Scott Hardie | October 18, 2002
Gamespot's review of Civilization III starts by saying: "With Firaxis' superlative Civilization III, that old-school, up-till-5am-addictive, and one-more-turn-based grand-strategy gaming that was introduced 10 years ago in the original Civilization is back. And it's back with a vengeance." It feels so good.

Technically, I'm a year behind, since CIV3 came out in late 2001. But I've been a fan of the series since the old original 256-color DOS version came out when I was in high school. A friend and I even tracked down the Avalon Hill board game that Sid Meier ripped off to create the first game (not that I've ever played it; it's way too complicated unless you have all day to play). For a few months after I got this new computer in June, I was jonesing pretty bad to play CIV, but I promised myself I'd wait till I could get CIV3 and then dive into it. And the wait was worth it! When I finally got it last week, I played about 12 hours a day, and now I'm down to about 4. It'll probably be even less next week as I refocus on getting a job.

I love some of the new features in this game. The idea of national borders, being derived from cultural strength and not military enforcement, is wonderful. National identity is good too; conquered people revolt against you if you don't absorb them into your culture. Also good are the addition of three new ways to win, and the restructuring of all organizational commands into the advisors menu. The fog of war is a nice graphical touch, and I love how all the pieces animate. The biggest problem in the game was the 60-second-plus time between moves while the computer showed all of the enemies' moves, but with the patch on the web site, it's completely gone. And the biggest remaining problem, the lack of central control over your espionage, is being covered by the expansion pack in two weeks.

It's good to be playing a Civilization game again. It's been too long. How many other games let you construct a spaceship in 1852 while your enemies are just figuring out how a monarchy works?

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