Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom - Box

Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom
Ages: Everyone

Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom is a single and multiplayer strategy game that takes place in ancient China from 2100BC to 1215AD. In it you are the Emperor/City planner and you plan the growth of your town into a large empire. If all goes well you may end up ruling all of China, if not you may end up "broke" and conquered by a stronger Emperor.

Game Play
Emperor is a satisfying empire building strategy game that follows from the great traditions of Civilizations, Sim City, and Age of Empires games. Like the all these games you start with an empty land where you can add farms and homes, and all the support functions like watchtowers (firemen/building inspectors), Herbalist stalls (Doctors), Ancestral Shrine (Churches) to run your town. As your town grows you can have trade agreements with other towns or tax your populous to generate cash flow. A large part of Emperor is keeping track of the greedy competition, this means either keeping them happy so they don't conquer you, or conquering them.

I played the single player version of the game, and I found it very complete, fun and balanced. But Emperor is a very large game with a lot of elements to keep track of, and at times I felt like I was spinning plates trying to keep up with all the management. From keeping the citizens, neighbors, workers and economy going it gets a little crazy. I would have preferred more automated areas. But this complaint could be made for all Empire Building games.

Like most empire type games it does take a bit of reading of the manual to learn to play the game, luckily most of the manual is in the "in game" help sections. The "in game" tutorial however is terrible, simply a one page pop up dialog, This could make it a bit of a hard sell for the mass-market. Also, I wish there was an advancement tree diagram map, one diagram that shows how to advance to better buildings, etc. in quick graphical format.

Emperor's screen layout, game dynamics, and building interface comes from the great games of the past. There's not much new here as far as mechanics and game play, but what is there is solid and is set in Ancient China.

Art, Music and Interface
The art and the music in the game are of good quality. The interface art was a problem for me, for some reason I was constantly confusing the interface icons. And I really wished for a zooming in and out feature, especially as my city grew. But the wonderful Chinese architecture building and characters were all beautifully done. The soothing music really set me right in China. It wasn't until ten hours into the game that I finally turned off the music, quite a record as I usually turn of music within the first 10 minutes of a game.

Women Gamer Factor

Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom is yet another in a long line of Empire building games. It's one that I really enjoyed playing, especially because of the Ancient China theme. But if you have never played an Empire building game and China is not a big draw for you, you might try a more user friend version like Microsoft's Age of Empire or Maxis' Sim City first or better yet download the Emperor's game demo and give it a try yourself.



Copyright © 2002 by Adrienne Canfil. All rights reserved

  • Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom
  • © Sierra Entertainment $39.99
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
  • To Order: http://www.amazon.com