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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Turn-based Strategy

 

Publisher

Shrapnel Games

 

Developer

Malfador

 

ESRB

N/A

 

Released

March 2002

 

 

- More of a good thing

- User-made mods

- Sci-fi 4X gaming at its best

 

 

- Still as complicated as ever

- Not for the faint of heart

 

 

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Space Empires IV Gold

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Oh my, oh my.  For the most part when a game is re-released as a "Gold" game my thoughts immediately race to games that are released time and again with a new level added or a few multiplayer maps. (Half-Life seems to be a huge culprit when it comes to this.)  So when Space Empires IV Gold (SE4G) hit my desk, I rolled my eyes and sighed, "Whoopee, another Gold compilation," then quickly went back to whatever I was doing. (Sleeping, I think.)  The original sucked a large number of hours out of my life and burned more brain cells than I could safely spare -- it nearly turned into a minor addiction.  I was able to break from its grasp when I formatted my hard drive without backing up anything and it never got reinstalled because my wife had hidden the game.  After installing SE4G my addiction has gotten worse.

 

(If you missed it, go read the original review because I'll just be covering what's been added.)

 

Besides the expected graphical and audio additions and upgrades, SE4G has a number of user-created mods (over 200 megs worth!) and an easy way to launch them (if you read the instructions).  By itself SE4G has a near limitless number of 

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gameplay hours, but then you throw in the mods, and it suddenly becomes even more limitless. (Yeah, I know it sounds like the inane "infinity plus one" catchphrase -- I'm just trying to illustrate a point.)  Although the mods are different from SE4 the fundamental controls remain consistent so you don't have to relearn a new set every time you try different mod.  Also included on the disc are some handy articles to help the novice mod maker.

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The enemy AI is quoted as being "improved" but I didn't notice.  I thought the AI of the original was just fine, but then I'm not a die-hard 4X kind of person even though I'm easily hooked on them.

 

Even though the original had tons of options and details to handle, SE4G adds one or two more but they don't get in the way of the seasoned player jumping in.  Players just picking up SE4G have some learning to do, but the tutorials have been carried over and the manual has been rewritten to make the learning process as smooth as possible.

 

In the end, SE4G delivers a good update and new content.  Plus, it's rock solid and you don't need a muscled computer to make it run.  If you're interested in turn-based 4X space strategy, you can't go wrong with Space Empires IV Gold. (I would even recommend it.)

 

NOTE: There is a rebate available for those that bought the original SE4, but only until June 4, 2002.

 

- Omni

(May 8, 2002)

 

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