previews\ May 23, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Age of Mythology - PC - Preview

Age of Mythology wows with solid animation and great environmental graphics

The cyclops are attacking, wading through the ranks, and killing with reckless abandon. It's time to cast a spell and make them pay for their arrogance. Maybe a little meteor storm, or ...

The method of your revenge can take many forms, it all depends on which diety you have decided to pay fealty to, and what minor diety is - if you don't mind thinking of it this way - the second in command.

Age of Mythology, from Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios, was demonstrated at E3 in Los Angeles, and is banking on the current trend of giving game players more strategic gameplay rather than micromanaging systems to score big in the RTS/civilization genre.

"In the early part of the game you have to spend time developing your resources," said Greg Street, who was demonstrating the game for Microsoft, "but once done, you don't have to micromanage those resources."

There are basically three races to build on: the Norse, Greeks and Egyptians. Each has is own unique special, or mythological units, and each has strong and weak points which are certain to appeal to players. The Greeks have cyclops, the Egyptians have giant scarabs, and the norse have hell hounds. The Greeks may use a Pegasus as a scout while the Norse use ravens, and so it goes.

Other features include a three-dimensional, from the god (a.k.a. cloud) perspective; hundreds of unit animations; incredible environmental effects; 35 scenarios for the single player; more than 15 map types, 13 game variants and five starting conditions for multiplayer.

The game not only looked wonderful, but the player interface has been configured in such a manner to give novice gamers to the genre a chance to jump in and play well with a minimum of training.

Ensemble Studios is best know for its blockbuster Age of Empires game, and many of the elements of that program can be found in this title. This product is slated for release in October.

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