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Cossacks Gold Edition

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: CDV
Developer: GSC Game World
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The historical strategy Cossacks: European Wars and later The Art of War add-on are comparable graphically; in the light of other similar games there is definitely nothing arousing here. Just about any fan of the genre will probably find the interface and 2D visuals a bland structure for yet another Age of Empires clone. Fortunately for us on the cutting edge in video hardware, Cossacks Gold does support very high resolutions with ease, which is probably due to the fact that this is a re-release. As such, I feel it fair to be lenient on this - the reality of it is with the release of hits like the rather new Warcraft III, it seems the weary, battered form that is the 2D RTS will probably soon be (in my opinion thankfully) reaching its end.

CDV's work on the sound effects was definitely above average. Specifically, the muskets and cannons have a seventeenth century edge that gives freely to the game's historic realism. Nothing revolutionary, mind...


Some of those immediate effects should not, however, discourage you from giving this strategy game a try. I can say without hesitation that Cossacks Gold deserves the title for most historically believable real-time strategy. The armies can be massive, and have human-like characteristics in their marching and attack formations. The fast-paced gameplay of the European Wars parallels that of Red Alert at times, while keeping that historic feel that many RTS fans have grown fond of.

Other then the aforementioned, it plays like the average strategy game with a few new touches. Namely it has a market where your village workers can go and trade goods for things that you might not yet have ready access to (like trading coal for food). This does have its downsides, mainly if you take over one of your enemies' sources of harvest, he or she isn't immediately affected.

The real downer about this game is the AI, though. Multiplayer action is a blast - the designers surely got the balances pegged - but at times your units simply do not interpret commands in any manner that is commendable. Whether they be marching right through a pack of warriors or - my favorite - paddling through the river to catch the fleeing enemy, and taking so long to set up and fire that they have to pack up and follow again just to catch up...


Strategy vets and newcomers alike will feel at home with the configuration of Cossacks Gold, if not a tad flabbergasted by the mistakes of the AI. Objectives are always ''Defeat the Enemy!'' except for the few startup campaigns. Of course, if you're new to the genre it wouldn't be wise to jump right into the Cossacks: The Art of War add-on without a fundamental understanding of how the first one works...

Game Mechanics:

The requirements are easily met, so the framerate will be good on most machines. The input is what you'd expect; everything can be controlled by using only the mouse, while certain keyboard macros provide quicker and more powerful combat systems.

Cossacks Gold is easily up there with any the past RTS greats. Anyone who missed their chance on the first release should by all means take advantage of this boxed set, and likewise to those who don't have the latest in graphics hardware but would still like a fun addition to their game library.

-Goat, GameVortex Communications
AKA Brandon Arnold

Minimum System Requirements:

Pentium II 233, 32MB RAM, 100 percent DirectSound compatible sound card, DirectX compatible video card, 1MB min. 1024x768 resolution support. 8x CD-ROM or faster. 95/98/2000/NT 4/XP/ME, 500 MB free disk space

Test System:

Intel Pentium3 1.0 GHz proc, Windows XP, 512 MB RAM, 32 MB Geforce2 (Go), ESS Maestro III sound card, 32x CD/DVD-ROM

Windows Celtic Kings: Rage of War Windows Tom & Jerry: Fists of Furry

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated