|Publisher: Sierra Attractions Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 601 @ 100 MHz RAM: 32 MB Hard Disk: 150 MB 4x CD-ROM Graphics: 640x480 @ 16-bit|
November 12, 1999 | Marty Dodge
Caesar III is one of the oddest gaming experiences I have ever had. I cannot remember when a game's demo interested me more than the actual game. I played and finished the demo of the game when it came out, and was rather keen on playing the full version. The full version was, however, a bit of a disappointment. That's not to say that Caesar III is a bad game-far from it-it just seems to be missing that special something that makes it an awesome piece of entertainment software.
As you can imagine from the name and the two previous versions of the game, Caesar III is the third installment, which puts you in the place of a governor of a city in the Roman Empire. Your job in the career path of the game is to grow your city to a high enough level so that you might be able to get more prestigious assignments and someday become Caesar yourself. The other option is to use the City Construction Kit and see how well you can cope with building a great city in various parts of the empire, from founding a city called Londonium across the channel from Gaul to establishing a presence at the edge of the empire, as well as attempting to extend Rome's influence farther into the wilds. Some of these assignments involve military action; others do not.
Learning CurveAs to be expected with this sort of sim game, the learning curve is rather steep. An initial annoyance is that the default seems to be set on the hard difficulty level. If you leave it thus, the learning curve is almost vertical, and you will find yourself getting creamed very early on in the tutorial. The box that comes with this game includes a 230-page manual, and yes, you will have to read it. The tutorial does not even begin to explain the ins and outs of this game. The tips sheet is rather paltry as well, preferring to introduce you to your neighbors (townsfolk) rather than giving quick tips on the game; the other side of this card explains what all the symbols on the side board mean.
GraphicsGraphically, the game looks nice although it can be overwhelming at times, with so much going on that it is easy to lose track of things. There are few too many gimmicks for my taste. Clicking on each citizen and building gets an opinion of how you are running the city. It does have a bit of a cartoonish feel, and the characters are too small to really show anything. They hustle about and get on with things seemingly oblivious to what you are doing. Your advisors can be found via keyboard shortcuts, overhead menu, or via the sideboard, I found these less than helpful, as they did not do much for the game. The interface is a bit touchy at times, allowing you to accidentally take out your building when attempting to clear land. It can be a bit frustrating when attempting to go across a big map to find some trouble spot, clicking on the small map on the right side is rather imprecise. This can be frustrating as there are a lot of things to keep track of, and you are continually rushing back and forth across the map to organize things.