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Reviewed: 1602 A.D.
Author: Chris Kim       Date: February 12th 2000
Page: 3

While the game offers a solid single player game, can it translate into such a great multiplayer game? The answer is more of mixed bag than anything because while the game offers a solid campaign players can get into, the pace of the game is simply too slow to enjoy with multiple players. And on another side note, there is no real way to get any connections to other players as the only way to play over the internet is by manually typing in IP addresses of servers, which there aren't too many (if any at all) to connect to because of the rather limited distribution of the game. But the game offers up to four players on the internet/LAN to compete and two players via modem.

There isn't too much in terms of artificial intelligence in the game, but there is adequate challenge and skills that are offered to the player. The game claims to have dynamic skill levels that adjust to the skill level of the player, which does seem to be quite true. As the game progresses, the player will find that the computer opponents will be much more difficult to please and will probably be finding himself battling with the nation that so gradually became an enemy. Similar to how Unreal Tournament works, if the player starts to really struggle the computer will let up a little bit, but when the player starts to flourish and really succeed the computer will kick in and start making things slightly more difficult. But, there really isn't much to AI because the game is usually played inside, meaning that there isn't much interaction between other opponents or characters. And yes, the game does offer a very good challenge and adequate difficulty levels for all players. Even a solid tutorial is provided for novice gamers for a fluid transition into the game.

Rich People
Happy Citizens

The control scheme that is presented to the player is one that is quite simple on the surface, but later in the game can become a bit complex. The mouse for all functions, building, selecting, deselecting, and choosing options drives the whole interface. The left button is used as the selector and selection maker in the menus and the game. The right button is used as a deselector and cancel selector. While all the options such as the building tree and selection zone is simple and straightforward. One of the cooler options in the game is an automatic aligner that allows smooth placement of buildings next to roads and an attempted automatic trading route system that seems to work sometimes. However, at times the interface can become a bit of a hassle because of the lack of keyboard shortcut keys or the menus become overwhelming with all the selections and options available to the player. On to the trading system, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and handle all the trades that occur. This is attributed to ships just moving and not dealing and other little nuisances. But most of the time throughout the whole game the interface serves no problem and does the job right.

Curse the Fire
Plague is No Fun
Whose Plantation?

One of the less stellar parts about 1602 A.D. is the graphics engine. Because the game is over a year old and going on two, it would be quite obvious that the game would start to show its age. The graphics aren't bad or anything, they just look dated because of the time that has gone by since it was first released. They look to be right on par with games such as the original Age of Empires, which isn't too shabby. All of the sprites and backdrops used in the game are composed of pixels, and depending on the resolution and zoom size can appear smaller or larger. Each of the animations used in the game offers plenty of animated sequences that will suffice for the job at hand. The game wasn't meant to be a showy blockbuster but just a game that offers most in the graphical department. What the game does is offer a very wide audience because of the ridiculously low system requirements only asking for a Pentium 100mhz processor with 16mb of RAM. On that configuration, the game runs quite well and is very playable. There are three different zoom levels, while only two of them are playable at and also offers several different prospectives. The three-quarter overhead view is very tried and true and proves to be a very excellent angle for gamers to play at. There isn't much in terms of special effects, but they do a decent job at what they shoot for. One of the technical merits that show age are the cutscenes, they almost seem and feel like stuff from back in 1995, very pixelated and not too smooth animation fills the CGI animated cutscenes. Another technical merit is resolution support from 6480x480 to 1024x768 depending on how the player wishes to play.

Very Rich
Guard the Plantations Men!
Country Side is Pleasant

Similar to how the graphics are, the sound is really no frills, just the basic sound effects type approach. There are appropriate sound queues for buildings and events that occur, but nothing else really fills the sound void. There is an announcer that gives tips and hits like the little dude from Sim Theme Park, but he really doesn't help much. There is a nice little musical track that is nice and pleasant to listen to while building up the cities, however.

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Added:  Saturday, February 12, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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