Civilization III Conquests heads off in a slightly new direction for the franchise, opting for more detailed scenarios set in smaller geographical and historical settings. Nine total scenarios and three tutorials refine the epoch-spanning gameplay to focus on a single historical struggle. But Conquests also adds a few compelling new features to the core game as well as patching in the multiplayer functionality and other features of the previous expansion, Play the World.
Like all good little expansions, Conquests tries to add more, more, more to the main game. The trouble in doing that with a game that spans all of human history is that you can't make additions to every area without creating a whole new game's worth of content. And you can't add stuff to just a few areas of the game without throwing off the rhythm or focus of the game. The solution is to provide a more detailed look at smaller pieces of the pie.
Though it's at odds somewhat with the more unpredictable and millennia-spanning nature of the franchise, the overall philosophy is sound. Oftentimes games of Civilization fail to deliver conflicts parallel to those in our own history. That you'll have something approaching a World War 2-style engagement isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion. Conquests offers up nine of these pre-set challenges, from the race to build the Seven Wonders of the World to the bloody battle between the Allied and Japanese forces in the Pacific.
The area surrounding the Tigris-Euphrates valley was home to many of the world's earliest civilizations -- from the initial Sumerians and Hittites (both new to the series) all the way to the Egyptians and Persians. The first scenario in the game (apart from the three new tutorials) is focused on the building of the Ancient Wonders in Mesopotamia. Stretching from Egypt to Greece to western Asia, the earliest civilizations in history will have to wrestle for dominance. Once the Seven Wonders are built, the game ends and a winner is declared.
The original Ancient Wonders of Civilization have been adjusted to include the classical Seven Wonders. While the Pyramids are still here, you'll also see the Temple of Artemis, which adds a free temple to your cities, and the Temple of Zeus, which adds a free barracks in every city. In order to build these new wonders you'll have to have access to a new strategic resources, stone.
As befits the early civilizations, the tech tree requires you to actually research up to the basic functionality of your workers. You'll need to learn how to irrigate and how to mine even. But though the game extends the tech tree back a bit beyond the base knowledge of all civs in the main game, it still allows for some fairly modern buildings. Worker housing, for instance, functions like a factory, increasing productivity by 50%.
Players who prefer fast-paced games of immediately and bloody action might do well to try the Mesoamerican scenario that focuses on the conflicts among the societies of the Incans, Aztecs, and Mayans. Impassable rain forests make this a close-contact affair. Other civilizations may be nipping at your borders, but this is a fight between three powerhouses.
Like the other scenarios, this one contains new additions, some of which merely duplicate the abilities of an existing unit, tech or wonder, some of which add entirely new abilities. The Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon wonders are in the former category. The Temple of the Sun acts like the Battlefield Medicine wonder, allowing your units to heal in enemy territory. It also reduces weariness and corruption in your cities. The Temple of the Moon is more straightforward. Like Darwin's Voyage, it simply grants two free advances.
Each culture in the Mesoamerican scenario has a unique unit capable of enslavement. Whether used by javelin throwers or Chasqui scouts, enslavement is an ability that grants your attacking unit a 1 in 3 chance of converting an enemy unit into a worker. You can then use the ritual sacrifice advance to kill these workers to increase the cultural value of a given city. Cultural victory is a good option in this scenario.
The Sengoku scenario depicts the power struggles in Japan from the breakout of the Onin war in 1467 to the emergence of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1603. While the story of a full 18 clans battling for victory is engaging enough, what makes it really interesting is that the rival daimyos are also racing towards a brand new technology -- gunpowder.
Your warlord is represented as a unit on the map. Like the king in Regicide games, your daimyo has to stay alive in order for you to stay in the game. But unlike your king in Regicide, you'll actually want to send your daimyo out to attack enemies. Though he starts as a simple 2/2 unit, he can grow up 11/11 strength through upgrades available as you move up the technology tree. The daimyo even gains special abilities with certain techs -- from blitzing to zones of control to treating all terrain as roads.
Beyond your daimyo you'll have a whole army of other Japanese units from the feudal and gunpowder eras. The various types of samurai are all amphibious attackers and are able to surprise even a well-prepared enemy. Ronin or ninjas will only work for you if you have jade. The ronin's masterless status makes them a bit like privateers. Players see them on the map but aren't sure what their affiliation is. Ninjas can't be seen at all except by one particular warrior monk unit.
Operating System: Windows� 95/98/Me/2000
Processor: Pentium� II 300MHz (500 MHZ recommended)
Memory: 32 MB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 400 MB free hard drive space
CD-ROM Drive: 4X Speed or higher
Video: DirectX� 8.0a-compatible video card* (must be able to display
Sound: DirectX� 8.0a-compatible sound card*
DirectX: DirectX� version 8.0a or higher
* Indicates device should be compatible with DirectX� version 8.0a or higher.
MacOS 8.6 or higher or MacOS 10.0.4 or higher
300MHz iMac G3 or better (500MHz preferred)
64M RAM for the classic MacOS (96M preferred), 128M for MacOS X.
500MB Hard disk space (650MB preferred)