We have all tried Sim City at one time in our lives. Some liked it, some hated it. I am one of those who hated it. The game is excellent no doubt about it, but somehow I never managed to like it. Maybe it was too straightforward… You build a house. You watch it grow. And that’s it. To me that game was missing something fundamental; ACTION!
Caesar II is another game in the same genre, but it takes off where Sim City stopped… adding more action and at some times it even resembles a strategy game, like Centurion, more than anything else. Before you start screaming for my head on a plate… Yes, Sim City had some action in the form of disasters, but Caesar II has that and more! Here barbarian hordes can attack you and riots can also occur from time to time. This keeps you on your toes as an attack can happen at any time, and when it does you had better have a militia present. So building a working army is extremely important in order to keep your province alive and growing.
The game takes place in 200 BC. in the Roman era. Your mission is to help the Caesar to expand the Roman Empire, by conquering territories on the outskirts of the map. The missions change in every place, so you will have to adapt to each one. Some may want you to build a city with a great industrial power, while others just require you to build a city with a desired number of citizens. As you progress you’ll get rewards from Rome, and even the occasional promotion. The rewards can be anything from money to new building types, so you’ll always have something new to place in the city. Remember that the Romans were notorious for living the sweet life, so they will expect Circuses, Public Baths, Theatres, Schools and so on. They never get satisfied. ;)
As for the history in the game…
What can I say? They have been working hard to get all the details correct. I have not been able to spot any flaws so far in the historical value of the game… And this comes from someone who did a whole years study in the topic. They have even included the correct attitude towards neighbourhoods… (The ancient Roman did not like to share their homes with the Militia or other workers. They didn’t like to feel common. For the ancient Romans status was everything!) The politics in the game is also excellent, as it gives you an idea of how the government in the Roman Empire worked. The forum part of the game is well made and gives you complete control of every aspect of your province. The most important function here is without a doubt the Plebs control. Plebs are used to keep your city in top shape.
It seems to me that Caesar II is flawless in every aspect of the game. The graphics are great with a lot of details on every building, and there are a lot of videos for special events. And the animated people together with the sound effects makes the game come alive.
There is only one problem. (This is not something Caesar II is responsible for, by the way). The mouse can sometimes be choppy when running in DOSbox, since the game is not 100% compatible with the program. But this does not lower the standard of the game. And so it gets a full score of 5 without a doubt!
For me this is the improved version of Sim City. So all of you, who liked that one, will definitely love this one!
You MUST extract this game on your C drive because otherwise it won't work.