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Posted on Mar 20, 2005 in Electronic Games

Fall of Rome Online – Game Review (PC)

Armchair General

STRATEGY

A number of screens allow you to see summaries of the present position, reports of the last move, and details of how to win the game.

Firstly, here are the victory conditions that I had to meet in order to win.

Here is "The Plan" – a summary of orders I had given in one move. Players begin with only 13 orders available per turn. This increases to a maximum of 25 as certain landmarks are passed (eg: once I gained control of my immediate region, the number of available orders increased to 15).

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This page contains a summary of reports from my various advisors on how well the last move went.

If and when battles occur, detailed reports are available for each one. These are fun to read and also provide an indication of whether your Legions are advancing in skills and power or becoming less powerful.

GRAPHICS

The Graphics are of course entirely static in appearance, and 2D. But they are always pleasing to the eye and nice and colourful to boot. Flicking around the various screens is simplicity itself and there’s never any danger of not knowing what’s going on.

SOUND

There is no sound at all in this game. Not a bit of it. Which is fine, because it means you can sit back and listen to your favourite piece of world-domination music whilst you plot and scheme your way to victory. I like Wagner.

SUMMARY

Although relatively basic in appearance, this is a solid and thought-provoking game that functions well. The colourful graphics are eye-catching and the intrigue of playing against other humans means that there is no dodgy (or easy!) AI to contend with, plus of course it adds a lot of excitement to the game. I was fortunate enough to hook up with a friendly player in my game who occasionally offered me guidance on how best to play – however don’t expect to jump into your first game and expect to win. Already there are seasoned players out there who take matters very seriously. The one problem I found was that it’s not always clear who is who or where they are. Intelligence can be acquired through the use of characters to discover a King’s standing, but more than once I was talking peaceably to a neighbour only to find that I had just dispatched a Legion to burn one of his cities down. On the other hand, I set out with the intention to betray everyone anyway, so I guess there’s nothing lost…

The fantastic thing (for me) about this game is that, once you’ve downloaded the files for the latest move, you can actually log off from your Internet connection to consider your decisions. You don’t even have to submit all of your orders at once, you can come back again and again to the game as many times as you like during the three day window to negotiate with your friends and/or enemies and submit your orders piecemeal. You can even cancel previous orders – as long as everything’s done within the three-day window, that’s fine. This has a side benefit because if, like me, you are regularly disconnected as a result of a dodgy connection, it simply doesn’t matter, when you log back on, you can submit the orders like nothing has happened.

GENERAL’S RANK

Gameplay – Four stars out of five. 4stars.gif

Interface – Three stars out of five. 3stars.gif

Graphics – Three stars out of five. 3stars.gif

AI – Not Applicable.

Multiplayer – Five stars out of five. 5stars.gif

Overall Rating – 4 stars out of five. 4stars.gif

SPECIFICATIONS

Specifications for running Fall of Rome are as follows:

An internet connection. Broadband connection provides much better performance than dial-up.

A Pentium II or newer machine with a minimum of 512k RAM.

Your monitor’s screen resolution must be set to a minimum resolution of 1024×768.

Your machine must be Java enabled.

http://fallofromegame.com/Default.asp

If you want to discuss this Review in our online Forums, you can do so here.

Andrew Summersgill

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

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