Publisher: Microsoft
Developer:Microsoft
Demo: Available here
Release Date: Available now

System Requirements:

  • Multimedia PC with Pentium 90 or higher processor.
  • Microsoft Windows 95 or later, or Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later.
  • 16 megabytes (MB) of RAM for Windows 95 or later, or 24 MB for Windows NT.
  • 45 MB of available hard disk space.
  • Local bus SVGA, 256-color video display with at least 1 MB of VRAM.
  • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.
  • Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones to hear audio.
  • 28.8 Kbps (or faster) modem and Internet access for head-to-head play.
  • DirectX 5.0 or later

 

The Age of Empires Expansion: The Rise of Rome is the highly anticipated add-on to the award-winning, best-selling real-time strategy game Age of Empires. Focusing on the legendary Roman Empire, the Rise of Rome will challenge veterans and novices alike to wage war on an epic scale with four additional civilizations, several unique units, new technologies, and new campaigns, including the showcase campaign that focuses on the Rise of Rome itself.

Gameplay:
The game  works the same as other strategy games where you harvest resources to build your "base" and increase your population base and this game is no exception. You harvest food ( berries,meat, or you can farm ), stone, gold and wood. From there you must build your empire. With houses, barracks and all of the addons to increase your military power and industrial strength. The game has a relative easy learning curve on the basic functions and how to move your population around etc but you must learn the intricacies of each unit to make sure that they are put to the most efficient use during combat for eg.

I love strategy games and looked forward to this one with great anticipation. I had not played the original so when then sent that along too I was mighty grateful. To ensure that I knew what was new and better I spent the better part of a week playing the original. What a game, I was wondering if the add-on could do anything better or even just be as good. Most add-ons are just a money grab by the respective companies to gain a few more bucks from us the consumer. Did this one fall into that category or is it worth the extra cash to follow the game till it's next "age" ? Was there anything that new that would make it worth spending the extra cash on?

The sounds are exceptional in battle, I love hearing two guys go at it with swords or arrows and hearing the appropriate sound effect of the weapon being used. The biggest plus I saw was the ability to stack the building of units. You can now input the number of units to be made and it will build them all. In the original you could only build or make on one unit at a time which made for some very intensive micro management.

Conclusion:
With the addtional units and the new maps I found this a definite plus to the original game. Although the population limit is still in place which I think is a definite negative for the game.With four new civilizations to follow thru to the end and bigger better units to command well let me tell you I was enjoying myself to no end till the wee hours of the morning on many a night. For an addon I was very impressed. It reminded me of the quality that went into the old warcraft series and that puts this game up with one of the classics.

My feeling is that this is a very worthwhile addition to the original game and in the instance of the unit stacking what was missing in the original.

Score: 84%

Links:
Civilizations:  Carthage, Palmyra, Macedonia, or Rome
Units : Armored Elephant, Camel Rider, Fire Galley, Scythe Chariot, and Slinger.
Buildings: new buildings,
Expanded Technologies: Logistics, Martyrdom, Medicine, and Tower Shield.
Maps: mountainous highlands, a large island, the Mediterranean and a peninsula
Epic Music and Sounds - Several new CD-quality musical tracks

Reviewed by Mark "True" Hetherington
Date: November 22, 1998

Test System:
Abit LX6 w/ P2-266 Processor
128 MB SDRAM
3.5 gig Fujitsu UDMA
Real3d Starfighter provided by Real3d
Diamond Monster 3d II Diamond Multimedia
Orchid Righteous 3d II provided by orchid ( now a diamond affiliate)
Kenwood CD-ROM unit provided by Zenresearch