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Sid Meier's Civilization Chronicles PC DVD-ROM

Published by 2K Games
Developed by Firaxis Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £44.99

It’s difficult to imagine what the state of strategy gaming would be today if it were not for Sid Meier’s Civilization.  Before Civilization computer strategy games were for geeks and grognards only. Before Civilization computer strategy games were dry, uninviting and about as appealing as watching grass grow. With the release of Sid Meier’s Civilization in 1991 that all changed.  Suddenly you had this user friendly strategy game that was not only accessible but also appealing. Taking your chosen nation from the ancient times all the way through to the modern times, conducting research and diplomacy as well as engaging in wars provided to be a highly addictive experience. People who previously wouldn’t have touched a strategy game with a barge pole suddenly were addicted to Sid Meier’s Civilization. Fifteen years later it’s no surprise that the fourth version of Civilization is just as addictive as ever. Of course each version of Civilization has made the series a deeper and more satisfying experience. Each version of the game is still an entertaining experience in its own right. Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles is a collection of all these games and a whole lot more besides.

What’s in the box?

Sid Meier’s Civilization.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II including the Fantastic Worlds and Conflicts in Civilization expansions.

Civilization II: Test of Time.

Sid Meier’s Civilization III Complete (includes Play the World and Conquests expansions).

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV.

The Chronicles of Civilization book.

Civilization The Card Game.

Civilization Video DVD which includes game trailers, a presentation by Civ IV lead designer, Soren Johnson and a tribute to Sid Meier.

Bonus Material which includes items such as the Civ IV soundtrack, podcasts, wallpaper images etc.

Tech tree charts for Civilization, Civilization II, Civilization III & Civilization IV.

As you can see then that’s one heck of a compilation and something any fan of the Civilization series would be thrilled to own. All the games have the latest updates applied and work absolutely fine under Windows XP (SP2). I suppose what becomes immediately noticeable is that the Warlords expansion for Civilization IV has not been included. To some degree it’s understandable as it was only released this year.

Even though we now have Civilization IV it’s surprising how enjoyable the previous Civilization games still are. Even Civilization is still very enjoyable. Sure it lacks religion, culture, territory borders and all the advanced diplomacy options of Civilization IV but it’s still a very enjoyable game. It’s a shame the copy protection questions pop-up from time to time though. The read me file claims to have included ‘a printed version of all the icons within the Civilization Chronicles package’ but it wasn’t included and I had to scroll through a PDF copy of the manual to answer these questions, which was a little inconvenient. I also needed to locate some older Indeo drivers to have Civilization II’s intro video and council video clips working as the ones included in the compilation didn’t work properly and left me with black rectangles where the video files should have been playing.

As a compilation Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles is without parallel. Seriously it fully deserves a ten out of ten rating because the games are timeless classics. The included card game is actually enjoyable too and it’s a very nice addition to further increase the appeal of the Chronicles collection. The compilation is not completely deaf gamer friendly though. The Video DVD isn’t subtitled meaning you’ll miss out on the Sid Meier tribute and the rather informative presentation by Soren Johnson that gives us an idea of the processes designers and developers go through when creating a game. The council movies in Civilization II are not subtitled, although you do get a line of text that gives you the gist of what’s being said. All of the other games included in the compilation are absolutely fine for deaf gamers.

The Chronicles of Civilization book includes interviews with Sid Meier and Soren Johnson as well as comments from Brian Reynolds and Bruce Shelley. There are also articles from Steven Kent, who talks about the effect Civilization had on computer gaming, and Troy Goodfellow who gives us a chapter on the History of Civilization. There’s a decent amount of concept art from both Civilization III and Civilization IV. There is also a chapter by Soren Johnson who talks about his early time at Firaxis and some of his experiences working on Civilization IV. Soren then completes the book by telling us how Civilization: The Card Game was designed and the issues that had to be dealt with in having a card game capture the spirit of the computer game. In short it’s a very interesting book that fans of series will enjoy reading.

Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles is the best games compilation we’ve seen to date. Having four of the greatest strategy games in one set (five if you count Civilization II: Test of Time as a separate game) with their expansions is something strategy fans will love.  The card game, specially created for this compilation is also one heck of a nice bonus and The Chronicles of Civilization book is well worth a read for any fan of the series. Deaf gamers aren’t going to have any joy with the Video DVD but there is so much to enjoy here that it’s not really a problem and should definitely not deter you from picking up what is an amazing collection of top-drawer strategy games.

Overall Game Rating 10/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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An outstanding compilation that fans of the Sid Meier's Civilization games, and strategy games in general, will love. Even the extras are great. It's a shame that deaf gamers can't enjoy the Video DVD though.