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Chariots of War

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Paradox Interactive
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Chariots of War keeps it real with graphics similar to those found in Civilization. The entire game is done in 2D, and for the most part it looks very nice. The maps and battlefields are colorful and full of activity. What it lacks, though, is variety. During a battle, it is difficult to determine who is on which side after the fight begins. This complaint may be a moot point, however, because you can't control your army on the field anyway.

The sounds also suffer from the same fate. The music is nice and mellow on the world map, and kicks it up a notch during the battles, but there just isn't that much of it there. The sounds of war during conflict are perhaps the worst part of it all, as it seems like the same effects track is played over and over again during each battle.


In relation to Legion, the first game like this from Paradox Entertainment, Chariots of War can't be called much of a sequel, but more of a prequel. The gameplay has been pumped up a bit, but this time around, the setting isn't in Europe during the height of the Roman Empire. Instead, you take on the Middle East 2000 years before the birth of Christ.

The game is turn based, and instead of each turn being a season, as was the case in Legion, the turns are now incremented in months. This fixes a huge problem from the last game, where everything was built in Spring no matter how long it was in production. This time, everything you build will take a certain number of months to complete.

In a number of different scenarios, you can control one of ten different civilizations of the time, either in a historical setting or to your own liking. You start the game in a predesignated territory controlled by your civilization with the cities already laid out for you. You cannot build more cities, you must only expand the ones you have or capture new ones.

Raising an army is another task crucial to the survival of your people. Chariots of War takes a squad based approach to army building, where you can only have up to 8 units in a single army. They can then travel the countryside in search of rival cities or armies.

This is where the game will either make you a fan or turn your stomach. When two armies fight, you are given the opportunity to set up your units on your side of the field, give them a limited set of orders, and then let them have at it. When the battle begins, you can only watch and pray. You have absolutely no control over your units at this point, but must rely on the skills of your officers. This system may not be the best out there, but it definitely isn't the worst. Somehow, it captures the scale of battle of this nature, which basically boils down to two sides running full steam at each other to make a nice big bloody mess on the field.


Chariots of War isn't the most difficult game out there. For the first hour or so of play, things can get kind of tense. This is where the weak will die and the strong will prosper. If you happen to make it past this point, establish some decent cities and well-formed armies, you'll have no problems finishing the game (unless time is a problem for you, because some of the maps are huge and will take the better part of the weekend to finish).

The AI could have used some brushing up though. Both on and off the battlefield, enemy armies will usually make futile attempts to hinder your advancement. This isn't always the case though, and they will give you a good fight from time to time.

Game Mechanics:

City building is probably the most important aspect of survival in Chariots of War. Without developed cities, your civilization will surely die. To make sure this doesn't happen, you can upgrade your military training structures, create temples to ensure your population stays happy, and build resource-gathering areas to keep the money flowing.

There are a few things that will keep your territories glued together. A market is available for you to buy and sell goods, which comes in handy when you cannot produce a certain commodity. Diplomacy is also available to you, but it only comes in the form of spying on your enemy's territories. There is no peaceful resolution to this game. Everything revolves around crushing your enemies. Technological advances are possible, but you cannot acquire them manually. They seem to just happen during set times, which kind of takes the fun out of it.

All in all, Chariots of War comes out to be a decent little game. It definitely doesn't have what it takes to stand up against the strategy powerhouses out there, but it's kind of a fun tangent to go off on for a little while. Despite all the hate that the battle system has brought it, the game is actually entertaining. It does have some major flaws, but it also has its moments too. Definitely check this out when it's in the bargain bin.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/2K/ME/XP, 300 MHz Processor, 64 MB RAM, 300 MB Hard Drive Space, 16 bit Graphics Card with 4 MB RAM

Test System:

Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce FX 5200 128MB video card, 40 gig Hard Drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet Connection

Windows Beyond Atlantis 2 Windows Civilization III: Conquests

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated