When I first heard about this game from a preview I thought that its premise was unique and would present a refreshing twist on the real time strategy genre, which in my opinion has become worse than the first person shooter genre in the "quantity not quality" department. Ancient Conquest is based in Greek mythological times, more specifically when Jason was preparing for his quest for the Golden Fleece. For those who do not know the mythology, Jason led a team of men, named the Argonaughts, through various perils to gain this Golden Fleece. The actual myth is far more detailed but that is the basic idea behind it. As you can see, no game so far has been based on Greek mythology, unfortunately, Ancient Conquest takes the first journey into this new realm and never returns.
Graphically, Ancient Conquest is years behind all other new RTS games in that it still uses 256 colours in a style similar to that of Warcraft 2. The colours were bright, but uninspired and were not exactly Greek looking. I did find that the animations used in the menus designed to control the tasks of the units (fish, attack, mine amber, etc.) were cleverly animated and in fact were the best element of graphics. Combat and building graphics are animated in more detail than Warcraft 2 but don't even come close to representing three years of technology development. Since the game is based around naval combat all the units you see on the screen are ships, which is an interesting idea. However, a problem occurs when you realize that every ship looks practically identical thus making it very difficult to discern what is what in a large combat environment. Sure the graphics are speedy and probably wouldn't even lag a 486, but when you sacrifice such extreme amounts of graphic quality, speed is simply an afterthought.
Digitized speech was made famous by Warcraft 2 and proved to be so successful that every company began to copy it, most with little success. Ancient Conquest's digitized speech is the most pathetic and lackluster attempt at copying Warcraft 2 that it should have never been included. Firstly, the speech is in no way related to ancient Greek mythology or Jason and the Argonaughts. Secondly, it is so annoying and idiotic that no matter what time period the game was made for it would be the first thing I turned off. The other effects are basic sounds used to represent combat and building construction, which could be played with perfect quality on a sound blaster pro. The best part of the sound environment is the somewhat catchy midi music but unfortunately it only plays in the main menu, which is where I spent most of my time (clicking on the quit game button).
Ancient Conquest may have attempted to introduce something different into RTS gaming, but it essentially followed the now cliched formula that Warcraft 2 first introduced in 1995. MegaMedia attempted to turn the game into a quest where you had to find artifacts to let the hero, Jason, reach his goals. This however, is a minor part of the game as most time is spent gathering resources and fighting the enemy with your ships in order to reach this artifact (usually as far behind enemy lines as possible). Once you gain this artifact you return to base and deposit it at your harbor. One would think that the mission would end at this point, but of course that would be too logical. Generally, in addition to all other mission objectives, you have to destroy every trace of the enemy (wow doesn't this sound unique). In order to complete the mission one must upgrade their ships and buildings in order to defeat the enemy. The fact that this is so much of a clone of Warcraft 2 would make me sick if this were 1996. This, however, is 1998 and a game like this has no chance of making it in the North American Game market. If you are looking for something new, look elsewhere. If you are looking to reminisce in a clone of Warcraft 2 instead of the real thing, then sure give this game a whirl.
It was hard enough to find anyone else with this game to play with and when I finally got a game going, I felt myself dosing off as the game progressed into its third intense minute. Multiplayer simply sucks. I'm not going to beat this point to death, just accept that it is true.
Ancient Conquest doesn't even deserve the attention of this review and while there are most definitely games a hell of a lot worse than this, there are also games a hell of a lot better. I can pretty much guarantee you will be bored of this game within 15 minutes, so do me a favor and just don't get it in the first place.