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American Conquest

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: CDV
Developer: GSC Game World
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 7
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

American Conquest sports beautiful isometric 3D graphics with lush backdrops that include trees, rock formations, brush, grass, sand, water, and more. Buildings and units are extremely detailed, with excellent animation, and action that moves at a brisk pace even with hundreds of units on-screen at the same time.

There are some hiccups, as the animation occasionally slows down briefly, but it's unclear what causes this, and regardless, the visuals are still outstanding. Sound is similarly excellent, with wonderful sound effects, and beautiful, stirring music.


American Conquest offers a slew of game play options, from campaigns covering the period from 1492 to 1818, random maps, and individual missions for single players, to death match and historical battles for multiple players. It also includes an editor that allows one to create maps for both single and multi-player games.

The single-player campaigns feature varied missions with focused goals, and although they can often be frenzied, you can always pause the action and still issue orders. It can sometimes be difficult to determine what those orders are, but the game offers a host of easy to use methods to select units, as well as a variety of commands for units to carry out.

Most missions start with a number of peasants and military units, and your first order of business is to establish buildings that allow you to create more peasants, as well as mines and other necessary buildings and units. Peasants work quickly, so you must constantly make decisions on how to allocate them, what resources to look for, as well as how best to meet the stated goals.

Military units can be given orders to patrol, which allows them to take care of the growing camp. As you peel away the fog of war through exploration or other means, opposing forces may decide to attack, so it's important to keep the perimeter well guarded. Diplomacy is also an option, and American Conquest gives you a number of unit types suitable for such endeavors.

American Conquest not only models diplomacy, but also morale, and it also includes a complex and satisfying means of affecting it. Formations, as well as officers, positioning, current battle conditions, and more, can affect each battle, and when combined with the well executed sighting rules, weapons' modeling, and resource allocation scheme, it all makes for a believable and interesting simulation of war during this period.

In addition, not only the Spanish are represented, but also Americans, the British, Indian tribes from North and South America, as well as many other peoples from the included time periods. Weapons, battle techniques, buildings, and clothing all reflect the period and people, which adds great detail to what is most assuredly an outstanding strategy game.


Each mission can have its difficulty level set independently, which can help ease the burden substantially. The single-player campaigns get progressively more difficult, so this little cheat can be used as a way to keep the challenge from growing too much.

Game Mechanics:

The actual game play can be quite challenging in and of itself, since there can be hundreds of units to manage, as well as numerous buildings. Formations are allowed, but the requirements to create them are not simple, and there are other aspects of the game that are also complex and hard to follow.

The game is saved automatically after each mission, which means picking up either midway (using a manual save or load) or at the beginning, is a simple affair. The user interface is laid out simply, and once mastered, is easy to use. The game starts out with a tutorial of sorts, and this helps a great deal in getting up and running with American Conquest. The manual, while a decent reference, is far from complete, but the in-game context sensitive help is quite good.

American Conquest is more than a real-time strategy game, as it has elements of war games, RPGs, and well as the usual strategy trappings. It has outstanding graphics and sound, a solid control method, numerous well thought out features, and a vast number of campaigns and missions. It includes an editor, which means one can find themselves playing this game for years to come, as well as multiplayer support. In a word, it is a fantastic game, and one worth checking out for anyone who loves strategy or war games.

-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 450Mhz Pentium II, 64MB RAM, DirectX 8.1 Compliant Video Card, DirectSound Compatible, 12x DVD-ROM.

Test System:

Windows XP Home, 2 GHz Pentium 4, 256MB RAM, GeForce 4 Ti4200 w/64MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live! Value, 32x DVD-ROM.

Windows 007 Nightfire Windows Arx Fatalis

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated