Sid Meier’s Civolonization?

I know Colonization has been out a while now, and I wasn’t even going to buy it, but it was cheap, so, here it is. A remake of my all-time favourite classic game from 1994. I played that for hours on end, and it taught me most of my basic English language skills. I still play it occasionally. The funny thing is, in the trailer for the new game, the goal of independance is heavily emphasized. When I played it, probably due to my limited English back then, I never quite understood what the goal was! Suffice to say, I never reached it. I simply played, trading and building, and when I got fed up with it, I started a new game.

So given the impact I felt this game had, I knew I would buy the remake sooner or later. I read a few good reviews on it, and I like Civilization 4, but somehow I wasn’t too keen on Colonization. And now I think I know why: I realise that the main things I loved are gone: the pixel graphics and the crappy midi music! I know it sounds ridiculous, but whenever I discovered the Fountain of Youth (which provides the player with a massive immigration wave), I waited before moving on, because I liked the tune so much.

But nostalgia aside, I thought I’d give this new game a chance. At a first glance, it obviously looks just like Civ4. The borders, the towns, units and landscape improvements  are all exactly the same. I think that works well for the game, especially seeing the buildings from a settlement on the map. But I think the tile distinction isn’t clear enough. I’m so used to the distinct categories of land from the old game, that I’m having trouble getting used to the new ones.

Another good addition is being able to see what training the Indian villages offer. They also train more than just one person – as opposed to old Colonization, where they’d always tell a second applicant to go and learn from the first. Duh. This is part of many little things that Civ4 does for Colonization – the organisazion in the game is much easier now. Still, I get extremely confused all the time, because I don’t know whether a certain function works like it did in the original game, or in Civ4. For example, I forgot to send my scout to all the Indian villages, because there’s nothing like that in Civ4, and I keep forgetting that I can build settlements with almost every unit, not just with settlers.

The interface is improved and matched with the game’s style, which is nice. I like the buttons at the bottom, they contain the obvious orders for any unit, including the ‘sail to Europe’ button for ships. The ones at the top again are reminiscent of the equivalent buttons in Civ4.

One thing I really don’t get in the new game is the Continental Congress and the Founding Fathers. In the original game, you could choose a certain person, and after a few years, he’d join your congress. Now, I collect certain points, much like the Great People points in Civ4, and they go towards different Founding Fathers from categories such as politics, exploration or religion. After a while, one of them will ask to enter my congress. If I refuse him, I can collect my saved points towards another, maybe better Father. Sounds simple enough, but the overview display confused the hell out of me. To be fair, I didn’t give this much time, but still – it put me off a little.

After my very short test period I can say:

  • I like it, but not as much as the original game;
  • It provides a nice alternative version of Civ4
  • I miss the pixels!

I’m going to play a bit more to see how it goes, who knows, maybe I will finally reach Independance. But somehow I think I’ll get bored before I do.

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