Of Savages and Barbarians
Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about AOE2/Conquerors is that the graphics engine still looks just like AOE1. Indeed the graphics are still as dated as the original game. Worse, is some of those silly, meaningless instrument sounds for clicking on a building are back, though the music has improved by a long-shot. I finally decided to turn up the music volume so I could hear it over my base building.
It's also unfortunate that nothing could be done to really change gameplay dramatically. It's one of those games I'd really call AOE1.5. There is far too much different to be the same game (different buildings, units, and terrain, and numerous interface changes and the like), yet not enough different to feel like you're playing a different game. Fortunately, one thing the game has going for it is sheer size. For a price cheaper than many new release games, you get a nearly unlimited supply of gameplay, between the huge campaigns, tons of multiplayer maps, and years of strategy, it is one of the most long-lived strategy games you could own.
But we're interested in the Gold Edition content, aren't we? Well there are a dozen new maps included in the box. Most of the various tile sets (including expansion terrain) were utilized in these maps, and they focus on some rather interesting tactics for resource collection (in one map you must leave nearly all of your villagers exposed and spread out. This isn't exactly an ideal situation.) Unfortunately there are fewer pre-recorded demos than I would have hoped to see. Still, though, I found them interesting (if lengthy) to watch through, and I think I learned a few new tactics that I would never have guessed.
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