Release Date: 1996
Discuss this game!
A truly innovative game....you know, in 1996...
While the original Caesar game just kind of snuck by unnoticed to most gamers (mostly because there were games in the genre that were, quite frankly, much better), Sierra On-Line wasn't discouraged from trying to make a successful city-building game.
Upon it's release, this game quick found its way into the hearts (and the hard drives) of many proud Windows 95 owners (I know, stop laughing).
Caesar II features much better graphics than its predecessor, a well-thought-out soundtrack, digital sounds that are amusing and not too distracting, and a level of complexity that ups the ante over most similar games that were available at the time.
First thing is that this game has three levels of management: City Management, Provincial Management, and Government Management. Most of your time will be spend managing the city portion, since your victory is determined by the status of your city; however, your city's success will depend greatly on how well you manage your province and government too. On the provincial level, you must place industry and build roads to connect that industry to your city, so that you can get goods into it. You also build and control your army from the provincial level.
The government level of control is fairly simple. Raise taxes too high and people'll show up at your palace with torches and pitchforks, but if you have them too low, you'll go broke. If you go broke you can't afford to build or to have an army, and either your people or some invading nation will....you guessed it...show up at your palace with torches and pitchforks.
You also must manage your relations with Caesar and your industry/workforce/army training from the Government Level.
The City Building was quite complex for its time (although now most good gamers will realize that there's a formula to make a perfect city every time) and involves the construction of many different types of Roman buildings. The people will tell you what they like and don't like, and you will have to appease them if you want to keep your job.
The Good: Very charming graphically, challanging until you figure out "The Formula", battles are simple yet entertaining, different levels of management provide you with a bit more complexity then other games that were around at the time (like Simcity 2000), minor details like Building graphics changed as land value goes up are rewarding
The Bad: Once you know "The Formula" the game lacks replay value, very simple by modern gaming standards, doesn't work in Windows XP at all. Also, by the end of the game you just know that if you have to hear "Plebs are needed!" one more time, you're going to grab that torch and pitchfork.