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Age of Empires

by MacSoft
Teen
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Platform: Mac
Mac


Product Details

Platform: Mac
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B00001XDKC
  • Media: Video Game
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,441 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Platform: Mac

Amazon.com

Age of Empires is an epic, real-time strategy game spanning 10,000 years. Starting with minimal resources, players guide the evolution of small Stone Age tribes into great civilizations. Gamers can choose one of several ways to win the game, including world domination by conquering enemy civilizations, exploration of the known world, and economic victory through the accumulation of wealth.

Review

Age of Empires was a highly anticipated game for the Mac because when it was released for the PC, it was widely viewed as a milestone in real-time strategy. Age of Empires is a unique hybrid of empire-building strategy games like Civilization II and real-time action strategy games like WarCraft, and it delivers a unique gaming experience.

On the surface, Age of Empires delivers the empire-building goods, encouraging you to advance your civilization from the Stone Age through to the Iron Age. However, this is about the only likeness to Civ II-style empire-building in the game. Unlike Civilization, in which your empire advances thanks to research and improvements, in Age of Empires your nation advances because you hoard resources and pay your way into first the Tool Age, then the Bronze Age, and finally the Iron Age. The result is that the notion of empire building is mainly a formality. With each advancement you can obtain improved buildings, naval ships, and units, but that doesn't necessarily change your strategy.

Strategy is, in fact, reduced to naval supremacy. Whichever player gets the most powerful navy first will generally win the game. Naval units are able to bombard buildings and land units and have a tremendously unfair advantage. Poor unit AI also has a big impact on Age of Empires's playability. Computer-controlled units are smart, very smart - even SkyNet and Terminator smart - while your units are dumb as bricks, unable to get from point A to point B without help.

All things considered, there is still a lot to like in Age of Empires. Despite the flaws in the empire-building aspects, the game adds a new twist to real-time strategy gaming, and that is enough to outweigh, or at least compensate for, many of the game's problems. If you're tired of the Command & Conquer clone, this game definitely offers something different. Age of Empires still uses the tried-and-true resource-gathering model of C&C and WarCraft, but instead of one or two resources, you now have four to contend with, which adds more complexity to the game.

There is also a huge variety of units to play with. Military units come in Infantry, Archer, Cavalry, and Siege varieties, each one possessing characteristics that advance as you advance from the Stone Age. The Infantry is the workhorse of the military, starting out as a simple man with a club and evolving to a heavily armored, tough Centurion. One of the most enjoyable parts of Age of Empires is advancing the military units.

Overall, the single-player game has quite a bit of depth to it. There are easily 40 to 50 hours worth of missions to complete. The missions can get a bit redundant, and some of the mission objectives are very difficult, but a mission editor greatly enhances long-term playability. Multiplayer games are limited to playing against other Mac users only.

Age of Empires is a compelling game, largely because it diverges in so many ways from traditional real-time strategy titles. But because Age of Empires treads new paths, it makes a few mistakes along the way, some of which can be forgiven and some of which are frustrating. Flaws aside, you'll have a good time playing. - Rick Sanchez

Good News: Unique, deep gameplay. Large variety of units. Lots of missions for long playability. Mission editor.

Bad News: Poor unit AI. Naval units are too strong and unbalance gameplay.

©1999 MacAddict -- From MacAddict -- Subscribe now!

When you first play Age of Empires, a warm feeling develops in your gut. Warcraft meets Civilization! Real-time empire-building! And does it ever look sharp and feel right.

But an uneasy feeling builds as you get deeper into it, a sense that all is not quite right. This is not quite the game you hoped for. Even worse, it has some definite problems. The pitfall when you review a game as anticipated and debated as this one is to make sure you criticize it for what it is, not for what you wish it was. I wish that Age of Empires was what it claimed to be - Civilization with a Warcraft twist. Instead, it is Warcraft with a hint of Civilization. That's all well and good, but it places it firmly in the action-oriented real-time combat camp, rather than in the high-minded empire-building of Civilization. The result is Warcraft in togas, with slightly more depth but a familiar feel.

Age of Empires places you on a map in an unexplored world, provides a few starting units, and lets you begin building an empire. Each game unfolds the same way. You begin with a town center and some villagers. The villagers are the basic laborers, and the town center enables you to build more of them and expand your settlement. The villagers are central to AOE: they gather resources, build structures, and repair units and buildings. Resources come in four forms: wood, food, stone, and gold. A certain amount of each is consumed to build various units and buildings, research new technology, and advance a civ to the next age.

There is no complex resource management or intricate economic model at work here. What you have is the same old real-time resource-gathering in period garb, with four resources instead of one or two. As your civ advances, you develop greater needs for these resources, but the way in which they are gathered and used becomes only marginally more complex (certain research can cause faster harvesting or more production). It appears on the surface to be a complex evocation of the way early civs gathered and used materials, but beneath the hood is the same old "mine tiberium, buy more stuff than the other guys" model. It is the first hint that AOE is a simple combat game rather than a glorious empire-builder.

There's no denying the thrill the first time a villager chucks a spear at an antelope and spends several minutes hacking meat from its flank with a stone tool. This is the level of detail that brings an empire-building game to life. If only those villagers would grow and develop over the course of the game, it would make it so much more interesting. If only they would trade in their loincloths for some britches and maybe some orange camouflage, and switch from spears to arrows and rifles. Yes, that's another game, but it could easily have been done in AOE, and why it wasn't is a mystery.

The problem is that while enemy AI is savvy and aggressive (it can afford to be since it appears to cheat with resources), your units are bone-stupid. Path-finding is appallingly botched, with units easily getting lost or stuck. There is a waypoint system, but that hardly makes up for the fact that your units have trouble moving from point A to point B if you don't utilize it. Military units will stand idly by while someone a millimeter away is hacked to pieces. They respond not at all to enemy incursion in a village and wander aimlessly in the midst of battle. Was this deliberate so that the gamer needed to spend more time in unit management? If so, it was a poor idea, since there is simply too much going on midgame to worry about whether your military is allowing itself to be butchered in one corner of the map while you are aggressively tending to a battle in another portion.

AOE obviously is sticking close to an early-empire motif, and there's nothing at all wrong with that. Stone, Tool, Bronze, and Iron are the four ages, and with each come new structures and military units. You don't earn these advanced ages - you buy them with resources. Advancement is a simple matter of hoarding and spending food and gold. The overall welfare of your state is irrelevant as long as it survives: happiness is not measured, trade is barely modeled, and the state exists merely to produce a military machine to crush everyone else on the map. Naval power has a woefully unbalancing effect upon gameplay, with a strong navy able to shred the competition at the expense of reality.

Micromanagement is the name of the game in AOE. There is no unit queue, and to build five villagers, you need to build one, wait, build another, and so on. With units acting so stupidly, you should be able to set their level of aggression and the manner in which they attack (a la Dark Reign), but that is also not an option. Diplomacy is relegated to tribute and nothing more, and alliances are hard to form. You can be allied, neutral, or at war with other civs, but if the radio button is still set to "allied" when an opponent starts firing on your units, your units will not fire back, defend themselves, or even flee. They will just be destroyed. Cues as to exactly what's happening on the map are obscure; the duty has been relegated to unrelated sound effects. Does that bugle call mean my building is finished being built, or my units are under attack? How about some help, people? Victory conditions can also be irritating. There are several campaigns that require that specific goals be met, and these quickly grow tiresome. Thankfully, there is an excellent custom generator that lets you set map size, starting tech, resources, and other features. This is the saving grace of AOE, and what kept me coming back again and again. The main reason is that it let me change some of the insane default victory requirements, such as when the victor is the first to build a "wonder" (through another massive consumption of resources) that stands for 2000 years. These 2000 years can pass in about twenty minutes of game time. That means that as soon as an opponent builds a wonder, you create a whacking huge navy to go over and blow it up. Not a very subtle way to maintain an empire. In fact, there is no strategic nuance: It is merely a brawny muscle contest.

If all these judgments seem harsh, it is only because Age of Empires looked, and pretends, to be so very much more. It still has tons of potential and a fundamental gameplay that remains entertaining enough to overcome the flaws and merit a fair rating. The system can go very far with some fine-tuning, but as it stands it seems downright schizo. Is it a simplified Civilization or a modestly beefed up Warcraft? It's almost as if the designers started out to create one game and ended up with another. With such beautiful production and the fundamentals of a vastly entertaining game, it's sad that it fell short of the mark. The disappointment is not merely with what AOE is, but with what it failed to be. --T. Liam McDonald
Copyright ©1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing One Thing- People December 29, 1999
Platform for Display:Mac
Age of Empires is the best strategy game I have ever played. It takes you through time to fight in historic battles or build your own empire to conquer other people or your computer. I am very pleased MacSoft made a Macintosh version of this game. Dispite its exellence, it is mising one thing... people. I have yet to find one place online where I could play another person. If you are thinking about buying a game for your Macintosh, get Age of Empires, it is a great game and I'll look forward to playing you.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's an Action-Packed Strategy Experience! November 15, 1999
Platform for Display:Mac
Age Of Empires is an incredible game! It will entertain strategy gamers for hours on end with its many missions and endless variations of Death Matches. Parents can buy this for their children too. Each mission is based on real battles in history and it gives a historical summary of what really happened at each battle. The different civilizations all have different weapons and if you want an easy game there are cheat codes galore. THIS GAME IS A MUST-HAVE!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very fulfilling RTS title February 6, 2000
Platform for Display:Mac
Historical conflict has been the basis for many a PC and console title. But none deliver the goods better, in my opinion, than Age of Empires. Sure, it's a Microsoft game for Mac, but I don't think much about that as my Persian hordes roll into Greece. There have been many comparisons between AOE and the widely-popular Civilization 2, but it's like comparing Apples to... ummm... PCs. AOE is a true real-time strategy, which means you control your villagers and send them to collect food, wood, etc., and you control your armies which (if they're lucky) collect decapitated enemies. Civilization is more a political-military board game, with turn-based play and not as dynamic a control system as AOE. Not that this is bad--both games are a lot of fun to play. But I think while Civ 2 wins on the side of depth and scope, AOE wins on the side of excitement and playability. The only strike I have against AOE is the fact that the units all look and act the same, regardless of what civilization you play as. Using a legion of samurai to beat back a Hittite advance would have been wonderful.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a great game! February 7, 2000
Platform for Display:Mac
Boy, Microsoft really outdid themselves! When I opened the box and started the game, I was expecting something like StarCraft, simple and completely based on battles. However, I was soon exposed to intense strategy and huge amounts of details. For an example, units on elevations do more damage and vice versa. Also, much of the game is concentrated on the gathering of foods, minerals, and the researching of technology. This is no bash 'n brawl game for former Duke fans. This is hardcore strategy. So, I advise you to buy this game. This has kept me adicted since summer when I got it, and in my opinion, its better than Civilization II. (Why all the hype?)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Age of Empires pre OS X Not compatible January 13, 2011
Platform for Display:Mac|Verified Purchase
Fun: 1.0 out of 5 stars   
I loved the Age of Empires on PC. However, I never got a chance to play Age of Empires for Mac. I didn't realize that it was a pre OS X product, therefore, I was not able to open the download. The information I received from amazon was misleading. I bought the product not knowing it was not going to work on my I MAC. I learned a very valuable lesson. I reccommend that anyone wanting to buy boxed software online should double check what they are getting. The price was also excessive and should have given me the clue not to buy it. Amazon.cpm does not take back opened software. Unfortunately, I had to open up the software and run it to find out it was not what I wanted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a Good Name November 27, 2000
Platform for Display:Mac
It is a really good game, the graphics are great. I love it when you see your army of 15 horses marching in and attacking everything. Its really fun, althugh for Mac you can only play against Macs and it is also pretty annoying the Population Limit it has. You also can not build a whole army at once you have to build it soldier by soldier.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display:Mac
I got this beacause I enjoyed both Civilization and Alpha Centauri, and it had come highly recommended by some of my friends in the PC world.
The animation and attention to detail is really great, and kind of hypnotic, mostly because of the music. The time required for development of technology is pretty considerable, however, so you just kind of sit and watch these little guys truck around for the bulk of the playing time. This slows gameplay to a virtual crawl.
The intelligence that moderates enemy activity is pretty rudimentary - I found it easy to avoid being attacked simply by not going within a certain distance of another civilization until I had a decent sized force, which, of course, took more time. Once engaged, however, moving the individual units was fun, if not a little chaotic. And the indivudal units just attack whoever is near them, whether that's a enemy or a building. The diplomacy settings are appalling basic: they are radio buttons which simply assign a value to each opponent: ally, neutral or enemy, which is usually not enough to get them to stop attacking you for a bit, only to stab them in the back, heh, heh.
Lastly, I more than a little put off by the "slash and burn" tone of the whole game - there's no penalty for simply cutting down every tree to make buildings and weapons, and exhausting every resource. (Oh, right, this is a Microsoft game.) In Sid Meier's excellent Civilization and space counterpart Alpha Centauri, you really have to watch your consumption levels and pollution. I find that this keeps me interested and coming back to play multiple times.
If you really like slick animation at the expense of gameplay speed and little snippets of historical information as the payoff for a level, then go ahead and try Age of Empires. If, like me, you like the intricacies of building an actual empire, then STICK WITH CIVILIZATION OR ALPHA CENTAURI. The animation may not be as good, but that's what movies are for.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Shipping, Missed the Fine Print
It was shipped to me very quickly, I just did not se the fine print that said this would not run on my computer because I have to new of an OS.
Published 18 months ago by Jarret Laneer Hostas
1.0 out of 5 stars Software issues
I just bought this game and cannot install in on my mac because it says "the classic environment is no longer supported.
Published on August 12, 2011 by jrose3304
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS A GREAT GAME!!!
I love playing startegy games and i thought this was the best ever! you have to get this game! + they have really cool cheats on it.
Published on June 3, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Grate!
Wow. I only have the demo, but it's still incredibly popular in my school, where we play it at lunchtime every single day. Read more
Published on May 26, 2002 by "goobjuice"
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of the box. . .and back in again
Boring, tedious, and pointless. A mere shadow of the far superior Civilization (pick any incarnation). Read more
Published on May 5, 2002 by Emer70
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST MAC GAME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is probably the best civilazation game ever!! Even though it sometimes crashes on IMac's, In aoe you can choose from random map games to scenario builder to death match to... Read more
Published on June 11, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars its a good game
when is it going to be in stock i want to buy it now
Published on May 12, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars !!THE BEST!!
This is one of the best strategy games ever. It has great graphics and is challanging and exciting. The first time I played it I sat down at my computer and didn't get up for 3... Read more
Published on April 21, 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars Problems with iMac
I purchased this a week ago since I heard great things about this game and having played Civilization a Call to Power. Read more
Published on January 28, 2001 by James F. RobertsII
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Game
Quite simple this is the best stratagey game on the market, period.
Published on December 12, 2000
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