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Game Over Online ~ Settlers 3

GameOver Game Reviews - Settlers 3 (c) Blue Byte Interactive, Reviewed by - m0tion / Phire /

Game & Publisher Settlers 3 (c) Blue Byte Interactive
System Requirements P166 16mb RAM
Overall Rating 78%
Date Published Friday, November 27th, 1998 at 09:47 PM


Divider Left By: m0tion Divider Right

I must admit I've been a long time fan of this series. I remember playing the original Serfcity (what the first one was called in the US) and loving that. These games are quite original in that they aren't quite a real time strategy and also not a Sim City style game. Well I have to say Blue Byte has followed their same old format for game design making Settlers 3 a great addition to the Settlers series. There are 3 races (Egyptian, Roman, and Asians) each trying to gain the most land possible and destroy the other race. The way you control your empire takes a lot of thought and this is where it differs from a real-time strategy game. You have to build buildings and train workers to support every aspect of your empire from feeding people to mining iron to make swords and shields for your army. It can even come down to one minor section of your empire being lax that causes everything to go down the drain.

Graphics:

I have to hand it to Blue Byte they did a very nice job on graphics. Settlers 3 supports Direct 3D and resolutions up to 1024x768. Graphics were nice and colorful on my Creative Blaster 12MB and my 8MB Matrox G200. The speed however was a problem. On my P2-333 (overclocked to 375) it ran well enough at 1024x768, but when I tried to run it on my friend's P-200 MMX and a Diamond Monster 3D (voodoo 1) it was horrible even at 640x480. I would say it was literally unplayable on that machine. So, basically, if you've got the machine for it the graphics are nice, but if your machine isn't on the "higher end" you might want to over look this title.

Sound:

The effects really are quite good in this game. Blue Byte has made a wide range of realistic sounds from swords clashing to pigs snorting to woodcutters cutting. All of the sounds are life like and provide you with the sense that you're running a living empire. The sounds in this game are also important as they provide you with key information about what one of your men might be doing and also will alert you of incoming messages and events.

Gameplay:

The gameplay in Settlers 3 is just great, especially if you like long games. You can sit down and spend hours building your empire to maximum size with your borders right up against your opponents, chopping wood and mining iron as fast as you can to build more guard towers and a bigger army. This really is a fun game if you enjoy that style. Its a little different from past Settler series games in the fact that you no longer have to worry about building roads (thank GOD!) to your buildings so people and resources can get to them, that's automatically taken care of. There are so many aspects to this game from building your empire to attacking your opponent to sailing the high seas with your ships. Your constantly kept busy with all the hustling and bustling going on inside your empire and constantly being told you need more of this or you have ample this. You also have to always be building and expanding your empire and gaining more land so when it comes down to defeating your opponent your army will be big enough and strong enough to defeat them.

Fun Factor:

I personally find this to be one of the most fun games to play period. I could see how, if you don't have time to play the game for hours, or just don't enjoying playing this sort of game, you may get bored with it, but my friends and I love to play it. One of the most fun things about this game is having your empire built up to the bursting point and zooming in on one section or one guy and watching them to see what they do. All of the people in your empire are always busy doing something: building a house, harvesting grain, baking bread, slaughtering pigs, or just carrying resources around. The best part is that you can zoom onto the person and watch them doing it. Bread just doesn't pop out of the bakery, you see the smoke come out of the chimney and you can watch the guys through the window baking. It really is like having a living and breathing empire.

Multiplayer:

Settlers 3 includes support for Internet and LAN multiplayer. This is actually the first game in the Settlers series to offer multiplayer between computers. The games are long but extremely fun to play and over the Internet playing with a bunch of people is great.

Overall Impression:

I've always liked the Settlers series and this one was no different. Blue Byte took the best aspects from all the games in the Settlers series, improved them, and put them all into Settlers 3. I strongly recommend if you enjoy real-time strategy or games like Age of Empires that you buy this game.

 

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Rating
85%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Divider Left By: Phire Divider Right

Settlers 3 is similar to the game Knights & Merchants but has some significant differences as well. In Settlers 3 you choose from 3 types of empires: Roman, Egyptians and Japanese. Each is set with a different difficulty mode depending on which empire you choose, Roman being the easiest while Egyptian being the hardest. Settlers 3 consists of building up your empire and conquering the enemy. It's essentially an enhanced version of your basic war strategy game. In Settlers 3 you cannot build anywhere you'd like, you must acquire land by placing guard towers and then to actually build on the land it must be inhabited meaning you must place houses.

The graphics in Settlers 3 are fully 3D animated whilst in its main competitor, Knights & Merchants, the people were cartoons and some of the buildings were partially 3D animated. Even though Knights & Merchants had cartoon like characters it was still nicely animated and presented well. Settlers 3 has very smooth animation for the characters yet I feel they do not move in a life-like manner nor do they operate life-like either. One of the worst aspects of this game is the death animation. Each player is assigned a color and when one of your units dies all you see is the color you were assigned to in a blob which just fades away, it's really terrible.

When buildings are being constructed Settlers 3 uses a special system to show the progress being done. In Knights & Merchants you saw frame by frame depictions of different blocks/wood entering the construction area. In Settlers 3, 2 or 3 frames show the inside structure a special trick of programming which textures the building slowly going in an upright position. Some 3D buildings look quite nice while most of them are just unoriginal and look pretty bad. It seems to me that Blue Byte has taken ideas from other games such as Caesar 3 and Knights & Merchants and tried to put them in their game.

There are a lot of buildings to choose to construct and they are categorized by their purpose. Guard towers are placed in the military section while mining buildings are in the resource section. As you keep building houses to inhabit land it seems things get VERY crowded, and what you see is a bunch of people (all wearing the same clothes, because its the same model and same texture) standing in a spot doing nothing unless you have a task such as construction for them to do. Additionally, when you want to fight with your opponent you have to first take down guard towers to gain up territory. I think that is just plain stupid, I would like to just rush in and kill everyone at once.

I can see Blue Byte really tried to be original with the sound, and they were, but it just wasn't as good quality as other games. It also seems that Settlers 3 requires a lot more processing power than I expected. For full performance you need a 350mhz processor, but it runs OK on my 233 in 800x600. Settlers 3 got pretty boring for me as it's not very entertaining and it is very time consuming. When I say time consuming I don't mean that in a good way. Knights & Merchants is more fun because it does not require as much time as Settlers 3 and is far less tedious. Knights & Merchants is also less advanced but, in my opinion, more enjoyable.

 

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Rating
85%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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