Armchair Empire Home


Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Digital Eclipse
ETA: November 2005 




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Age of Empires: Age of Kings


Up to this point the Age of Empires series has had both of its feet firmly planted on the PC, entertaining many a RTS fan.  When it was first announced that the series was coming to the Nintendo DS, and it would be a turn-based strategy game, there was quite a bit of surprise among those who follow Age of Empires.  Such an abrupt change of pace for the franchise is a tad startling, but the gameís developer looks like it has some ideas that could make the game well worth checking out when Age of Kings is completed.


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Players will be able to choose from five different empires to use, including, the Mongols, Saracens, Franks, Britons, and Japanese.  Within these empires thereíll be heroes at players disposal who were central to their empireís military might in the Dark Ages.  Among these heroes one can expect to find the likes of Genghis Khan, Robin Hood, Richard the Lionhearted, and Joan of Arc, among others.  The question now is what will make them so special in the game beyond the ambiguous "hero powers" that have been hinted at thus far.


But heroes arenít of much use unless they have an army to lead.  In Age of Kings, there will be over 45 units at players disposal, ranging from bowmen, to hand cannoneers, to mercenaries, to samurai.  When not worrying about units, players can also take time to work their way up the technology tree.  Each empire will have its own special gear and gadgetry 

that they can create on the branching tree, as players decide just how they want to customize their forceís war machine.


When playing the game, the top screen of the DS will be used to show stats and generally keep players up to speed on whatever vitals they need to know about in regards to their troops.  Meanwhile the bottom screen will show all of the action, allowing players to watch the two armies clash.


With the game taking a turn-based approach things will be going at a more leisurely pace than in previous Age of Empires 



games, making Age of Kings more akin to the likes of Fire Emblem or Advance Wars.  Taking a break from the frenetic gameplay of its RTS roots could make for a nice change of pace in the Age of Empires series.  Sometimes it can be quite pleasant not having to worry about the micro management that often times comes part in parcel with the real-time strategy genre.  Strategy games are far and few between on the DS, so hopefully Age of Kings will be able to do an admirable job of filling that void when it is released later this year.


Mr. Nash

(June 7, 2005)


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Features from the Fact Sheet:


- Command one of five different civilizations: the Britons, Franks, Mongols, Saracens, or Japanese;

- Control special 'hero' units such as Richard the Lionheart, Robin Hood, Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan, whose special 'hero' powers affect the entire battlefield;

- Lead over 45 different types of units into battle - from bowmen and monks to hand cannoneers, mercenaries and samurai;

- Players' can construct and upgrade buildings to help their units learn new skills and create resources for their civilizations;

- Research over 50 different technologies like chemistry, ballistics, siege craft and spying to advance civilization into the next age;

- A new Combat Advisor offers advice on certain campaign strategies and provides an assessment of the battle's outcome;

- Multi-player scenarios allow up to four players to wirelessly battle each other;

- By gaining Empire Points, players can unlock maps and units to improve their Emperor Rank;

- Includes the music and sounds from the best-selling PC version.