reviews\ Sep 21, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest - PC - Review

Since the dawn of time, people have been trying to conquer one another to be the main force to be contended with. If people take a wide look through time, they will see the strongest was the main power: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greeks, Romans, and down to our time Untied States of America. The one with the biggest military will be the power before each nation will bow. This is the main concept behind Empire Earth, and any other Real Time Strategy game.

The thing that made Empire Earth the PC Game of the Year, and so incredibly popular was its take on the genre of the game. Other RTS games take players through a few ages but then stops, but Empire Earth did something completely different. It begins in the dawn of time, where your main force includes guys with clubs, to present day times, with missiles aimed at each nation. It goes even two hundred years further into an Epoch they called the Nano Age. No other game has taken players though half a million years worth of events before. This game was dubbed the successor to Age of Empires, and it has many similar traits because the concept came from the lead designer Age of Empires. Anything that players wanted to accomplish they could with this game, and that gave the game fuel to become as successful as it did.

It has now been approximately one year since the release of Empire Earth and it has received an expansion entitled Empire Earth: The Art Of Conquest. This game takes everything that was done correctly in the first game and just expounds upon it. The new things included are: a new epoch, three new single player campaigns, two more unique heroes, two new civilizations, unique capabilities for each civilization, more buildings, new wonders, and more units to take control of.

The new Epoch introduced is the Space Age, and takes place in 2200AD.In this age, China has taken control of most of Asia, and a new country called UFAR (United Federation of Asian Republics) was born. This new country began to falter due to the pressures of the expanding population, and to the fact that Earth was beginning to be overpopulated. The solution to this problem was to start living in Space. Soon myriads of people were flocking to be part of this new society upon Mars. Than another issue presented itself, how can the UFAR control both the Earth and Mars?

The Space age gives a lot of new units into the game. Here is the brief rundown of the new buildings and units. Space dock is the link between these two worlds; the people cannot survive with out it. Space Turrets is the new defense mechanism to defend the borders. The Robot Farm is a farm that does not require the use of humans to be productive. Anti-Missile Battery is a very important piece of equipment, as it is the only defense against a nuclear attack. One of the best new units is the Spy Satellite, as it will provide important information on what the other nations are doing. Palisades is a new type of wall. The new Wonder is an Orbital Space Station; the advantage of this wonder is that it will give a moral boost to all of the space units. The last new thing added is a calamity: the Meteor Storm. These burning rocks will cause a great outcry to any player that it is used upon. The only people that can cause these meteor storms are the prophets.

There are two new heroes that can be unleashed in the game. The first one is Hu Kwan Do, a warrior type hero. He is a brilliant business mind, as he made his company, Kwan Do Electronics and Communications Conglomerate, to one of the richest corporations known to man. As the company grew so did his ambitions and soon he has control over all Asia, and he was one of the founding fathers of the UFAR. His legacy will live on for hundreds of years, and his dynasty is the one in control of the UFAR right now. The other hero is Khan Sun Do, a brilliant strategist. He is the descendent of Hu Kwan Do, and he followed in his footsteps and became a great leader to the people. He is the first generation of Martian-born citizens. His call to power came from the outcry of the Martians that wanted to be independent of the Earth.

One of the new civilizations is the Japanese. As many people know they have been around for thousands of years. They truly came to power in World War II, but they were shortly defeated. After that defeat they focused on the economics, and became a leader in that field. Korea is the other new civilization. They have been around for over four thousands years. For two thousand years they were plagued with civil wars, and wars with other kingdoms, with many dynasty's coming and going as if it was the changing of the wind. All that came to an end shortly after the twentieth century started when Japan colonized Korea. After World War II, Korea was once again a free country, but in the 1950's another war would plague their land, but that would not keep this proud country down for long.

By popular demand, there have been new campaigns added that further enhances the game. One of them is set in the Roman Empire and their quest for world domination. The next one is in World War II, when the United States was dealt a humiliating and devastating blow in Pearl Harbor, and the dropping of the world's first atomic bomb. Last set of missions is set in the last age, which prove to be very interesting!

Empire Earth: The Art Of Conquest is rated T for Teen for blood and violence.

Gameplay: 9.1
The game hasn't changed from the original. Once players enter a battle; they will be fighting until one side loses. The interface is easy to navigate, and the controls will come to anyone who is familiar to playing Real Time Strategy games.

Graphics: 8.9
The game has nice quality graphics. It looks really spectacular when players are zoomed out, but when they zoom in on the game everything looks a little blurry, but it is improved over the original. The problem is when players zoom in it distorts the gameplay and players can miss out on the action, which can cause players great pain in the long run. The zooming feature proves to be more of eye candy.

There are myriads of unit types in this game, which range from: land, sea, and air. Each of these types of units has a distinct feel while playing, and the animations for each are really well done. All the units are modeled to look as close to their real life counter part as possible.

Sound: 8.9
The sound in this game is done very well. The music that plays in the background is a strong motivator while fighting a tough enemy. The sound effects used have been accurately recreated to what people would expect to hear. The voice acting is a little cheesy at times, but it gets the job accomplished, and the most important thing is that it never becomes repetitive.

Difficulty: Medium
The game has a slight learning curve but if you played the previous versions, or any RTS game, it will take little or no time to play like a pro. The AI is challenging but not to the point of being cheap. Gives players a run for their money in certain campaigns.

Concept: 9.3
The concept for this game has been done numerous times. The thing that makes this game so good is that players do not advance myriads of times before they have the best and most sophisticated technology. The new Epoch, which players can advance, proves to be refreshing, challenging, and fits in appropriately with the rest of the game.

Multiplayer: 9.1
The multiplayer has been expanded upon with a better matchmaking service than the original offered. Nothing is better than playing against a human opponent than the computer AI.

Overall: 9.1
This is a really good expansion pack to Empire Earth. It adds so many little things that it will be worth the players hard earned cash. The Space Epoch itself is worth the price of it. If players love Real Time Strategy games, and already own Empire Earth, they need to go to the nearest electronic store and pick this gem up!


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