Title Genesia Publisher Mindscape (1993) Programming Thomas Zighem Game Type Management Sim Players 1-3 HD Installable Yes (Uses boot disk) Compatibility All Amigas Submission Andy McCarthy - Thunderchild@genesia.freeserve.co.uk Review At first glance, Genesia is a turn based "Populous" clone, with a bit of "Civilisation" and "UFO" mixed in - but in my view - it goes well beyond all three in terms of resource management and immersion. Genesia was badly marketed and underrated when reviewed, which was a pity, since it had the potential to take the number one spot from the likes of Elite 2 and Cannon Fodder. The game takes place in a 3D world, divided up into about 100 territories, beautifully designed with fantastic terrain and sound effects. The idea is to build up a city, an economy and an army and then go forth, colonise and conquer. ( the official story revolves around collecting jewels - but I never bother with that - being the Empire builder that I am !) The game has a good learning curve - actually here I am in the year 2000, and I am STILL picking up new strategies ! Up to three human players can compete on the same Amiga, which can redefine the term "friendly rivalry" !! There is no network option, which is a bit of a pain since you have to sit through the other player's turns. In single player mode, you will be faced with two AI controlled powermongers called Edward and Karnac. You start off with an empty land and four settlers - each of these settlers can be given a task, like Woodcutting, Carpentry, Farming, Construction etc. or they can be recruited to the Army. Once the tasks are allocated to your people - they will carry out your orders, and start you on the path to glory - or ruin, depending on how well you play. There are many beautiful buildings to construct - Barracks, Workshops, Temples, Shops, and more, all of which are animated, and can all be interacted with - hell, you can even pop into the tavern and listen to some guy pluck his banjo! Once you have constructed a barracks - you can then build an army. At this point you can only have rubbish soldiers, since you need to research some military technology before the Cannons and Warships become available. But this early army can be used to annex territories and start new cities. Constructing a workshop means that you can allocate scientists and blacksmiths - Research and Heavy weaponry is always nice to have ! If your city is thriving, then it won't be too long before one of the other Empires decides to pay you a visit - with a "delegation" of heavily armed troops. You can make peace and form a treaty if you wish - but why ? They have land and wealth with your name on it ! Wars can last for years and years, and this is where the UFO bit comes in. Your military units have action points, so be careful how you use them. No opportunity fire here chaps - hit them and hit them hard ! This is the best part of the game - the units are detailed and fully animated- Cannons fire cannonballs, Archers fire arrows, Balloons drop bombs, great stuff ! In addition,there are other factors to buzz along with - Morale The morale of your people governs how your empire grows - really happy people work faster, and grumbling people work slower, or even leave !! However, being a deeply religious lot, bribing the church with gold tends to make everyone happy - "control of the church = control of the people" was one of my first mottos with this game ! Seasons Genesia has seasons - Spring, Summer, Aut-- YOU KNOW ! In Winter, people tend to catch diseases, and become unavailable for work. Spring is the season of love - where settlers tend to reproduce - Autumn is the harvest - where lots of food can be produced. Summer is really awful - lightning storms, low water table etc. The Environment Cut down all your trees and you get a greenhouse effect - keep lots of trees and you will get a nice water table, as well as a lot of wood. The AI There are three difficulty levels - "Beginner" "Normal" and "Advanced" The AI is evil on Advanced, since the computer controlled empires will hardly ever make peace, and they seem to have great tactics. HAQ - Hardly Asked Questions Why is Genesia better than Populous and Civilization? Why does a table licker lick tables?!! Mind you, there are people who believe that the US state of Kansas was taken by aliens - so the question has validity!! Genesia is a strategy gamer's dream - you have total control over every aspect of your Empire - there is no "Settlers" style micromanagement whatsoever, which means a very high level of satisfaction when you have built a HUGE empire without any help from the AI. Research is wonderfully arranged - it is not a rush to get to the modern age like in Civ, every technological era in Genesia can be fully explored and implemented- there is no obsolete technology. No Civ, style trading here - you wanna trade -load up a wagon with pearls and take it to the opponents shop yourself !! Wars between the computer opponents are great to watch - you can pick up some good strategies from watching the enemy slug it out. You also get to watch enemy negotiations. Any bad points? Only hard core strategists need apply - take your eye off the screen for a minute and you will receive the AI equivalent of being slapped in the face with a wet kipper - twice! There are lots of things to keep track of - City Growth, Economical Prosperity, Diplomacy, War, The Environment - all to be done within your three minute game turn - some people may feel that it is too much to do. Genesia will take time to understand - but then again, how many of you took off from Sirocco Station on your first try ?!! My only real complaint is the "Turn Time" - Civ gives unlimited time and The Settlers and Populous are both real time. Sacrifices do have to be made due to the time constraints. Well, I hope you have enjoyed the review, and that I've convinced a few of you that it is in fact a darn good game.