Retro Game Review: Civilization (SNES)

 

I know what you’re probably thinking: I’ve got Civilization IV and I’m reviewing a game released back in 1995. Sometimes you gotta go back in time to appreciate the present and look forward to the future.

For those unfamiliar with The Civiliation Games, you are the leader of a civilization and are charged with leading your chosen Civ to victory. Although Sid Meier was inspired by the Sim City Games, The game does not go on forever, nor do it run in realtime like The SimCity Games do. Each subsequent Civilization Game and their expansions (I through V as well as the spinoff games released between them) have their own set of rules. For the purposes of this review I’ll only talk about the mechanics of this one since I am going to review the other 3 Civilization games I own (IV and its expansions and Revolutions for the DS and Xbox 360) in separate blogs.

As the box art says this game is based on the award-winning PC game. Ironcially, it would be 13 years before the consoles would get another: Revolutions. This game stands the test of time. I say that because I played through this game AFTER playing Civ IV. Like its sequels, you lead your chosen Civ in researching new technologies, building cities and interacting with opposing Civs. Like its PC counterpart, maintaining a decient-sized military is important. In my last playthrough pirates and guerillas showed up even late in the game. Diplomats (Spies in later games) can’t be used defensively so you’ll want to make sure to stack lots of military units on cities to prevent rioting and prevent enemy diplomats from stealing your city from you.

There are four ways to win: Domination (Take all enemy Civs’ capitals), Cultural (Build the United Nations and win the election), Money (have enough Gold to build the World Bank) and Technological (launch a spaceship set to arrived on Alpha Centauri). The enemy AI can be crafty. The language used has you thinking they want to go to war with you every time they interact with you but they won’t if you have a decient-sized military and are technologically superior to them. Producing units and buildings is slow until you’ve build factories. Personally I held off building Wonders until then.

This was the first game I played (Civ Revolutions for the Xbox 360 being the second, ironically) in which the Enemy AI RNG Abuses (short for Random Number Generator) like crazy and wins almost every time. It’s especially demoralizing seeing your technologically superior Carrier with 3 Fighters get destroyed by a lowly enemy Galleon. Then again that’s part of the appeal to this game to keep you from getting too comfortable.

Overall, I give this game an 8 out of 10. By today’s standards it’s DATED. Even so time has been good to it. It’s easy to see in the games that followed on the PC how far the Civilization games have come. Now that Civ V’s expansion Gods and Kings has been released, I will give that game (Civ V) a shot. Until then, I would reccommend Civilization IV. You can get that game and its expansions as well as the Colonization remake (using the Civ IV Engine) for $20 in one set.

More on Civ IV and Sim City 4 to come!

 

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