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Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: Any CPU @ 450 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Graphics: 16 MB VRAM

Age of Mythology
November 7, 2003 | Greg Turner

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Another change players will notice is the absence of stone mining. It's been replaced with a new resource called favor. Favor is essentially a rank that represents how tight you are with your chosen god. Low favor means you haven't been doing enough to please your god and you should get on it. Favor can be used to buy mythical creatures and to upgrade armor and weapons. Also of note is that each culture garners favor in different ways. The Greeks increase favor by building temples and worshiping at them. The more people you have worshiping, the more quickly your favor will increase. The Egyptians, on the other hand, gain favor by building monuments. The more monuments, the more favor. Finally, the Norse build favor by destroying and killing. Essentially, any violent act you commit as the Norse increases your favor, from decimating a building to simply hacking apart a deer. Again, this can seem a little daunting at first, but the wanton carnage you get to engage in as the Norse can be great fun. After all, you're only doing it to please your gods, right?

The mythical creatures you get for Favor bring a nice wrinkle to the game. The mythical units include heroes and creatures, and range from Odysseus and Egyptian Pharos to Medusa, Scarabs, and Frost Giants. Each mythical unit has its own strengths and weaknesses. Balancing these strengths and weaknesses is a key to successfully completing the game. Another nice piece of game play that Age of Mythology brings to the table is that each unit is successful against other specific units. As a general rule, heroes excel against mythical units (after all, Perseus did kill Medusa, right?), mythical units can lay waste to standard units, and standard units have the numbers necessary to topple a hero. While it may seem complicated at first glance, the system creates a wonderful sense of balance throughout the game, and adds an extra dimension to resource and unit management. Gone are the days when you could simply build the biggest and trust sheer numbers to vanquish your enemies.

In Age of Mythology, single player mode, you begin as Arkantos, a hero from the legendary land of Atlantis. You begin with a pretty simple mission. Find and kill a Cyclops. However, as the game progresses through 32 separate missions, you begin to realize that there's a lot more going on than that. Through these 32 missions, you'll be introduced to other two cultures and get an excellent mix of terrain and combat styles. Completing the single-player story mode will you put in an excellent position to be competitive in randomly generated scenarios and online play. In addition to the 32 events in single-player mode, there are three short levels in a tutorial that provide a nice basis of game play fundamentals.

Once you've finished up with the single-player mode, you can branch off into random play, online play, or create your own maps and scenarios. The random map generator does just what it sounds like, creating a random map and pitting you against the computer (or up to 11 computer-controlled opponents). To create your own maps and scenarios, you can turn to the included map editor, which enables you to create maps to your own specifications. You can paint in terrain and topography, set up mines and other resource locations, and essentially design a map to your particular specifications.

Age of Mythology enables you to connect to other players over the Internet via GameRanger or through a LAN. Multiplayer mode offers a number of different game styles and should provide you with enough entertainment to keep you busy for a long, long time. Unless, of course, you get matched up against some RTS uber player, in which case you've got about 12 minutes to cry for mommy before you're balled up and sent home, Zeus lighting bolts extinguished, or mummies unraveled.

Multiplayer mode gives you a number of different game styles. Lightning produces fast and furious game play with a speeded time signature. Deathmatch enables you to get right into the heavy fighting by starting each player off with increased resources in a later age. Conquest mode is about wiping the map clean of your enemy's units. And Supremacy mode is set to enable you to achieve victory by completing one of a number of tasks.


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