I have long been a big fan of city builders, specifically the Sierra/Impression/Breakaway games collection. I started way back with Caesar II and still list Caesar III as one of my all time favourite games. I picked up a copy of Emperor this past week-end from the bargain bin at our local supermarket.
The gameplay is a vast improvement over Zeus and Pharaoh, and, dare I say it, more fun than Caesar III – that is, once you can figure out the interface. Maybe I am just blonde, but after playing a large number of these games, I have always found the interfaces to be fairly standard and intuitive, which is not quite the case with Emperor.
However, the things that bugged me about the other builders, like the fact that you needed your people to work close to your industrial and agricultural areas, is no-where in sight, meaning that you really can build highly desirable residential areas without your industries suffering.
Trading with neighbouring cities is also improved, and you have to win their favour before you are allowed to trade – which makes it far more interesting.
For me, the biggest selling points of these games are that they don’t really date, they don’t rely on graphics for fun and you can play them over and over for years to come.
I can’t believe I have waited this long to pick up a copy of this game, but I can see I am going to play it for a good long time still.
Tips and tricks site here: Emperor Heaven