for Amiga (OCS/ECS)

Mr Creosote:
Company: Impressions
Year: 1992
Genre: Strategy
Theme: Historical / Politics / War
Language: English, Français, Deutsch
Licence: Commercial
Views: 14597
Review by Mr Creosote (2016-12-04)

“Intellectual property” is a fairly new invention of our lawyer-driven world. You can be sure that in the days of the ancient Roman Empire, nobody would have sued anyone for copying ideas. Maybe they would have sent a thug to rough you up, hired curthroats to murder your family or, if they were real meanies, sent an army to massacre your whole people, but they wouldn't have sued.

Caesar is best described as a carbon copy of Sim City. You are assigned to a remote province of the Roman Empire to build a new city from scratch and make it into a prosperous jewel in the emperor's crown. If you are successful, you may be assigned to a more prestigious corner of the world.

The elements from the groundbreaking city building game are all there. Residential areas are enclosed by roads. These (ideally) lead up to places of work, commerce, entertainment and education. Some service buildings are needed as well, slaves maintain the structures and roads and fight fires. Water supply replaces the original's power grid (as already seen in Sim City's data disk…). Soon, small animated figures will populate your streets, making the city come alive. If the balance between all these elements is roughly right and the tax burden is not too high, inhabitants are happy and reproduce / move in, paving the way to even stronger growth.

Statistics and settings are all quite similar to what veterans are already used to as well. If they can find them. And this is the core issue with Caesar: whereas the original Sim City has a very thought-out and clear interface, this game sports fairly obscure icons, multi-levelled sub-menus and non-intuitive workflows (left-clicking, right-clicking, scrolling, switching view panes etc.). Although the game is graphically fairly nice, it does not do a great job of making all buildings visually distinct, either.

If it weren't for that, Caesar would be on par with Sim City. Though there would, of course, still be the big, looming question of what the point would be to play this one instead of the original it so closely imitates. Apart from minor interactions on a macro (province) level where you have to repel invading barbarians, there is really nothing new in this game. It is “nice”, but probably so “nice” that it is bordering on irrelevance.

Comments (1) [Post comment]