|Publisher: MacSoft Genre: Strategy & War
|Min OS X: Any Version CPU: Any CPU @ 450 MHz RAM: 256 MB Graphics: 16 MB VRAM
GraphicsAt first glance, Age of Mythology doesn't look too different from any of the other titles in the series. Or any RTS with sprite animations and an isometric viewpoint. The remarkable thing is when you come to realize the game is made up of fully rendered 3D elements. And rendered so well that the in-game engine is used for the cut scenes that come before (and sometimes after) each level. Also, you can spin and zoom in on each game board, which is an excellent addition as it enables you get a better grasp of where all your units are at a given time. Because of this reason, I'd recommend playing with a multi-button, scrolling mouse.
Don't think for a second, either that the 3D graphics end up looking blocky or washed out. On the contrary, Age of Mythology is beautiful to behold. From nicely detailed terrain to…how about washed lapping idly on the seashore? How about schools of fish darting this way and that beneath the water? How about meteors falling from the sky in such detail that you're tempted to put on some kind of helmet? I can't stress enough how impressed I was with the look of this game. There were times I was tempted to set up computer-against-computer battles and just watch the pretty show.
PerformanceOf course, all this graphics wizardry comes at a price. I'm afraid to say to all those people hanging on to a G3 machine (like myself), it might be time to move on. Sell off the old machine to someone who wants to surf the 'Net and do some word processing at get yourself at least a G4. When I tried to start the game on my G3 iBook, I got a nice message that told me "Age of Mythology does not recognize unknown processor." The game starts and plays beautifully on a 1 GHz G4 eMac with 256 Megs of RAM and only slows when there is lots of stuff happening on screen. And even these slow-downs weren't enough to detract from the experience.
SoundSound is not the game's strong point. While the sounds are appropriate and well-crafted, they're just enough different sounds throughout the game. Many units get just a few sound clips, and the repetition becomes noticeable as the game progresses. The voice acting, too, could use some improvement, but overall it was perfectly acceptable.
Ambient sounds and the game's music fair much better. If you listen closely, you can hear odd, haunting sounds coming from the Norse woods, and the music is appropriate for whatever culture you happen to be playing at the time.
ValueSo, with the arrival of Age of Mythology, do Mac gamers finally have an RTS to match up with the latest PC offerings? The answer is a resounding "yes." Age of Mythology offers players a wonderful blend of the standard RTS play we've associated with the Age of… series with the addition of new tactical and strategic elements brought about by the inclusion of mythical units and the new resource, Favor. Even with these new elements, the overall game play remains well-balanced between players and the new elements broaden the game's appeal far beyond the historically accurate titles that came before it in the series.
Also, with a long, engaging single-player mode and a nearly endless variety of ways to play online or in the game's random map mode, Age of Mythology offers players limitless replayability. Truly, this is a game title for the Mac that should be placed high in the pantheon of RTS games, right there in between Zeus and Apollo.