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Age of Wonders - PC

by Gathering of Developers
Windows NT / 98 / 2000 / Me / 95
Everyone
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Price: $26.79
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Product Details

  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B00002CF8Q
  • Item Weight: 3 pounds
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: November 12, 1999
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,649 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Amazon.com

Welcome to the Age of Wonders, once a time of magic and peace. An age swept into the ravaging gale of chaos by the arrival of a single, uninvited race: the Humans. The fragile balance that existed between the ancient races--Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and other--has changed into a struggle for power and survival in the wake of the turmoil the Humans have brought to the land. Prepare for an adventure where you will uncover wondrous ancient artifacts, awesome magical power, and the secrets of a shattered empire. Ally with the forces of light or darkness to determine the fate of the earth in the Age of Wonders.

Age of Wonders is a strategy game in development by Triumph Studios and Epic MegaGames and is being published by The Gathering of Developers. The setting is a rich fantasy world where magic and primitive technology coexist. Age of Wonders lets you utilize hundreds of fantasy units, heroes, items, and spells to overcome your opponents in strategic and tactical fantasy warfare. Age of Wonders also incorporates role playing and adventure elements, with many mysterious places to explore and a diverse array of characters to encounter.

Play the game in a captivating nonlinear single-player campaign or with friends. In the single-player game, your decisions influence the outcome of the entire fantasy realm. The game features an exciting magic system, including spell research and more than 100 spells spread over seven spheres of magic. You can even hand tailor your heroes as they grow in experience and power.

This software is a native Windows application with DirectX support, and it runs in either a window or full screen. Other features include a point-and-click interface with tool tips and online help; DirectPlay and Play-by-email (PBEM) support for multiple players on a single PC (or over Internet, LAN, modem, or direct connection); a choice of Round Robin or Simultaneous turn schemes for multiplayer games (simultaneous turns greatly speed up multiplayer games!); and a rich, orchestral soundtrack and digitized sound effects.

Review

Age of Wonders isn't ostentatious or innovative. Though it does do a handful of new things, its basic gameplay involves exploring a map, claiming as many resources as possible, and generating units at your towns to form armies to wage war with your opponent's similarly created armies. Specifically, its map exploration, resource management, and unit-based armies bear a striking resemblance to other turn-based strategy games that have been released before it. Age of Wonders encompasses many facets of games that have preceded it, but it adds improvements of its own and is consequently a complex and highly evolved strategy game.

Age of Wonders' visuals are inconsistent; its menu screens and opening movie are graced by elegant hand-painted art, whose effective use of shadow and simple color contrasts lend it a distinctive and pleasingly understated quality. Unfortunately, this picturesque style isn't carried over to the maps on which most of the game is played. Though the maps themselves have the same colorful and detailed look of New World Computing's Heroes of Might and Magic games, the same can't be said for Age of Wonders' units, whose miniscule size, stilted animation, and sometimes downright silly appearance contrast oddly with the game's otherwise high fantasy look.

Age of Wonders' sound is also inconsistent; at any given time, there's always some sort of music playing in the background, and it's usually stirring and thematically appropriate and never obtrusive. However, one of the most important - and frequent - components of Age of Wonders' gameplay is combat. Unfortunately, between the scurrying of poorly animated units across the screen and the alternating sound of the generic loud slapstick thwack when a melee unit hits its target and the accompanying generic yelp of pain, combat sometimes seems more like a Benny Hill skit than anything else.

Whatever else may be said about how it looks or sounds, Age of Wonders is a solid, if not entirely original game to play. Its resource management system, which mostly consists of moving your units over mines and other resources on the map to claim them as your own, is essentially identical to that of Heroes of Might and Magic. Of its two combat systems, Age of Wonders' isometric-perspective tactical combat is reminiscent of Master of Magic. Age of Wonders borrows its quick combat system from SSG's Warlords III: Darklords Rising, along with many other features, including the ability to create war parties without a hero in the lead, to create eight-creature army stacks, to raze and loot towns and other structures, and the ability to play turns simultaneously against your opponent.

However, Age of Wonders does manage to distinguish itself from its peers with several interesting new features. First and foremost is the sheer number of different factions to play: There are 12 races to choose from, and in turn, 12 corresponding sets of combat units. Though the sets of units may seem similar enough at first (and are therefore equally accessible at first), each distinguishes itself from the rest thanks to various inherent abilities and increasingly divergent upper-level units.

Another important way in which Age of Wonders exceeds its fantasy-themed turn-based brethren is by having two combat systems: Any and all conflicts can be resolved either through tactical or quick combat, which helps expedite messy battles or easy walkover fights in an otherwise very time-consuming game. Neither system is at all innovative in and of itself, but the ability to choose between either makes combat so much more convenient, you'll wonder why other similar games haven't done the same.

Age of Wonders' interface is also decidedly unoriginal. Though each of the four windows - the overland map, the minimap, the status menu, and the Warlords-style message ticker - can be resized or simply closed, each one must remain open to play effectively. Fortunately, once you acclimate yourself to them, you'll find their functionality goes a long way in compensating for the space they take up. The overland and minimaps are as useful as any found in any similar game, while the message ticker provides quick summaries of important events. The status menu in the lower left-hand corner is particularly useful, since it contains information about all of your holdings, troops, and heroes and lets you jump to any of them with a single right-click.

As in some other similar turn-based strategy games, Age of Wonders lets both heroes and units advance in experience levels. However, the path of your hero's advancement is entirely up to you. You can begin with default heroes or customize your hero with one of more than 70 different portraits and further customize him with fully adjustable attributes and the full list of any and all available hero abilities. And when your hero gains an experience level, you're not given a single choice of advancement from a restricted list. Your hero is instead awarded with a certain number of points and can choose from the same list of all the special abilities available. Naturally, some abilities cost more points than others and will require your hero to advance an additional level before purchasing them. In any case, you have a great deal of control over both the creation and development of your heroes, especially as they gain levels; this is particularly important in Age of Wonders' campaign, in which you carry your main leader hero from scenario to scenario.

The Age of Wonders campaign itself can be played in one of two ways, either as the good-aligned races allied with the elves or as the evil-aligned races allied with the dark elves. In either case, the campaign game consists of scenarios that branch off in a nonlinear fashion dictated by the game's story: You'll be forced to choose from different paths based on the path you previously chose, and the end result will in fact affect your standing in the final scenario. This branching structure adds to Age of Wonders' replay value, as you can always reload a previous saved game and try exploring a different path.

The game includes 22 scenarios, two branching campaigns, and a map editor, which collectively provide many hours of solid gameplay. Unfortunately, Age of Wonders doesn't have a random-map generator, so jumping into a new quick-and-dirty scenario isn't an option. As such, after you've tried all the scenarios and the campaigns and familiarized yourself with all the maps, you won't have much new material to look forward to outside of player-made maps.

Age of Wonders looks and sounds good for the most part. It doesn't break much new ground, but it does integrate some of the best elements of some of the best turn-based strategy games out there with a few of its own features. -- Andrew Seyoon Park
--Copyright ©1999 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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This game is wonderful. Really. November 19, 1999
This game is going to be on my hard drive for a long, long time. The only thing it lacks is a random map generator, which I think will be added in a patch or an add-on later. If you're a turn-based strategy fan, this game is a must have. It blows Heroes of Might and Magic (an already superb series) out of the water with more detail, better combat, and just plain better everything (even better MUSIC, which was very hard to beat!).
If you don't love this game, you're not a gamer. (Either that or you're just a twitch gamer, which is allmost as bad. :-)
In all my years of PC gaming, this is my favorite turn-based game (tops Master of Magic and even X-COM! those two games held the "longest on hard drive" awards up until this one came along, and I know it will unseat them). It might actually be my favorite game of all time, bar-none, but that remains to be seen in the test of time.
Buy this.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific turn-based fantasy strategy game May 4, 2000
This is the most recent turn-based fantasy strategy game and is arguably the best of them. The game includes two full campaigns (choose between good guys and baddies) and several single scenarios. You control one main hero with the option to recruit units and secondary heroes. Each race you control has 4 levels of units unique to each race. Heroes improve through experience in the campaign, gaining spells, higher stats and unique abilities. Units can also improve gaining better stats with experience. Heroes, units and magic items are carried forward to the next scenario subject to a points maximum. Unlike Heroes of Might and Magic, your heroes actually fight in battles (finally!). If you liked Master of Magic or the Heroes of Might and Magic series, you'll love this game.
The good parts: Multiple races (all controllable through capture even from opposite alignments). Simple intuitive interface. Deep strategic battles, where each unit has srong and weak points. Improveable heroes with spells, magic artifacts, and a large number of unique skills. Units and Heroes carry forward to the next scenario you get to select which ones. Superb replay value (many races to play, two branching campaigns, scenario editor included). Rock-solid stability (haven't had a crash since I installed it a month ago)
The bad parts: If you didn't have much of a life before, you'll have even less after you buy this game.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic fantasy war gaming at its best! July 6, 2001
I bought "Age of Wonders" when it first came out. The game, in my opinion, is the best computer fantasy war game that has ever been made. With the option of twelve different races and seven different spheres of magic, there is definitely plenty of diversity and replay value in this game. The spell effects are charming, and the musical score is beautiful. The single player campaign has a great story line, and the multi-player aspect of the single scenarios is well developed. Heroes are very customizable, and if you so choose, you can actually have a hero represent you on the playing field as well (though if you die, you lose). There is only one thing that I would change about the game and that is some of the unit icons; to be honest, the artwork on some of the icons is a little lacking like they were rushing to get this product out the gates. All in all, "Age of Wonders" is an awesome game, and I am definitely looking forward to "Age of Wonders 2".
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review from one of the average people October 21, 2000
I'm in no way a hardcore gamer. Just an average teen who has an interest in turn based strategy and fantasy.
If you never played the very much talked about MoM on this page, and are intending to buy AoW, then I can tell you that it's extremely good. Don't tell me to buy MoM, 'cause I'm satisfied with AoW. Plus, my pocket money doesn't stretch that far.
What is Age of Wonders? Age of Wonders is a turn-based game combining the best elements of strategy, adventure and role-playing. It features 12 unique fantasy races, over 50 different heroes with upgradable abilities, dozens of spells and scores of locations to explore. In this game of conquest, players employ strategic and tactical skills to command troops in capturing vital locations and defeating enemies in a captivating single player campaign or compete with friends in multi-player scenarios.
It's blurb: Welcome to the Age of Wonders, once a time of magic and peace. An age swept into the ravaging gale of chaos by the arrival of a single, uninvited race: the Humans. The fragile balance that existed between the ancient races, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and others, has changed into a struggle for power and survival in the wake of the turmoil the Humans have brought to the land. Prepare for an adventure where you will uncover wondrous ancient artifacts, awesome magical power, and the secrets of a shattered empire. Ally with the forces of light or darkness to determine the fate of the earth in the AGE OF WONDERS!
Well, that's my piece. AoW is definitely worth it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow... this is FUN July 21, 2000
This game is plain fun! The atmosphere and graphics are compelling (if you remember it is a game), there is room for story telling in the game, the AI is decent, you have 12 sides to choose from, loads of magical spells (the effects are fun!), ships, the whole nine yards.
I love that you get a game editor with it and can create your own magic items and heroes and story-line. The game is very well balanced and involves actual strategy.
The simplified economy is a BIG PLUS over MOM which was micromanagement hell and why I gave it up eventually.
There are little details of hte game that go pretty deep, such as the weaponry needed to hit a Wraith or a Dragon, how the alignments and races interact and sometimes desert your army, how best to attack a fortified and walled-in town (loads of fun), choice between tactical and strategic combat. And overall, it flows just so much smoother than MOM ever did. I actually get lost in the story and details much more than I did at MOM, and the AI is not as much of a push-over as the MOM AI was if oyu factor out cheating...
I can't believe I overlooked this game and glad I found it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great game!
A Blast. It's going to be on my computer for a long, long time. A great tactical game that doesn't take long to learn but is immersive. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Crazy Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars this game is good
I am not usually into RPG, but this one is so good, I can't put down the mouse for long and I have to go back and play some more.
Published 9 months ago by Ken95969
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of the classic
I loved this game and wanted to play it again. Found it for a great price and it works on Windows 7 with a little compatibility tweaking.
Published 18 months ago by Matt B
4.0 out of 5 stars Why haven't they made Age of Wonders III???
Age of Wonders is fun for reasons I don't understand. It's like Civilization 3 and Lords of Magic: Special Edition (Jewel Case) combined. Read more
Published on October 12, 2011 by Creation27
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent but nothing to stay up late over
This game grows boring rather swiftly. The story is near nonexistent, the game play hardly challenging. Read more
Published on December 9, 2009 by WingedSpirit
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest classics
This game was released in 1999 and here it is 2008 and I still find myself playing this game often. I even have age of wonders 2, yet I still play this way more than AOW 2. Read more
Published on September 9, 2008 by Drew A. Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Heir to MOM
This game carries on the tradition of Master of Magic and Master of Orion II perfectly. If you like turn based strategy then you will love this game. Read more
Published on September 25, 2005 by Roland Martinez
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storyline
While it is true that this title borrows heavily from many others, there are some differences. First, a great story behind the campains that gives you some insight and tips on the... Read more
Published on August 19, 2003 by ichpokhudezh
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for fantasy fans everywhere.
If you're into the whole "middle-earth" atmosphere (like me), then you're sure to love this strategy game. Read more
Published on August 16, 2003 by Sofy Hefets
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I love dthe game, it is much in the style of heroes and masters of magic, but original enough to be entertaining! Besides which it is highly addictive! Read more
Published on March 9, 2003 by shacary
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