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Review by: Shawn Quigley
The story begins on one dark and stormy night. A ship by the name ‘Tortius’ belonging to the ‘Romans’ was traveling through the “Sea of Storms,” a treacherous area of the Latonian seas. After having battled the storm, the Tortius finally gave in and ended up wrecking on an unknown island. It is here that your journey begins and where you must settle the land. Settlers II Gold Edition combines both the original version of Settlers II (the sequel to The Settlers) and The Settlers II Mission CD. This combination gives strategy fans a unique combination of an already successful series.
Gameplay in Settlers II is primarily centered around building and establishing a kingdom. It is your responsibility to manage the creation of your world. You do this in a number of ways, the first of which is to establish various sites. These sites will be the homes to your hunters, soldiers, farmers, and everyone else that occupies your world. As the game starts, you only have the ability to create the basic buildings, but, as the game moves along and your civilizations grow, you will have the ability to create larger buildings that give your world different qualities. Some of the buildings require specific land to be built on. For example, you will want to put wells close to springs. There are scouts and geologists that you can commission to go out and search for these lands. This is one of the key elements to the game. It becomes very important not only to expand your land with the use of scouts, but also to locate different mineral deposits. When you order the construction of a building, you will be able to watch the people build it in real time.
As the game progresses, there are different factors that come into play. These factors are what drive the ultimate success of your world. An iron mine by itself is really of no use, but an iron mine with an iron smelter will give you the ability to forge items. As different items are fabricated throughout your world, they are moved from place to place by the people of the world. As the saw mill creates boards for building, they are carried off to different construction sites. This really adds depth to the feel of the game. It also adds to the importance of planning. Roadways are the means by which everything is transported. If your roadways are not efficient, then your world will not grow quickly. This also leads back to the importance of site selection. When you have an iron mine, it is best to try and build the iron smelter near the mine. This will help prevent congestion of the road systems.
Everything in Settlers II actually happens in real time. You are given the ability to zoom in on different areas to watch what is happening which lets you actually see the detail of the game. If you zoom in on a fisherman, you can actually watch him reel in fish. There are different maps and different scenarios that come with the game, each with its own challenges to settling the land. You quickly can feel the difference between playing in a winter scenario vs. playing on a tropical like island.
Settlers II Gold comes with a map editor that will allow users to create their own worlds. By using a graphics interface, you are able to sculpt landscapes that contain everything from treacherous mountains to lush valleys. What this really does for the Settlers series is add the ability to create an ever expanding mission base. From within the map editor, there are various tools at your disposal. You have the ability to set the size of the world as well as the basic foundation of the land, whether it be barren or fruitful. Once you have constructed a basic foundation, you then have the ability to add trees, minerals, water, and change the overall look of the terrain.
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