In this turn-based exploration game, turns are a whopping ten years each with a full game consisting of only thirty total turns. That's a healthy three-hundred year span in which to discover and exploit the Gold of the Americas. In this case, all three Americas are included: South, Central and North and the game focuses on the years 1500-1800. The warring protagonists in the race for exploration supremacy are France, England, Spain and Portugal. You can choose to play any one of the four and, in what I consider a self-defeating feature, have the option to set the experience levels of the computer controlled opponents. Unless you're looking for an easy quick mop-up, playing at less than the highest level seems counterproductive to challenge and enjoyment.
As in most exploration games worth their salt, Gold of the Americas is played on a relatively blank map with exploration being the only way to fill in the surrounding world. In this regard, the maps can either be historically accurate or randomly generated. This latter feature opens the game up to some truly wondrous possibilities as using this option imposes no factual limitations on resource availability or native populations. Once the historically based scenarios have been exhausted, the game remains fresh and challenging (perhaps even more so) with the utilization of the random generation of all aspects such as land, terrain, oceans, natives economy, explorer capabilities and political intervention.
In this day of politically correct (but not always accurate) portrayals of revisionist history, the option to exterminate the native population in world exploration games may not be pleasant but at least Gold of the Americas doesn't shy away from past realities. Writing unpleasant events out of historically based games serves no greater purpose than to appease sensitive groups who feel censoring actual facts make them go away. In that regard, the designers of the game are to be commended for their courage in emulating life as it was during those three volatile centuries where slave trading was practiced (and condoned) and wholesale population extermination was considered a proper defense.
Game play is smooth and the interface is easily learned and effective as well. Not surprisingly, money plays an important role in the overall success or failure of your plans and "home office" taxation levies are severe. What's an explorer to do but build up his/her own private reserve by employing some of the distasteful aforementioned tactics (exploitation of the masses). Play becomes somewhat tedious as the game progresses, especially when you figure out what works against the computer and what doesn't. Graphics are colorful but entirely too cartoonish and strategy considerations lean toward the simplistic side rather than complex planning. Even with the game's penchant for oversimplification and marginally demanding strategies, Gold of the Americas does give you the chance to relive the excitement of Old World exploration and face off against some of the most tenacious explorers in history. Game fans easily offended by genocidal and slavery themes may want to pass on this one.
Graphics: Very colorful. Static screens are fairly well drawn but figures often take on a cartoon-like countenance. Maps are adequate but a bit on the blocky side.
Sound: Repetitive and not particularly mood enhancing.
Enjoyment: Provides a decent challenge until the repetitiveness of play begins to become tedious. Too easy to figure out how to "outsmart" the computer after prolonged playing.
Replay Value: With options to play as four separate countries, each with historically based characteristics and backgrounds, replay value is assured. The option to even further massage the mix with the random scenario generator adds plenty of life to the game.
Subtitled "Conquest Of The New World". A four player strategy game in which you took the role of either England, France, Spain or Portugal and set about exploring and conquering the New World: America. This game was historically accurate so if you want to win, best be Spain :-). You had to look after your colonies, explore unknown regions and invade other players territory.
When I first started up Gold of the Americas - The Conquest of the New World, I couldn't help but remember Colonization, one of the most known and most loved games about the Colonial Age. In itself, though, Gold of the Americas is almost nothing like Colonization. The emphasis clearly lies on the strategic elements, which I will explain later on.
The game features four peoples to choose from, you can either invite three friends and play with them on one computer, or you let the computer take over the others. The former of the two is not to be recommended, because you cannot honestly expect your friends to come back again and again and again to play with you. Because it does take a long long time to conquer the New World.
As I was saying, the strategic elements of the game are the most important ones. This means that you have to be smart about allocating your resources, managing your trading, and organizing your people's moves.
Gold of the Americas has some nice features that make it interesting, like the ability to hire Pirates to work for you and annoy your opponents. Also, you don't just play until the declaration of Independence, you can decide the continent's fate for hundreds of years. Try and do that in real life.
Graphically, the game is not too interesting, it mostly has boring 16-colour EGA graphics, and the gameplay is not too exciting, either. In short, Gold of the Americas will probably only appeal to those that can confidently call themselves "Hardcore" Strategy nuts. 3 of 5 points from me.
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Great Naval Battles 1, High Seas Trader, Frontier: Elite II, Carriers at War 2, Frontier: First Encounters (aka Elite 3), Gunboat, Golf Resort Tycoon, Achtung Spitfire!
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