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1602 A.D.

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: GT Interactive
Developer: Sunflowers Interactive
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Real-Time Strategy/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

1602 A.D.’s graphics are decidedly old school, but they certainly get the job done. Think SimCity 2000 in the 17th century and you’ve got a good picture of what it looks like. The various buildings are pre-rendered exquisitely, however, as are the various models for the people and the ships in the game. And the interface itself is very nice once you understand how to use it properly.

The music in the game is great, with renditions of lots of songs I’m sure you know in, er, olden style, I suppose. The sound effects are minimal, getting the point across with what’s on the screen (chopping for trees, ruckus for taverns, etc.) without cluttering your speakers. Good stuff.


Man, this game rocks. Have you ever played “Settlers of Catan,” a great German board game? No? Well, go buy it, and then go buy 1602 A.D. You have played Settlers, you say? Then definitely go buy this game. The developer seems to have taken some of the basic concepts of Settlers and transmogrified and amplified them into computer form. You’re still playing on islands, you still get lumber and bricks, but man, there is so much more to do now. At the beginning of most of the scenarios, you have a boat with a liberal amount of tools that you use to search out a suitable island to colonize. Going up to an island and clicking inspect will, after a few seconds, tell you what sorts of crops grow well there and if the island has ore or gold deposits. If it has what you want, you build a warehouse and start the game proper. Various buildings give you various resources, or upgrade certain resources (wool) into others (cloth). Buildings have to be placed in the range of effect of the warehouse or the marketplaces, and ones that use items from certain locations have to be placed in range of those as well. Sound complicated? It is, at first, but once you understand the floating borders around your structures, you’ll learn to place the buildings and houses with feckless abandon.

Cutting down trees and growing crops is well and good, but chances are that any island you build on will not be able to grow everything you need. That’s where trading comes in. You can trade with the other “players” in the game, or with the free traders that appear once you’ve built a few warehouses. You set the price you’re willing to pay, or willing to sell at, and if it’s right, the traders will come and give you what you need. There’s also ship and land combat which isn’t quite as much fun as the bulk of the game, but is certainly passable. Most of the game, however, you’ll find yourself happily micromanaging your various colonies, shipping stuff between them, and in general, babysitting your world like you babysit your Sims. And you’ll enjoy every minute of it.


Some of the scenarios in 1602 A.D. are easy. Some are damned difficult. They’re all rated with stars, and supposedly one star is easy and four is very hard. But sometimes the ratings seem to be a bit off. Ah, well. Each scenario will last you multiple hours or days, and they’re all fun, if sometimes impossible. Those Europeans are into browbeating even more than we are, it seems.

Game Mechanics:

The system that you use to build and control your people’s destinies becomes second nature after playing the game for a few minutes, and you’ll find yourself making your colony grow and thrive in no time. The game runs well on legacy systems, and on anything modern, it positively smokes. This is an absolutely fantastic game, and is a must-buy... if you’re a fan of the genre. If you’re not into building up colonies, micromanagement, and the occasional battle, this definitely isn’t your game. But if you were into the Civilization-style games before this one, 1602 A.D. is a must-buy.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Win95/98, Pentium 100, 16MB RAM, 2MB PCI video card, 4x CD-ROM, 120MB HD Space, Sound card, mouse

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450 running Windows 98, 256MB RAM, 6x/24x DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!, Creative Labs TNT2 Ultra w/ 32MB RAM

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated