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Empire - War Game of the Century is a very old, turn-based strategy game which came out when graphics in games and mouse support were the next big things. Its defining features, to get people to buy the game, were mouse support, a map editor, and simplicity of play.
In Empire, you are put in command of a random city capable of building military units and have only one goal: to conquer all your rivals. You select from pre-made maps to use or let the game select one randomly.
Sounds simple: "Defeat all your opponents." The challenge is to conquer neutral cities, build units, and explore the map before all your cities are conquered by your enemy. But don't worry; everyone starts out the same: one city and no units. That gives you a fighting chance.
The graphics are simple: a green area is land; blue is water; units and cities each have a symbol to represent them, and are color-coded to each side. You can tell what everything is just by looking at the symbol that represents it, and who it belongs to, based on its color. The graphics are similar to what you would find on a cardboard chip boardgame.
There are a number of units that your cities can produce, each taking a number of turns to complete. Although there are a number of choices, Armies and Transports will be the backbone of your entire military. Armies are the only unit that can capture cities, and Transports are the only unit capable of carrying Armies across water. Everything else gives you some advantage: Fighters for scouting and harassment, Submarines for exploration, and Cruisers, Battleships, and Carriers to keep Transports away from your shores and to protect your own Transports. Ships can take damage and still function, but to repair the damage you must move them into one of your cities.
Sounds are simple PC speaker beeps and blips, and sounds that resemble engine noises; it's nothing that's worth listening to for long periods of time. Aside from synthesized intro music, which is more of a sequence of annoying sounds than anything else, there is no background music. The game starts with the in-game sounds off, which makes you question whether even the creators wanted to listen to the sound for extended periods of time themselves.
You are limited to three players in the game, either against computer AIs or in hotseat play.
There is a map editor within the game, allowing you to create your own maps to challenge yourself and your friends. It takes a little practice to figure out how it works, but is simple enough to use effectively after learning how to use it. Reading the manual helps as well.
The main downside to this game is that it takes a very long time to play, as units barely move one or two squares a turn, and it takes many turns to produce anything from your cities. Even very small maps can take hours to play, with the largest maps taking several days of saved games to complete.
Overall, Empire was the basis for creating turn-based strategy games, but required dedication and patience to play for extended periods of time. The map editor allows for infinite replayability, if you are willing to spend days trying to build and conquer the worlds you make.
Expand Quickly, Explore Everything, Protect Your Cities, and Conquer The World.
You must install the game using DOSBox after you extract it, otherwise it will be unable to load any maps, making it impossible to play the game.
The game requires you to enter a password at the beginning before you can play. There is a text file within the directory labeled "Passwords." All passwords must be entered as ALL CAPS. If the Password is "stop," only "STOP" will work; passwords are case sensitive.