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Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Media: CD/0
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Way back when, when Age of Empires came out, it had great graphics and revolutionary animations. Well, Age of Empires II took on that same proven engine and improved on it; the end result - great graphics and wonderful animations. The Conquerors Expansion for Age of Empires II is no exception to the rule. The new units, buildings, and scenery all look great and have nice, smooth animations. Still, to this day, I think the thing that makes the Age of Empires series the best of the real time strategy genre is the great unit animations (followed very closely by Total Annihilation for the same reason). All of the new additions to the game (of course, any addition would be new) have great detail, smooth, meaningful animation, and great sound. Yes, even the sound effects and voice-overs are good. As a matter of fact, it's hard to find anything wrong with this game, graphics wise.


So, what does the Conquerors Expansion bring to the table. Well, the expansion adds new civilizations, campaigns, units, technologies, maps, and improvements. All of this is added, while still maintaining the integrity and greatness of Age of Empires.

The new civilizations include the Aztecs, the Huns, the Koreans, the Mayans, and the Spanish. Of course, each new civilization has its own unique attributes, buildings, and technologies, as well as unique units. I could go through and give you each new attribute, building, and technology, but then I would put Microsoft's technical writers out of business. Besides, it's more fun to find out mid-game anyway.

There are four new campaigns added to the game. These campaigns focus on historical figures such as Attila the Hun, El Cid, and Montezuma. Obviously, the new campaigns correspond to the new civilizations.

The new units are great. They include cavalry, infantry, sea units, and even missile attack units (as opposed to melee attack units). These units are not specific to the new races. They apply to all 17!

A few of the new technologies available are caravans, herbal medicine, heresy, and theocracy. Also, each civilization can research new things from the orient and plains such as Chinese Rocketry, Japanese Kataparuto, British Yeomen, and Persian Mahouts.

There are also many game improvements. Do you hate it when your farm is exhausted and you have to find an idle villager to replant it? Well, now it automatically replants. Also, you know how ground units can be put into formations? Well, now the naval units can as well. Whenever you build a mine, mill, or lumberyard, that villager will automatically harvest the stone or gold, food, or wood respectively. And for you multiplayer freaks, there are new maps and game types. They even added commands for computer allies. This expansion really is complete.


Even with all of the additions and improvements, the game is still easy to play, while being hard to master. As with any game, it's only as difficult as your opponent. As far as computer opponents go, the AI is still pretty bad. Well, I can't say that it's bad, but it's not good. The campaigns are a bit too easy.

Game Mechanics:

he Conquerors Expansion for Age of Empires II really does nothing to change or improve the mechanics of the game. Well, that's okay because they are already great. The game runs great and is simple to control with the point-and-click interface.

If you own Age of Empires II: Age of Kings then you would be stupid not to get The Conquerors Expansion. If you don't own it, what the hell are you waiting for?

-Storm, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jeremy Kelso

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, Pentium 166, 32 MB RAM (64 for 2000 or NT), 200 MB Hard Drive space, 2MB SVGA card, 4x CD-ROM, Mouse, Keyboard, 28.8Kbps modem for internet play.

Test System:

P2 333, Windows ME, 128MB RAM, Diamond Viper V770 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 5x24 DVD-ROM, Monster Sound MX400/4 point sound

Windows Airport 2000 Windows Asheron's Call

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated