Game Over Online ~ Civilization 2: Test of Time

GameOver Game Reviews - Civilization 2: Test of Time (c) Microprose, Reviewed by - Rebellion

Game & Publisher Civilization 2: Test of Time (c) Microprose
System Requirements Pentium 133, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 79%
Date Published Wednesday, August 18th, 1999 at 06:28 PM


Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

Just when you thought the Civilization series was coming to a close, Firaxis and Microprose make the E3 announcement that they've gotten back together to design Civilization 3. In the meantime, Microprose, holder of the coveted Civilization license, has been back at work on Civilization 2. What!?! There’s another Civilization 2? Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus, er a new Civilization 2, this time under the name Civ 2: The Test of Time.

This iteration of Civ 2 still contains much of the original Civ 2, and in fact the original Civ 2 is an option for playing style. With the release of Alpha Centauri, the standard historical world that Civ was so heavily based upon, was expanded to create a sci-fi, futuristic Civ 2. In Test of Time (ToT), two expansions build upon where Alpha Centauri took this game. The first expansion is the sci-fi game. This one is very close to where Alpha Centauri went. There’s a new research tree, new graphics, new units, etc. It feels a lot like Alpha Centauri without the “build-your-own-units” aspect. The other expansion is the fantasy game. The fantasy game lets you play with elves and so on with once again, a new research tree, new graphics, and new units.

Aside from the two new game styles, there’s also the original and a new expanded original. The original is just what it means, Civ. The expanded original style adds aliens and a few other features to the game, which gives it a little more flavor. The gameplay itself hasn’t changed at all from Civ 2, there are just a few primary additions and enhancements that help revive a game that has been plodding away for three years now. The ability to go between worlds is quite cool as well. The three new game styles allow you to go between different ‘planets’ once you have gotten the required technology to travel between them. It makes the game MUCH bigger. Bigger usually makes things better, so it’s interesting at least.

The first thing you’ll notice after starting a new game is the new graphics. One of my biggest gripes about Civ 2 and Alpha Centauri was the lack of animation. It just made both seem stale. ToT has not only animation across the map, but units are also animated. The coloring and detail have been greatly improved since the original Civ 2 came out. It’s brighter and livelier; however, the units are very fuzzy looking, which seems odd in contrast to the quality of the rest of the image enhancements. I also noticed that occasionally units from the fantasy game would shift to the enhanced original units and back again. Makes it look somewhat unpolished. I think Microprose could have devoted a little more time to the unit graphics, although I do appreciate the animation.

Audio is your typical Civ style music. It’s different from the original, but no worse and no better. Effects are mostly rehashed sound effects from Civ 2 with some additional ones for the new units. The new sounds are on par with the original. Cutscenes for each of the advancements are new and are a little bit better in caliber then the predecessors.

Multiplayer, which was added in Civ 2 Gold, is also an option for the Civ 2 junkie. While multiplayer Civ 2 games are not what I consider fun, it nonetheless has it’s own little following. Like Civ 2 Gold, multiplayer works well and the new game styles and options will make it, like single player, a bit more interesting.

All in all, Test of Time is a heck of a revamp for Civ 2. If you don’t already have Civ 2 or Civ 2 Gold, then by all means, this is the best in the package. You get more for your money in ToT, but if you’ve already gotten Civ 2 Gold (since the multiplayer option is a nice feature), then you might want to pass on it. It’s got nice, polished graphics and a load of new features, but the game really hasn’t changed too much. I’ve also got to say, that with the addition of the sci-fi game style, Alpha Centauri continues its downward spiral in my opinion (even IF PCGamer thinks it’s the best game ever to grace mankind). Civilization 2 IS the king of this genre and maybe with the new co-op between Firaxis and Microprose, they’ll come up with a Civilization 3 that will be out of this world.

Highs: New Graphics, Multiplayer, Totally New Game Styles make it not so Civ-like.
Lows: One can only play Civ for SO long before it gets old, Fuzzy unit sprites.

Note: Although this really isn’t an ‘ADDON’ I am scoring it as one.

 

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