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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.3    CPU: G5 @ 1800 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 3500 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Civilization IV
August 23, 2006 | Ian Beck

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"Gee, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?"

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!"

There's just something about world domination that captures the imagination. Perhaps it's the imperialist dreams of past generations, still percolating through the cultural psyche. Or maybe it's a manifestation of the ultimate narcissism ("the whole world should revolve around me!"). Then again, perhaps it's simply that ultimate power sounds so dang fun.

Of these three possibilities, Civilization IV, recently released for Mac by Aspyr Media, seems to indicate that it's the fun factor that makes world domination so appealing to everyone from animated white mice to gamers around the world. For those willing to face up to the challenge, Civ IV offers a golden opportunity to make taking over the world your activity choice, each and every night. Just don't count on continuing to have things like actual relationships or sleep.

When you're talking turn-based strategy games, you're probably talking Sid Meier's Civilization. The Civilization series is a big name in the turn-based strategy genre, and the first Civilization game was one of the early turn-based strategy genre-defining games. Like the Civilization games before it, Civ IV puts you in charge of a historic civilization (usually in a not-so-historic auto-generated map) with the goal of creating an empire that dominates the world in one of six ways. Although the computer will manage details to a certain extent, you make virtually all the decisions necessary for your civilization to advance, from what buildings and units to create in any given city to whether or not you should trade with a rival or attack them.

Given that this is an incredibly popular series with games spanning over a decade, Civ IV is going to have many Civ fans who are wondering whether this game lives up to the fun of past games. Unfortunately for you, I cannot say, thanks to the fact that before the game arrived in my mailbox and I eagerly booted it up on my computer, I was a Civilization virgin.

I'm not really quite sure how this sad state of affairs came about. Although I enjoy strategy games, for some reason I just never really tried turn-based games beyond Heroes of Might and Magic III. I was exposed to the likes of WarCraft early on, but sadly never really ventured much further into the strategy genre beyond real time strategy games. As a result, I can't give a run-down of the similarities and differences between Civilization IV and past Civ games or express any sort of opinion on whether it lives up to the reputation of past games.

On the other hand, I can say that Civ IV is an incredibly fun game that drew me in and kept bringing me back time and time again, and for what it's worth a number of reviewers around the web and elsewhere have judged Civ IV well up to standard with past games.


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