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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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For the longest time, Age of Empires and Age of Empires II have been real-time strategy (RTS) mainstays for the Mac platform. Between those two titles and the WarCraft series, Mac gamers' RTS needs were taken care of nicely, thank you very much. But it's been a long time since the last installment of the Age of… series, and all over, Mac gamers were beginning to get restless. You could see it in their hollow, darkened eyes as they looked longingly at PC gamers with their Age of Mythology boxes held smugly under their arms. That time is over. Mac gamers can rejoice, finally, since MacSoft and Westlake Interactive have teamed together to bring Age of Mythology to the Mac. A deep gaming environment; stunning, rich graphics; and solid game play combine for a RTS experience that should keep Mac gamers satisfied for a long time to come.

Game Play
Like most RTS titles, Age of Mythology's game play can be reduced to the broadest of generalizations: gather resources, build up some units, and go kick the spit out of your enemies. But Age of Mythology is more than that. A sum-of-its-parts experience, Age of Mythology introduces a number of new concepts into the Age of… series that make for outstanding, balanced game play.

First, Age of Mythology has done away with the large number of cultures and settled in on three famous for their mythology: the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Norse. Also gone are the included history lessons from the other Age of… titles. Age of Mythology does an excellent job of blending a fantastic story and game setting with accurate mythological creatures. The result is a game that's more dynamic and more fun than other Age of… titles before it.

The cultures also have more differences than in the series' previous titles. In the other Age of… games, building a Korean empire was pretty much the same as building a Turkish empire. The only major differences were cosmetic. Now, however, in addition to different units that perform slightly different tasks, as well as units unique to each culture, Age of Mythology includes fundamental differences in the ways each culture gather and manages resources. The Greeks are fairly generic in they way they gather, store, and use resources, and hold few surprises for players who have experience with the Age of… series. The Egyptians don't use any wood when constructing their buildings. Instead, you should concentrate much more on gathering gold. Finally, the Norse make the biggest departure from standard Age of… game play. Their peasants can only gather resources. They can't build structures. That privilege is reserved for their warriors. Also, the Norse don't use stationary buildings to gather or store resources. Instead, they use ox carts. The ox carts are mobile units that can travel from clump of resource to clump of resource, making the peasants' journey much shorter.

Second, Age of Mythology includes the notion of gods. As you advance through each technological age, you're given a choice between two gods to worship for that age. Pick wisely. Each god and deity comes with its own set of blessings, units, and technologies. And the powers and abilities they bestow on you aren't unimportant. While one god might give your opponent the ability to create a new type of war machine, another god might give you the ability to create something specifically designed to decimate that machine. As you play, a message alerts you to the god your opponent has chosen. Not so great if you've advanced first, but an excellent piece of information if you've been lagging behind. In this way, the game stays incredibly well-balanced and fair. If you've learned enough to choose wisely, that is.


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