Age of Empires
I first played this game shortly after it was released when a friend of my brother's let me borrow it. I played through the Egyptian scenario to learn how to play, and then started playing online with him. I really enjoyed the game and got pretty good at it, well enough to beat most amateur-level players. This wasn't the first real-time strategy game I played (that was Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, but it was the last one to interest me since I noticed that they all pretty much follow the same routine.
Best Version: Windows
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The graphic art is fantastic. Pre-rendered 3D graphics in 2D usually look awful, but the artists did a good job here.
- The game's music and sound effects are really good.
- The game's AI it very competent, and can be quite a challenge at the hardest difficulty.
- A lot of detailed history was put into the game, and the various touches were noticed and enjoyed.
- The built-in scenario editor was a wonderful bonus, and certainly stole many hours off my life.
- The game had really good multiplayer support.
- The manual is really informative and well-made.
- The civilizations are not evenly balanced. The fast villagers of the Assyrians and Yamato make them superior for standard play.
Rise of Rome
The Rise of Rome expansion adds new civilizations, new units, more scenarios, bigger maps, and lots of bug fixes.