Ultimate Domain is a first class world builder. The look is similar to the highly successful Populous by Bullfrog but when it comes to strategy and game play, the two games are very, very different. You are not a god in Ultimate Domain and instead of ruling your kingdom with an iron fist, you must precisely and carefully plan your technological advances while convincing your population to follow your lead. The game has many nicely tuned elements that combine to create a delightful and absorbing experience and contains features that demand concentration. For example, two "smart" computer (or human) opponents keep the pace moving at a decent clip since you're basically in a race with them to be the first to gain advances in technology of nearly every form (e.g., medicine, weaponry, metal working, science, etc.). Although the game suffers slightly from a plodding start, in this case patience is a virtue since the plot thickens nicely as the game unfolds at a reasonable but busy pace.
Like Civilization, Ultimate Domain has a technology advancement tree that branches out as new discoveries are made and becomes the central focus if your kingdom is to survive. As leader of your people, you'll have to constantly make decisions on how to govern your population (e.g., war, trade, technology push) and ensure victory. As if the extremely busy job of juggling resources and actions isn't enough, the game's major plot is so well constructed that it forces you to experience all the elements the game has to offer. Seems as if your forbears have stolen nine mystic jewels and to eventually win the game you'll have to recover a minimum of seven of them. This isn't a simple case of just finding the jewels because your opponents will be busy building, warring and hunting the jewels too. A nice twist here is that instead of having only one option of recovering the jewels (military might), you have the alternative of trying to steal the gems from them.
The level of detail in Ultimate Domain is superb. The viewpoint is from a three quarters angle of the main action screen with activity icons placed on two sides of it. An hourglass limits the amount of time you have to make your moves and decisions each round and though not particularly welcome in a game of this type it's fairly unobtrusive most of the time. There are buttons for disk functions, an overhead map, statistics (e.g., morale, health, etc.), construction (very important), and a bomb which has evolving uses as technology advances. The mouse interface is sharp, easy and responsive. The combat is amazingly good for a world builder and has it's own set of buttons, namely battle, soldiers, wagon, cannon, ships, and even a balloon (for viewing air units). For gamers who thrive on strategy, resource management and want to test their leadership abilities, Ultimate Domain can be a humbling or exhilarating experience. It's tough but loads of fun.
Graphics: Very detailed and attractive. Buildings and people are individualistic and the close up view is nice.
Sound: Unfortunately, this area is lacking and somewhat disappointing. Sound effects play an important part in most world-builders but you won't find many here which subtly detracts from the game..
Enjoyment: A rich, intensive and absorbing computer game. Once past the slow (and somewhat difficult) start, the game hums like a well oiled machine. Plan on spending hours, days or even months involved in this winner.
Replay Value: Incredibly high replay value. There's enough diversity in this title to keep most gamers coming back for more and more.
Ultimate Domain is a game of kingdom building set in the mythical land of Genesia. The game has an isometric view point, and allows you to watch as your people work, play, and suffer, in real time. You must build up your kingdoms infrastructure, grow food, mine minerals, produce building materials, conduct research, and create armies. You may engage in diplomacy with your neighbors, but eventually conquest will become essential for expansion. There is an underlying sub-plot that must be achieved as well, there are nine magical jewels scattered around the land, and you must retrieve at least seven of them to be victorious.
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