Master of Orion 3 - PC

2.2 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews
Rated: Teen
Metascore: 64 / 100
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About the Product

  • , not just military and economic consequences.
  • Slick and intuitive interface makes navigation and gameplay a snap for novice players.
  • Complete campaigns to satisfy would-be galactic conquerors.
  • Robust Multiplayer lets 8 players slug it out for galactic domination.
  • Manage policies dealing with freedom and oppression, slavery, and racial tolerance. Will your civilization thrive better as an oppressive tyranny, a free republic, a unified theocracy, or something in-between?

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Product Description

Platform: PC

Product Description

Explore rich solar systems, complete with jump lanes, wormholes and hostile alien races as you play one of 16 unique star-faring races.

The Master of Orion series is synonymous with addictive turn-based strategy gameplay. Though the premise--choosing a unique alien race and then leading it in a galactic quest for glory--isn't new, there is something about the series that draws people back. Is it the original take on the diplomatic, economic, military, and exploratory components of galactic conquest? Is it the intrigue of the Antarans, an ancient and predatory race that always seems to pop out of hyperspace to attack at just the wrong time? Is it the sense of accomplishment that comes from building a functioning interstellar empire? Frankly, I don't know. But for whatever reason, these games are notorious for creating a bad case of Just One More Turn syndrome.

Master of Orion 3, then, has large shoes to fill. Appropriately, "bigger" is one of the best adjectives that can be used to describe this third installment. Fans of micromanagement are in for a treat, as the most noticeable new feature is the vast number of options available. The level of control is nice, but can be overwhelming--you'll sometimes find yourself swimming in a sea of menus, interconnected sliders, and check boxes. The array of empire management tools are all used to advance along one of three paths to victory: dominating your enemies militarily, getting elected as president of the Orion senate, or finding all five hidden artifacts.

Each planet in your empire has many components that must be managed individually--including taxes, build queues, regional zoning, terraforming, resource collection, economic infrastructure development, and military versus planetary spending limits. Successful management leads to a productive planet; mismanagement results in revolt and unrest. A vital addition to the game is an AI viceroy for each planet. Viceroys will carry out mundane work based on empire-wide policies you can set, but don't expect them to do exactly what you want very often. And even with the help of viceroys, the galactic scale is no less daunting. You must manage not only a galactic budget and research, but also diplomatic relations, spy infiltration, and military development and deployment. The manner in which the player interacts with the Orion senate is new to MoO3. You can now become a member of the senate and use it to impose sanctions or declare war on other alien races.

When diplomatic negotiations fail, space and ground combat become necessary. You assign task forces mission types that include long-range attack, short-range attack, point-defense, indirect fire, and reconnaissance. Ground forces are likewise grouped into task forces based on their size and strength. Once in combat, you can opt to control things directly or sit back and let the computer take care of everything. You can even skip combat altogether and jump right to the outcome--the fastest and easiest way to manage battles.

In the end, Masters of Orion 3 succeeds with compelling gameplay that will leave you engrossed for hours (or days) at a time. Thanks to the strategic depth of the game, vast number of management options, diverse and interesting alien races, a randomly generated universe, and a sprawling technology tree, no two games will be alike. Though dense and complex, the payoff is well worth the effort. MoO3 is a fantastic title perfect for anyone who enjoys strategy games. --Jon "Safety Monkey" Grover


  • Engaging and immersive gameplay
  • More depth, longer games, and greater diversity
  • Addictive--expect to dump eight hours into a single session
  • Multiplayer includes a turn-limits option and financial benefits for brief turns


  • Calling it "graphically dated" is being polite
  • Incredible complexity may leave a lot of gamers confused
  • Productivity, social life, family, and personal hygiene may suffer

Product Information

ASIN B00005TS56
Release date February 25, 2003
Customer Reviews
2.2 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

2.2 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #33,113 in videogames
#4,914 in Video Games > PC Games > PC Games
Pricing The strikethrough price is the List Price. Savings represents a discount off the List Price.
Product Dimensions 7.2 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
Media: Video Game
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
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Top Customer Reviews

By Dan Egli on August 13, 2004
Platform for Display: PC
Being a MOO fan, I was stoked when Moo2 came out. I bought it, played it, and fell in love with it.

Then Moo 3 comes out. "AWSOME! I'M THERE!" was my thinking. Ohh would I ever be disappointed! The micromanagment that I so enjoyed from Moo2 is gone. The AI builds EVERYTHING now, and it's such a klunky interface (albeit a very pretty one) that it litterally took me TWO DAYS to figure out how to design and build custom ships.

Now add in that the stupid AI always builds things that are not going to help you advance. The game MIGHT have been playable if there was a way to disable the AI. But you cann't. You can override it, but that's it.

Now take into account the fact that the game makers decided to remove what was one of my favorite items, the combats between vast numbers of ships. Which would not have been so bad if they had done it to ALL. But the people who now inhabit the planet Orion (namely the "new orions") can have hundreds of tiny tiny ships (about the size of a single person fighter craft) in combat, while you are limited to 60 ships of any size, and you will soon find it virtually impossible to reach orion!

Then consider how long it now takes to build ships of any decent size. In moo2 it might very well take as many turns to build a powerfull ship on a poor planet. But it would only take like 10 turns on a ultra rich planet with all the upgrades (core waste dump, deep core mines, automated factories, etc...)

And it's hard to get the most out of your planets because now you need to control the type of industrial buildings that get built on the planet, and each planet has multiple regions of various types. Ok, that would work if sufficent information was given about the various types of regions.
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Platform for Display: PC
Master of Orion 3 is a huge 4X space empires game which despite numerous flaws and a harsh learning curve is an excellent game. Read on if you want to learn more about it.

After playing my first 100 turns of Master of Orion 3, I disliked it. After 200 turns, I was ready to toss it in the trash. After 300 turns, I started to understand and enjoy it. After 400 turns, I was hooked.

The game suffers from a poor interface, which makes for a steep learning curve. A few of the most useful screens are hidden behind other less useful screens (Fleets overview is hidden behind ship design, for example). In the space combat scheduler, you can't see details of your fleets, so you somehow have to remember in which of the 20 battles scheduled for this turn you have troops for planetary assaults. There is no way to see which of your planets have deployed ground troops other than to examine them all one by one. There is no way to see what is queued up for construction in the second and third priority boxes on your planets other than to examine them all one by one. Alien empires threaten you on the diplomacy screen, but you have no idea what the action was for which they are threatening you. There are many other examples where this game would have profited greatly from better interface design.

The game has a very non-intuitive game system, which makes the learning curve even steeper. When your planets build starships, they go into your Reserves after which they can be deployed instantly in any star system where you have built a Mobilization Center, even if that star system is on the other side of the galaxy. After a transport fleet drops its ground troops, it automatically disbands.
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Platform for Display: PC
Sad. Just sad.
I LOVED and still play MOO2 on a semi-regular basis - one more turn, one more turn . . .
I waited for over a year, participated in the discussion boards (Clasby - the tiny giant) and anxiously awaited the game until my pre-ordered copy showed up. Part of the big enhancement was supposed to be the reduction in micromanagement but it is actually worse!
Example: you want to deploy five armies worth of ground troops to conquer some planet. Go to ground force creation, *click*, decide how big a force (division, army, whatever) *click* type of force (marines, tanks, whatever), *click*, then decide which specific troops you want in the unit, (potentially hundreds more clicks based on race, experience level or whatever but luckily there in an auto-build), *click*. Yes you could, in theory, decide that on specific troops to account for the planets gravity and terrain but the combat itself is so abstracted that it's really hard to tell if it makes any difference anyway. And you can't really figure out what exactly the terain is like until you've already unloaded the troops. Besides, you have SO MANY ground troops by mid-game that your really better off just dumping whole (and multiple) armies anyway. Ok, so now you've got the army, *click* ok, then got to another screen where you put them on your troop transports *click* - yes they have their own task force and you can add escorts - but you don't want to. Everything gets dibanded when you unload troops. That is they disapear for a time, then go into reserves for next deployment. Ok, so that's at least six clicks per ground force. You wanted five - so that's thirty clicks - at least. So much for getting rid of the micromanagement.
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