At the dawn of time...
The Civilization series has been keeping gamers awake since the early 1990’s with that ‘just one more turn’ syndrome. Waiting for that important Wonder to be built, that opposition city to fall to your powerful army or for that amazing new technology to be discovered, has resulted in bleary-eyed staff arriving in late to work and school kids falling asleep at their desks. Sid Meier has a lot to answer for. Until now, portable gamers – and I don’t mean those of you with gaming laptops - have missed out on the Civilization phenomenon. But that has all changed with the release of Civilization Revolution on the Nintendo DS.
Civilization Revolution gives DS gamers a chance to build a nation from humble beginnings to one that ‘Stands the Test of Time’. The game is a turn-based strategy, for those unfamiliar with the Civilization series, which is a rare breed on the DS – probably due to the time constraints generally associated with TBS. In this portable version of the game, there are a number of game styles available for the gamer. The Random Map would probably be the first choice for new Civilization gamers. In the Random Map game, the gamer starts on a randomly generated map with which to build their chosen civilization (of which there are 16 civilizations to choose from, including Egyptian, American, Roman and Mongol). Of course, there are other nations that have the same idea, and the aim of the game is to rule the world. Victory can be achieved in four ways – Economic, Domination, Cultural or Space Race.
Aside from the Random Map game, there are ten scenario games to choose from. Each varies in numerous ways, with some scenarios, such as ‘Apocalypse’ requiring the gamer to obtain victory via a certain Victory Condition (by Domination in the case of the ‘Apocalypse’ scenario). One of my favourite scenarios is the ‘Beta Centauri’ game, which gives the gamer (and the AI) all the technologies at the start of the scenario. Games can be saved (there are five save slots) so that gamers are not required to play a full game in one sitting.
Another game style involves the use of the Nintendo WiFi Connection. With it, gamers can play the ‘Game of the Week’, a downloaded map, which anyone can play at whichever difficulty level they choose. Finishing the game with the highest score enables the gamer to be displayed on the Game of the Week leaderboards. Apart from the Game of the Week, there is a more traditional Multiplayer option, which allows up to four players battles. One welcome feature with this is that if one player drops out, the game will still continue.
It’s tough at the top
When the game begins, gamers are given the choice of a number of difficulty levels – Chieftain (easiest), Warlord, King, Emperor and Deity (hardest). Newbies to the Civilization series, and even those who are out of practice, would be advised to play through a game in the Chieftain level as it contains a tutorial as you play through. The Warlord difficulty is a small step up, and the King level is another large step up. The highest levels of Emperor and Deity are definitely for those with a knowledge of the game, whether it be experienced Civilization players or those that have spent some time working out the intricacies of Civilization Revolution.
Setting the war machine in motion
The DS version reminds me a lot of Civilization 2 in a way. The tech tree, the number of city buildings, world wonders and the number of units have been reduced from the Civilization 4. As in Civilization 2, from my experience, being the first civilization to gain the power of Knights is a huge advantage. Caravans and spies can again be used to great effect. Caravans can be used to generate large sums of gold which can be beneficial in claiming an Economic victory.
Battles themselves are fought out in a similar way to Civilization 4 using the hitpoint and strikes system to create "rounds" of combat. Three units of one particular type can be stacked together to form an army, which increases their attacking or defending strength. Units gain experience from winning battles, and can gain a range of promotions including better city attacks, ability to heal in enemy territory or increased movement. One note for experienced Civilization gamers is that there is the ability to use nukes only once, so make it worthwhile.
No Pros and Cons at this time