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The Settlers 3

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Blue Byte
Developer: Blue Byte
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 20
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics are very 'cute,' which adds a lot to the game. The three races involved are the Romans, the Egyptians and the Asians, each having a somewhat 'caricature-ish' look to them. The cuteness reminded me a lot of Lemmings, but Lemmings was more of a puzzle game, having only one solution (generally) for each stage. The Settlers 3 allows you to succeed or fail to varying degrees based on how well you manage your resources. The animations are well done and entertaining, but the sound effects are fantastic. There are environmental sound effects that are ambient and help to set the mood, and then sound effects related to actions such as cutting wood, making weapons, sword fighting, etc. That can only be heard if you are viewing the area of the landscape in which they are being made. This goes hand in hand with the 'fog-of-war' effect to provide a realistically challenging game.

Gameplay:

If you enjoy strategy games, but were looking for something with more depth, The Settlers 3 might grow on you. It's a very fun strategy game, but requires several steps to develop your resources. You need more soldiers? Well, first you'll have to mine some coal and some iron ore, then build an iron smeltery, and get a weapon smith, then make a residence, and assign the new people as soldiers. Of course, you can't build any of that without lumber, so make a couple of sawmills and tell your forester where to plant. The intricacy of the action can be an amazing distraction, like watching ants run around - only more so, since you're directing the action.

Difficulty:

Okay. The Settlers 3 is hard. If you have played lots of strategy games before, you're almost guaranteed to have a blast. If you haven't, however, the intricacies of The Settlers 3 may be daunting. The Settlers 3 features a couple of characteristics which made it more difficult than some other strategy games, yet at the same time, a more enjoyable challenge to the experienced strategy gamer. First, The Settlers 3 has a very realistic (and well handled) 'fog-of-war.’ You can only see what you're supposed to know. You can't see enemy territory until you send someone to investigate. Then, if you abandon it, the map will darken, leaving behind a 'snapshot' of what was there when you last had a person there. Not only that, but an enemy spy walking on your territory looks like one of your people until one of your soldiers comes close enough to discover him. (TIP: watch for one of 'your guys' wandering about your territory with nothing in his hands...) Second, it is a real-time strategy game. Take as long as you like to decide what to do next, but just know that your enemy is working against you 'while-you-wait.'

Game Mechanics:

The Settlers 3 works well. If you can get past the challenging steps involved in cultivating your resources, you can enjoy the excellent 'fog-of-war' effect, revel in the appropriate and localized sound, and thrill in the challenge of a world domination strategy game with no 'turn' structure at all...

Installation: The Settlers 3 moves into your PC with little fuss. Just pop in the CD and choose 'Setup' if your autoplay feature is turned off. Then select 'Install.' Settlers 3 installs without a hitch.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:



IBM PC or 100% compatibles, 100 MHz Pentium®, 32 MB RAM, Windows® 95/98 or NT 4.0, 200 MB free hard drive space, 2X CD-ROM drive, 2 MB graphic card (DirectX® 6.0 compatible), Mouse, DirectX® 6.0
 

Test System:



K6-II 400, 64MB RAM, Voodoo 3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex II A3D Sound Card

Sony PSOne Hogs of War Windows The Settlers III: Quest for the Amazons

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated