. You never do this directly, but late in the game you'll be able to start building components for a vast interstellar spacecraft which can carry your people to the stars. Wiping out the other civilizations is another possible goal. Civilization is a lot of fun. There, that's clear. Guildhall has placed both the ECS and AGA versions of Civilization on the CD-ROM, and they can be run directly. (In fact, there's no HD install option, although it would be pretty easy to do it yourself by just modifying their startup script.) The AGA version is the prettier, and implements more of the animation found on the PC version. Unfortunately, because the game seems to insist on running on a DBLNTSC 256 color screen, it's quite slow, even on our test 040/40 machine. I tried a number of methods to persuade the game to run in a different mode but they failed. Part of the delay is in the relative slowness of a 256 color DBL screen, another part is in the excessively long screen fades the game uses. If you're an experienced Civ player or don't care much about pretty graphics, I strongly recommend using the ECS version--it's much, much faster. Guildhall hasn't made any real marked improvement to the game short of making it playable from CD. The extremely uncomfortable save-game scheme is still there (you can save the game, but only to the root directory on a device or partition, and if your partition list is too long the game gets confused). What is nice (and was part of Guildhall's license agreement with Microprose) is that there's still a full printed manual and a color box. The manual is not notably different from Microprose's old manual (except the cover is white, not black, with black type instead of gold). This is nice in general, and important since Civilization has documentation protection. Call me a hypocrite seeing that I'm an online magazine editor, but having printed documentation is tough to beat. Civilization is a modern classic, and plays quite well on the Amiga. It predates the popularity of RTG so you're pretty much stuck with your Amiga chipset, but for UKP15 (around US$24, but the pound keeps getting stronger against most other currencies) it's still a good value. I hope to see more CD products from Guildhall - perhaps next time around they'll consider a multi-game disc.