Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update

Welcome back again.  As you can see, we are starting to populate the site with new content.  There are few new writers and contributors waiting in the wings with new content.  If you are interested

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update, GaMExpo, Nerdvana Con, Life Updates

What to Watch: You Tube

Top 5 YouTube video’s of the past week (with one blast from the past). Each week, on Tuesday, I am going to post 5 videos I think are worth watching on YouTube.  I’d love to hear what you

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What to Watch: You Tube

Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Bac

Welcome back to Killer Betties! It’s been over three years since I’ve made a post, but I am back. Before I get to what I’ve been doing for three years, I want to talk first about The

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Back, TWD, The Bar, and Other Random Thoughts

Football Manager 2017 Review

Football Manager 2017 is a football management simulation video game for the PC developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega. Gameplay: In terms of gameplay, it is really fun. You can create

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Football Manager 2017 Review

Volunteers Wanted

Killer Betties is going through some growing pains and we need more bodies (and pens) to keep up with it. If you have any interest in writing video game reviews, previews, interviews or editorials, p

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Volunteers Wanted


by on September 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm
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Tradewinds Legends

by on September 9, 2007 at 10:39 pm
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Tradewinds 2

by on September 9, 2007 at 9:46 pm
in Uncategorized


by on September 9, 2007 at 8:41 pm
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‘Democracy’ Review (PC)

by on April 19, 2007 at 1:59 pm

Budget ReportHave you ever seen some story on the news or read something about the President and thought to yourself, “Hey, I could do a better job than he is doing”? Yeah, I’ve been there too, but the truth is when push comes to shove, we both suck at running the country. It turns out that when nobody in your country can agree on anything 100%, you’re never going to be perfect at your job – only doable.

Democracy at its core is perhaps more a learning tool and political statement than an actual game. In it, you’ll pick one of several different democratic countries (I picked America for natural reasons my first time through) and suddenly you are thrust into the role of leader as you have just been elected to presidency. Once you have been established as the leader, you now must work to improve things and to make enough people happy so that when election time comes around again, you’ll get another term and not fall to the wayside to go down as one of the worst leaders of all time.

Without anything tweaked, you get maybe two, three moves per turn. The core of the game is a lot of graphs, numbers, figures, and political and legal mumbo jumbo you might not be familiar with if you don’t read the local paper or watch CNN every other day. The main page of Democracy contains almost all the information you’d need. At the top you’ve got various colored sliders that show current going-ons that affect everyone in your country, including topics like Lifespan, Literacy, Air Pollution, etc. In the middle of the screen you have similar colored sliders, which apply to individual groups of people, such as the Religious, Self Employed, Capitalists, Smokers, Farmers, Parents, and other such special interest groups. Positioned around the middle graph are various policies you can tweak in hopes of either improving your standing among a group or by increasing something like the state’s gross product.

Of course, in a perfect world, you’d want all of these sliders in the green, basically meaning you are the best leader of all time, and if there would ever be a chance of world peace, you’d probably have the goods to be the one who makes it happen. Of course, if you know anything about politics or human beings in general, you’ll know that not everyone likes everything, and so even though a group might like the change you are implementing, another two might hate you for it.

It’s easy to make changes in the game, because all you need to do is click on one of the bubble icons that appear on the page, and then once inside slide your slider to the desired position, being mindful of the negatives, positives, and cost of the procedure change you want to make. Finding which bubble policy will help what or finding what policy goes to what statistics is easily found by either placing your mouse over one of the special interest groups in the middle (arrows will go running out to the things they are interested in) or by putting your arrow on the policy itself (arrows run to what that policy could change). The sliders inside take a little getting used to figure out what they do, but most of the time green means good and red means bad, left increase bad and right increase good.

You’ll also get information bubbles that pop up on your screen, which show problems with your country you should make plans to address. By clicking on where the information bubble appears, it will tell you new policies you might want to introduce or point to current ones you have, so you can make the necessary changes there to hopefully get rid of this current problem.

As you play the game, you’ll also have totally random moments pop up, which will require your consideration, though not all are necessarily bad. For example, while playing your term, you could have a trade scandal or have a spy of yours get caught, and this will immediately put a negative factor on several of your groups, perhaps the Liberals more than anyone else. However, good things also happen, such as a celebrity giving you their endorsement or a miracle hand being attached, which will be attributed to you and your health conscious government. You’ll also have things that require a direct decision on your part, such as choosing a representative to lead your country at the UN, allowing subliminal advertising or not, and other such plans; these plans and your decision, of course, will ultimately lead to people either being against you or supporting you.

Read The Rest Of The Review On Page 2

I’ll admit I hated this game at first – so many sliders were unreadable to me because they spoke a strange political jargon I’d never concerned myself with, and I couldn’t do anything that seemed to make people happy. I mean, you’d think legalized prostitution would make someone happy. Ultimately I ended up quitting each game on the American side out of frustration, except for one I went run to term, and then I promptly got my butt handed to me in the race, where maybe something like only 50,000 people voted for me. So with that in mind I decided to try the British to see if I’d have an easier time there.

Once I became the Prime Minister of Britain, I suddenly found things making more sense initially than they had with the Americans. I started to carefully look at the problems my country were having and genuinely helping them out. And then I started focusing on certain special groups at a time, working to make them as happy as possible, thinking that if I improved most and shooed away the ones I didn’t care about, perhaps I’d have enough votes to get another election the next time around. And guess what – it worked! Sure, the government was bleeding money left and right, because money is required to make these people happy in many cases, but I was pretty popular and was going to have enough votes to win out next time around.

Corporation TaxThen a spy was found and to show my loyalty to the people, I got rid of all my country’s spies, and set in motion a change that would ultimately lead to tragedy. You see, I decided not to focus any intention on the Patriots, because imports and such were doing good for our country – I didn’t care what these radicals thought. And then I pissed off the Religious by allowing gambling to help improve GP and I’m sure some other policy changes too, because soon, much like the Patriots, the Religious were reading as nothing on my scale. But hey, I was popular, and most of the government liked me. But then reports came in that both Patriot and Religious extremists (aka nut jobs, insane-os, and crazies) weren’t happy with me, and were threatening assassinations. Great, so not only am I trying to run a country, but now I’ve got to watch my side. And then it happened – gunshots echo through my speakers as a giant skull appears on the screen. I can’t remember who it was – the Patriots or Religious – but one of them followed through with their threats and shot me. I didn’t die, thankfully, but I was so injured I wouldn’t be able to lead the country anymore. And to think, maybe those spies would’ve helped find the threat and protect me better.

It was here, after my assassination attempt, that I found myself really pissed off…and yet oddly determined to start a new game and try again, in hopes that they wouldn’t shoot me this time around. And then I started to appreciate the game just a bit more and realized I was having some fun with Democracy.

Graphically, the game isn’t anything much at all. You’ve got basically nothing but static screens with writing on them and small, black and white detailed policy bubble images. If you are looking for graphical superiority, Democracy is not your game. The sound work is almost as forgettable, cause there isn’t really anything but one too rambunctious song playing over and over in a loop, plus the occasional groan, cheer, or sound like a gunshot going off, but mostly it is that music which wears out its welcome a little too soon.

In the end, I have a hard time calling Democracy a straight up game, as it feels more to me like an education tool or political statement (not in favor of anyone really, just that we should be more involved and aware with our country). In that regard, the game does exceptionally well. As a game, however, I can’t rate it all too high. Democracy is very much a niche market, as you really have to be into low frill thrills associated with political/sim games to truly get something from it in regards to fun. With that said though, I did have fun with trying to run my British government, so it is very much a coin toss in regards to what you’ll think. But any way it goes, give it a try, and perhaps you’ll soon find yourself with thoughts of leading a country…or you’ll get shot. Stupid extremists!

Rating: 3star
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Play The Demo or Buy The Game

‘Kudos’ Review (PC)

by on April 16, 2007 at 12:54 pm

TransportationGreat, as if I wasn’t already sitting here at home, sitting in front of a computer, already feeling enough like a social pariah, now I can play a game in which I fail miserably and end up being alone and a miserable cashier. Woohoo! In all seriousness though…okay, perhaps that was all seriousness. Anyways, now you can try your hand at living life again, while you let your real life pass you by.

Kudos plays like a mixture of The Sims mixed with that of the Tamagotchi games, only you don’t have to monitor such miniscule and ultimately needless roles, like going to the bathroom. Instead, the game is setup so that everyday you naturally go to work, get some money, and then come home. If it is during the weekday, you get to choose one extra task to perform, and these all have various negatives and positives to the overall health of your character. You can choose to go out and do something by yourself, like jog, take a bath, watch TV, clean your house, or literally stare at the walls. Jogging is of course good for you, but will make you extremely tired. Taking a bath will get you clean so you don’t get sick and rest you from your stress, but it will make you feel really lonely. Watching television can improve certain aspects, but you’ll get fat from sitting around the house.

When you get some money saved up, you can go shopping, to buy you things like books to read, instruments to play, and many other different items that lead to paths later on. You can also buy pets who will help keep your loneliness at bay, though they dirty up your house quicker, and you must have the money to buy their food or else their skinny as a rail fur covered butts will leave you and head off to find another home.

To dull that feeling of isolation and feeling like a little fish in a big pond, you can also go out with one of your friends. Based on your monetary funds, you can go to some place like the theater, go golfing, bowling, beer drinking, and several other different scenarios. If your friend had a good time, your relationship and bond will make you two closer. However, should you choose an entertainment option they don’t like, you’ll find themselves growing bored of you and not wanting to be your friends (I took one girl to a gore movie one time and she no longer wanted to be my friend). You’ll also get the occasional call from one of your friends, who might want you to hang with just them, or either some of your friends. If you choose to reject their offer (either because you don’t have the money or you have other plans) your relationship will become strained too and they won’t like you as much. When you go out with a friend who asked you out, if others are along for the ride, you can even find yourself making new friends and contacts to hangout with. You’ll also run into new contacts through things like going to work.

In the game you start off as a lowly nothing, working some menial job that any kid in high school could get. Now, if you wanted to, you could probably live your whole life in the game as that; chances are though you’ll want to improve yourself and make you a somebody, which means you’ll have to go to school. School has several different professions you can practice and learn at, such as legal careers, medical careers, journalism, acting, and so on. To improve these studies though, you have to go to school on certain nights, and wouldn’t you know it but someone usually wants to hang with you that night – oh, decision decisions. You can look for a new job whenever you want, though you must meet certain requirements to even be able to apply for that position. For example, there is a nursing job you can have with 80% Basic Medicine or you can get a better job with 100% medicine. I wanted to be a doctor, so I improved my education while I ignored my friends (losing some in the process) and then though I applied, they rejected me because they frankly told me I was a loser. I mean, I thought doctors didn’t have social lives because of their job, and now they don’t want to hire me cause I already got rid of those distractions?

So the game of Kudos is balancing all of those different social goals, while also maintaining your personal goals. You have to manage several of your different personal goals, like making sure your character never gets too lonely, is healthy, clean, and other various goals that in the end equals a better, healthier you on both the physical and emotional state, because what good is going out to jog every day when inside you are wanting to cry and you are taking such so little care of yourself that you always feel miserable, have become a recluse, and ran all your friends away?

Social InviteBoth graphically and in regards to audio, Kudos isn’t really much. The graphics usually consist of you looking at the same screen over and over again, which has your poorly rendered upi standing on a screen, looking different in regards to how they are holding themselves to reflect the mental state and what they are feeling. Outside of this main info page, there isn’t really anything else but a few faces to represent your friends and a few images to represent things you can buy at the store. One sort of nice graphical touch is that this main screen will get smudged over and have virtual flies buzzing around and crawling on your monitor to reflect the cleanliness of your living arrangement so that you know when you really need to cleanup. On the audio side of things, you’ve got some easy going techno music, the occasional rumble of thunder or rain to show you weather during the workday progression, but that is all.

Kudos might appeal to some people, but it seems that market would be very small. There just isn’t enough content (or interesting content in other words) to make it very fun or engaging for very long. The real die-hard and sim completists might enjoy picking it up, but then again their time might be better served by focusing on a more competent and fun life sim game like The Sims.

Rating: 2star
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Download Demo or Buy The Game

‘Shady O’Grady’s Rising Star’ Review (PC)

by on March 29, 2007 at 2:23 pm

ShoppingI think everyone wants to be a rock and roll star at one point in our lives. There is something about the glitz, the glamour, and the pools of money that just screams out, “Yes, I must have that lifestyle!” However, dreams are quickly shattered when we learn we are tone deaf and can’t sing a lick, or either we purchase our first guitar, and then find we don’t know the first thing about playing guitar. For those wannabe rockers who will never be, we present to you Shady O’Grady’s Rising Star. You can’t make it as a rock star in real life, but can you at least do so in a game?

Gameplay of Shady O’Grady’s Rising Star (simply Rising Star from here on out) plays out like a partial RPG/partial strategy and a partial sim/tycoon game. Of course, you won’t be amassing an army of trolls to do battle, but there are some strategy-esque elements in some ways.

For starters, you’ll start by creating your character, determining where in the United States you want to start out rocking, determining how you want them to look, what type of music you want to play, naming the band, what position in the band they would be (things like lead singer, guitarist, drummer, bass, etc.) and then handing out statistics; but unlike your traditional RPG where you assign points to things like health or magic, in Rising Star you’ve got Playing, Songwriting, Stage Presence, Production, Repair, and Business.

TheaterThe next thing you’ll want to do is head to the local music store, get you some equipment, and find some bandmates to join you on your rocking journey. Now, not everyone you see will want to be in your band, so you might have to take what you can at the time and work around it. For example, I couldn’t get a bassist, so I had a lead vocalist, a guitarist, a drummer, and like a sax player and that was what I decided to work with. However, you will want to look at the possible band members and see how they react with yourself and the rest of the band you already got, as team chemistry is an import thing to any band.

After you get your band together, you’ll want to get writing songs, or else what will you have to play. To write a song, you’ll name it, give the intensity you’d perform it live, and then pick what members of the band write the song; band members with green lines between them work well together, yellow is okay, and red is bad. By picking members who work well together to write the song (and have a strong Songwriting skill) you’ll partake in a minigame where you must match instruments by flipping over cards; a better team will have less cards to have to flip over. Depending on your skill at the game, you’ll get a number assigned to the song. You’ll then want to set time aside to practice the songs, but of course practicing wears down your instruments, so you’ll have to repair them or buy new ones.

InventoryMoney you can get by performing odd jobs, such as running around in your van to deliver magazines to dropping off something that was delivered at the wrong place. You won’t get much, but it will help. You’ll then use that money to do things like buy shirts to promote yourself, go to specific venues to form relationships with the place and the bands playing there, and you’ll use the money to record your songs onto a disc and actually sell it or hand it out as promotional material. Sadly, money will also have to be used for the unforeseen stuff, like a drunk band member getting arrested and having to bail them out; or, you know, teach them a lesson and leave their butt in there and kick them out of the band.

You’ll then take all your practiced songs and popularity in the city to start doing battle of the band competitions for more money and fame. You’ll also start performing at clubs for money. However, to get the big bucks, you need to hire an agent, have them get you a record deal, start touring, and finally hit it big.

The game is amazingly complex, seemingly nailing all that I associate with a struggling band trying to make it big by starting out as nothing. The problem comes in that sometimes there is so much to do, and money is very hard to come by; your game is basically finished when you are broke. For instance, I lost all my money on paying for one of my band member’s hospital bill, and would’ve been done and finished had another one not got a bit of loving (ie money) from his parents who at least supported him in his endeavor. The game also has some drawbacks in that there are sometimes too many menus or things aren’t placed in front of you perfectly so you can click exactly what you need without having to fiddle with other icons and buttons to see what you are looking for. Plus, you have to manually drive around the cities and game world to find what you are looking for, which is sometimes easier said than done, because the band van controls horribly and the act of having to find places and drive there is time consuming and plain boring.

You ever hear the phrase about how someone or something got beat with an ugly stick? Well, Rising Star didn’t get beat with a stick, someone picked up the whole dang tree and swung it at this game. Really, there isn’t a single positive I can say about the graphical style of the game. Your avatars are way too cylinder and blocky, featuring something that doesn’t even really classify as a face. The static menus are drab and boring. The game world is too square and vacant, with you being the only van in the whole game driving around. Destroying hotel rooms isn’t terribly interactive or fun or anything at all.

A game about music should at least contain some good sound work and great music…right? Well, think again. There isn’t really any sound work beyond a guitar wa-wa noise when you level up your character, because most of the time is spent filling the game with one un-licensed music track by nobody after nobody. Given, all the bands and singers are real, unsigned bands, but in a lot of the cases I can see why that is. They make Sanjaya on American Idol sound good.

Is there a market for this game? Sure, there is a market probably for any game out there. However, the game just isn’t that fun, and what is there is bogged down by terrible graphics, terrible sound, and an overall terrible presentation. If you like the more mainstream and popular sim games like a Sim City or Zoo Tycoon, then stay away from this game. Now, if you like the lesser known games or smaller tycoons like a Lemonade Stand Tycoon, then maybe, just maybe Shady O’Grady’s Rising Star will be for you. Maybe.

Rating: 2star
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‘Coffee Tycoon’ Review (PC)

by on December 19, 2006 at 12:54 pm

End DayThere are many types of sim games these days as well as many types of tycoon games. These games provide endless hours of relaxation and entertainment for people all over the world as they look for games that are not overly complicated and that can be played in a relaxed fashion that won’t tax your time or mind while playing. Coffee Tycoon is a new entry in this genre of gaming which is becoming quite popular with people these days.

Coffee Tycoon is simply a simulation of owning a coffee shop chain of businesses. Players start off with one shop and attempt to expand the business to add more shops as well as greater service and more types of items for sale. The objective of the game is to reach a certain amount of cash value for your coffee empire and thus win the game.

The first thing a player will do is select a name for your business. While not overly important it will serve to personalize the game and make it a little more interesting as you move along. Once you have given the business its new name the next order of business is to select a store style. Stores are shown in two-dimensional interior view and the game includes several different choices to make.

Next you select where your business is located, and you can be in either New York, Miami, Chicago, L.A. or Seattle. Where you choose to set up with have some affect on play as some cities want coffee and others items for sale more then others. You will also see some of the city in the background of your store and there are some weather effects as well.

Once you are set up you have to select the percentages of your work force in the three main areas. These are the actual workers, the store managers and the advertising execs who help the company expand at other times. A default value is given for this and usually works well enough but you can tinker with the values if you so choose, but you really don’t have to change them at all if you don’t want too.

Now that you are all set up the game begins. Each day you will see text messages telling you different things about how much you earn, how much you lose, new stores added or lost and other game related information. There is quite a bit of trivia about coffee related things here as well as good and bad events that happen. Players have no control over what appears here at all.

CoffeeAt the end of each day you count up how much money you made or lost and if you have enough you can buy improvements. The improvements include new items for your menus, additional perks for employees, new stores and even advertising that will increase revenue. The way money is made and lost it takes some time to make enough to get things, but it’s slow and steady progress.

As your business grows you will see new customers appear in the store and they will spend more money. The game is quite simple and it repeats on this pattern throughout. It’s a nice diversion for a day or a slow night, and there is some nice trivia in it, and it’s not a bad little game, but don’t expect too much; it’s more a game for passing the time of day then anything else.

Rating: 2star
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‘Air Command 3.0’ Review (PC)

by on November 30, 2006 at 2:37 pm

RadarThis past May was my first trip to E3, and it was also the first time I’d flown. I don’t have a fear of flying, and never got worried until we hit some crazy turbulence, but whenever that happened I hoped that the pilot would soon get everything under control, because I thought my life was in their hands. While that is true, I never knew how much the air traffic controller also played in that life saving capacity, but I do now, and I’m glad it’s them rather than me.

In Air Command 3.0, you take on the role of an air traffic controller as you’re just sitting down for a long day of work at the console. If you’ve seen any film that has anything to do with airplanes or airplane related disasters, you’ve probably seen the air traffic controller console – the round, circular screen where the doplar radar like line circles clockwise, showing the movement of the objects on your screen. In the case of the air traffic controller, the objects in question are planes that you are directly in charge of. The pilots are practically flying blind, and they are totally at your discretion.

The full game takes place at the air traffic controller console, looking at the screen and controlling the action that is happening. You have primarily three jobs to attend to during your shift: 1) Give the okay for planes to take off, 2) Give the okay for planes to land, and 3) Help planes enter and leave your airspace. Out of those three goals, only two are easily accomplished, while the third gives some problems and basically make the game less than a fun time.

It’s easy to give a plane takeoff, since all you need to do is make sure no other planes are landing at that airport at the same time, and then execute the maneuver and let them takeoff. It’s also easy to let the planes wander into and out of your airspace, as all you need to do is find out what other airport they are wanting you to hand them off to, and then put them at a direct course for that airport and raise them up to an altitude of 10,000 feet. And as with the takeoff procedures, all you have to do is make sure no planes run into each other while heading to their destination of choice.

Now we get to the tricky part of the game – landing. Given, something would have to be difficult beyond the normal, but landing is beyond difficult. Unlike the other maneuvers where you just have to click to their destination and assign the right altitude, planes landing must go to 1,000 feet and be approaching from the right direction, meaning from the triangular cone coming from the airport. The problem is there is no sure fire way to pinpoint the planes so they head directly into the cone, so often times they passed right by it, not only making me lose points, but forcing me to re-position them for a second go around while I’ve got six other planes on the board wanting me to help them as well. If the entry to the airport were strictly up and down or left and right directions, things would probably be easier, but whenever they are in a 45° angle, it is almost impossible I found out. I eventually got to the point where if they were heading into one of those perfect 90° angle airports, I just said too bad and let them miss and leave my airspace, essentially dooming them and leaving them to be someone else’s problem.

Beyond the goals, the initial controls are pretty easy, as you can control almost everything with a left mouse click. By left clicking on a plane, you can make the plane a direct, chance the course of the plane, change altitude, and change the speed. The Slow speed is for when you are trying to keep planes apart, Normal is when everything is good, and Fast is when you want to try and get someone out of your way as quickly as possible. You can change the speed of every plane, except the designated “Heavies” that you must work with at their given speed and change the planes around them to fit this single one.

CrashOne thing nice about the game is how you can change the difficulty, such as changing the difficulty (Easy – 12 planes, Normal – 25 planes, Moderate – 35 planes, and Hard – 45 planes), adding or removing the lines that show the path the planes will take, turning off or on the doplar radar to show when rainstorms are heading in, and you can even add in pilot errors, such as them not properly hearing you and taking your directions perfectly. If you can successfully perform well at the game on Hard with all the bells and whistles on, then perhaps it is time for you to consider a change in career and take up being an air traffic controller.

The game is essentially an air traffic controller simulator, and though your main mission is not to let two planes crash (I’ve killed a good deal of people on the job), you’ll be more concerned trying to get the highest score possible by using the higher difficulties, turning on cloud cover, successfully handing off planes and landing them, and then finally not lose points by making countless errors like near misses, late takeoffs, and excessive course change.

The game is stacked though if you want to simulate the life of an air traffic controller, as you have 44 airports to play with at your disposal, and the game is really immersive due to all the cool airplane chatter you’ll hear through the game, such as the random chatter of people wanting to be handed off, or calling you an idiot for not properly landing them; it really makes you feel you are doing this for a living. However, the graphics are very poor and lifeless, mainly because you aren’t looking at your computer screen looking into a new world to run around in like a World of Warcraft for example, but rather you’re looking at your screen looking at another screen.

If you love all things simulation or are currently an air traffic controller and wish you could do your job 24/7, then this is the perfect game for you as it will deliver exactly what you want. Otherwise, unless your idea of fun is looking at a bunch of blips on a screen and ordering them around, then Air Commander 3.0 is not the game for you.

Rating: 2star
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‘Caesar IV’ Review (PC)

by on November 21, 2006 at 12:22 pm

Nice GardenOne of the most enduring legacies of the past has been the glory that was the Roman Empire. Expanding thousands of miles across three continents, this great empire of the past left ruins of its power and glory that are spectacular to view to this day and still inspire the imaginations of people across the globe. These epic examples of city building have always been a most interesting subject to the gaming public and gave rise to one of the most popular series of city builders in gaming – namely the Caesar series. The fine tradition of this franchise is carried on in the latest example, Caesar IV.

Caesar IV is a real time strategy game in which players construct Roman cities using the tolls and terrain available in each scenario in order to meet the victory criteria of a given scenario. The game is arranged using the programmed instruction method so players do not have to learn everything the first time they play but instead they learn a bit at a time, meeting the limited goals of the early scenarios and adding a little bit more to each city as they advance through the game.

The first order of business in your new town is you must have common people who will live and work in the city. The way this game works is every building must be connected to a road. If a building is not connected it will not function at all. The building placement controls can be a little tricky and you have to be careful that the building you place is really road connected as sometimes it looks like it is but it really isn’t. If you do mess it up the game will tell you the building isn’t working and why.

The PeopleOne of the best features of this game is that buildings will now tell you exactly what they need to improve and evolve and what you need to do to make that happen. Unlike the early versions of this game when they required a bit of guess work it’s now spelled out completely, greatly easing play and it makes city management a lot less taxing on the players. Simply clicking on a given structure reveals what kinds of food and items it has access to and what is required if you want to see it evolve into something better.

One you have your basic housing you have to start providing for them. What they absolutely must have is water and food. Early on – before you have set up elaborate water facilities – the easiest way to get water is to build a well; these can be constructed without regard to aqueducts and reservoirs, so in out of the way places or some low level areas they may be the only choice to build. Remember you can always remove things and change them around, so feel free to build wells early on.

So now you have homes and a little water, so the people must eat. Food can be had two ways: you either grow it yourself or you trade for it. Trade is learned later in the game so farming is the way to get our early food. Only some of the land on a given city plot is suitable for farming; you can tell as it looks different from the other terrain. Farms themselves must be road connected for workers to reach, but not so with fields. Fields are built near the farms on arable land and you will see your people begin to work the land.

Mud PitOnce you have fields and farms it’s time to consider how to get the food to hungry citizens. First the food must be stored somewhere and the building for that is the granary. This building must be fairly close to the farms or it won’t be used by the locals, who are quite lazy about walking too far for goods and services. The last step in the food chain is to build a food market that must be close to both the granary and the homes of your citizens.

Man does not live by bread alone and neither do your virtual roman citizens. They require more then food to stay happy and as the city’s leader they expect you to provide it. Also if you want a higher class of people to move in to your city you must give them what they want and usually what they want first is pottery and furniture. You will provide for these needs by either importing them or creating the industries for them in the city. Both are simple to do – they require the correct raw materials and industries to be up and running. And they also require the correct markets to sell the finished products.

It’s critical that you have higher classes of citizens, as they are the ones that pay taxes and do more advanced work such as sun the water systems. They require food and items just as the average citizen does, but they demand more out of their governor, such as pretty surroundings and medical facilities. As you play the game it’s very important that you provide not just basic items, but also basic amenities that Romans expect, such as Bath houses, clinics and fountains of flowing fresh water. You will also have to provide a police and fire department in the form of Prefect offices and engineers who look after the welfare of citizens and the conditions of buildings.

Behold The CityFires, plagues and collapsed buildings are only part of the many challenges you will face. As you progress you will have to deal with foreign armies, defenses, worship of the gods, and many other problems. There is a beautiful interface of advisers to help with this which are fully animated and where you can check on all aspects of your cities’ development and progress.

With a clean and easy to use interface, excellent graphics and voice acting, this offering is top notch. You will spend many enjoyable hours designing and building a thriving society in the Roman Empire. The many decisions, such as building trade and meeting requests from the empire, will provide challenges as your city grows and prospers. This is not a game to be missed.

Rating: 4star
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