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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Puzzle

 

Publisher

D3 Publisher

 

Developer

D3 Publisher

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 18, 2008

 

 

- Extremely addictive gameplay

- Lots of content at a budget price

 

 

- Soundtrack could use more variety

- Resource building can get frustrating

 

 

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Cradle of Rome

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

cradle-rome-1.jpg (81865 bytes)          cradle-rome-2.jpg (72310 bytes)

 

When you first pick up the box for Cradle of Rome you might just pass it off as another Bejeweled clone. On the surface, you’d be right but the additional features of this game make it just that little bit more interesting.

 

The gameplay consists of matching three similar objects in a vertical or horizontal line that cause the objects to disappear. New objects then drop in the empty spaces, changing the lay of the land and you look for another set of tiles to swap to make a match.

 

The difference between a straight Bejeweled clone and this game start here. Certain sets of objects will trigger special options. For example, clearing a set of three hammers will add to the hammer meter. Once full, you can choose to hammer out any single object. If it’s locked in chains (preventing you from swapping it for example) the chains will fall off, freeing the object. If the object is not locked down, it will disappear – causing a chain reaction that will change the board.

 

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- DS Game Reviews

- Puzzle Game Reviews

Speaking of boards, the game comes with 100 different levels and they are not just all rectangular in shape. There is variety in where the objects are placed and can be placed – adding a new element to the strategy required to clear each board. The object is not just to get as many points as you can, but rather to create combos on top of colored squares. In

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some cases, the colors need to change more than once (ala Q*Bert) and just to make things more stressful there is a time limit.

 

The first fifteen levels go pretty smoothly, and then the difficulty level ramps up. If you get stuck, a period of inactivity will result in a clue as to where the next match is. As you progress, the idea is to build up Rome by buying buildings. You do this with not only gold, but also resources. Initially, that means piles of wood and then later it becomes sacks of flour (to feed your workers). You build these resources every time you get one of the particular combos. The problem with this is that it’s ultimately just as random as the rest of the game is, so if you don’t get dealt enough resources you’ll have to wait until the next level to upgrade.

 

The game has a “Relax” mode that allows you to go back and play any level that you have already completed. It’s good for practicing if you get to a level that you find particularly difficult.

 

I found this game extremely addictive. I never really got hooked on Bejeweled, but there is just something great about this variant that has me hooked. Although there are all kinds of these games out on the DS, this one is definitely worth your time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get to the next level.

 

- Syd Bolton

January 15, 2009

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